Being happy and looking cool are distinct from one another.
People who are “cool” are sophisticated, savyy, polished, worldly, suave, and bit . . . bored. A smooth sense of ennui pervades every action, and they never look clumsy, awkward or unsure of themselves.
(In the animal world, “cool” animals are cats — that’s why we find it so outrageously funny when they leap for a shelf and miss. With dogs — which are decidedly uncool unless they’re Dobermans or German Shepherds — we expect uncool. Interestingly, we also consider dogs to be friendly, and cats to be distant.)
In the American corporate, entertainment-dominated society, cool isn’t so much next to godliness (since God isn’t cool) as it is just The. Way. To. Be. In order to be truly cool, we focus intently on how we come across to others, which necessarily mean that we focus a lot on ourselves.
True happiness, however, gets in the way of being cool — because when we spontaneously laugh at something, or . . . an amazing thought . . . are willing to laugh at ourselves, we don’t look cool. (Many people hate the way they laugh, and think it makes them look like a dork. So they’re always keeping themselves in check, controlling their emotions so they won’t haw haw haw and draw attention to their lack of svelte urbanity.)
The artwork, Brimming Over, shows a woman in a moment of true happiness, of laughter, of joy. Why she is standing at the beach with a basket of fabric we don’t quite know, but because this is a work of representational art, we are invited to make up the story and add to it as we please.
What we do know is that the fabric is burbling and bubbling and spilling out of the basket, resulting in a situation totally out of the woman’s control. But rather than drop the basket to stroll pointedly, coolly away, the woman simply laughs — at the situation, at herself.
That takes confidence.
Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are