Friends · Hong Kong

Being ‘cool’ vs being ‘me’

I’ve always been a bit of a nerd. The stereotypical asian I suppose. I wear glasses, study science, get relatively good grades and don’t really drink. I don’t tend to wear make up, I choose comfort over style (unless I’m trying to impress someone- so if I’m dressed uncomfortably, you should be grateful) and I guess I’m a bit of an introvert. Big crowds make me feel uncomfortable and first meetings with anyone make me nervous.

These things never bothered me too much in secondary school- perhaps I was more outgoing, but I think I just already had enough friends to not care what anyone else really thought about me. My friends were just like me so it didn’t matter that I wasn’t as ‘cool’ or popular because I wasn’t trendy enough.

Now that I’m older though and especially because I’m in a place where I have no friends, I suddenly feel very lonely and completely overwhelmed.  Whist I have been here so many times in the past, it’s different knowing that I will not be returning to the UK, where I have friends and I am familiar with the way things work.

People here are very different and it makes me feel very…uncool. I’m not that trendy but HK people tend to be trendy, stylish and girls my age tend to wear make up here too. I feel very out of place out the moment, just by my appearance alone. Even though I’ve not gained any weight here in HK yet (although I have only been here 1 day), I feel fat in comparison to HK girls. They’re so skinny, whereas I have a lot more muscle mass. I’m not saying I AM fat, but that in comparison to those around me, I feel it. I know they think it too.

Do I need to change the way I look just to fit in? Don’t get me wrong, I love to look nice too, but on a day where I am not doing a lot, I don’t want to wear make up and when its ridiculously hot, humid and I’m walking everywhere, I don’t wanna wear uncomfortable clothes or high heels.

Do I need to start doing that though in order to be ‘cool’ and make friends? To not look like the ‘ugly one’ in a group of people my age?

Not just my appearance though, my personality too. I feel like a lot of BBCs here tend to socialise by clubbing. I used to be into that sort of thing in first year at uni but nowadays not so much. I enjoy a drink now and again but the thought of clubbing where everyone is sweaty, the music is so loud my ears ring for hours after I leave the club and where you get hit on by creepy guys…it doesn’t appeal to me so much anymore. Perhaps I’m a boring old fart, but I’d much prefer to go out with my friends and do other things, things that we would all remember and not have a hangover in the morning.

Is that something I need to change? It’s really hard to say as I never felt that I needed to change myself, but then again, I’ve never been away from the UK like this. Do I want to be ‘cool’ or do I wanna be ‘me’? (That implies I know who ‘Me’ is…I don’t think I do…)

I’m sure when I start my PhD, I’ll meet lots of people similar to myself but for now, I’m feeling pretty bummed out and it’s only the 1st proper day that I’ve been here! I’m a fighter though, so I will power on and I’m sure everything will work out in the end. I’ve barely given myself time to settle into my surroundings so I’m sure this is just me being overwhelmed by being away from friends. Yes that’s definitely it.


4 thoughts on “Being ‘cool’ vs being ‘me’

  1. Are you there for good, like you’ll never ever get back to UK, even after you finished your studies?
    Pretty much everyone that’s gone to Eastern Asia and shared his/her experiences, sooner or later brings in “the look” issue. I haven’t been in your situation personally, but it seems eventually people sort of fall back in line after a while. Worrying about the looks is contagious. When in Rome…
    That being said, you should look in the mirror and tell yourself “these bunch of people should be grateful for the privilege of having me around”, wink and give ‘em hell!

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