This is a word. It was invented in 2013 and became a huge internet thing in 2021. It basically applies to someone (or something) that is trying too hard to be trendy. I just learned it yesterday and have probably repeated the word 1000 times. I’ve criticized the list of things that are cheugy (rose wine is cheugy but Birkenstock sandals aren’t?). I’ve grammatically evolved the word to fit my own sentences. I’ll be over it very shortly (after this post?) but until then, I will be embracing this nonsense. And by embracing it, am cheugy. So much cheug. Cheug everywhere.
It’s a bigger issue though than just what is trendy at the moment. The important part actually of this word is not really about internet vocabulary or slang sensations. It’s about what is “in” and what is “out”. It’s about someone going online and dictating to people what is not okay to enjoy (roller skating, bulldogs, skinny jeans, the overall retro revival). It’s about someone verbalizing/writing that some people are “in” and some people don’t make the cut. That’s really not okay. Its junior high/high school cliques all over again.
Coming from a place of having been uncool in junior high and high school, I can honestly attest that it really sucked. I was out of the cool crowd and it wasn’t trendy to try to be outside. There was no “I was into it before it was cool” concept. I just didn’t get invited to parties. I didn’t look the right way. I didn’t act the right way. My peers didn’t want to be friends with me.
I won’t deny that my epilepsy played a role in this. A lot of it was that I wore punk wrist bands and fishnet tights with unlaced combat boots, but I was made fun of for being epileptic. It was believed (and verbalized to me) that I was faking seizures for attention (thus would have been cheugy… trying too hard for attention). As if anyone would fake seizures for any reason.
When I heard the word “cheugy” yesterday, at first I thought it was hilarious and ridiculous. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s a cruel concept wrapped in a trendy casing. Fashion, movies, music, all those things may come and go but this is something that encompasses the entirety of a person’s hobbies, interests, style, personality. While everything in the world can be found online now (including the details of a person’s life), it’s easy to shove them in a box of definition. Where do people with major medical conditions fall?
Running is cheugy. All of my clothes are. All of the types of movies I like are. My music, my books, how I hang out with friends (omg brunch, so out). If I was the kind of person to try to change all that to be less, that in itself would be cheugy because I would be trying too hard to be trendy. It’s the snake that eats its own tail.
This morning I went for brunch by myself. It was fantastic. I had eggs benny with avocado. Now I’m writing, drinking black coffee, sitting on my balcony and wearing skinny jeans. I’m listening to Lady Gaga. I will likely go for a run in a couple hours. Tonight I am going for overpriced fancy cocktails with a friend. I don’t exactly know what the rest of the weekend holds for me, but I’m sure I will love it. Because I really try to do things that I love, not things that I am told are no longer “in”. I’m not doing it to push back against “the man” (that would be the retro revival), I’m doing it because I like what I like.
With all that, the epilepsy. I don’t love it. I don’t particularly like it. I would really like it if I didn’t have it. That’s not the case though, and that’s not going to change. All I can do it is accept it and know that it’s made me stronger as a person, even if that meant it contributed to me being unpopular back in the day. If I had the choice of knowing that I could weather any storm vs worrying about the potential for a little rain, I know which I would pick. Even if it meant that I will continue to be cheugy.
And now I promise not to use that word again. Not because I’ve been trying to use it as a message that I’m trendy (despite that it’s cyclic in itself), but because it’s cruel.