I am about to call a spade a spade. I am awkward. There I said it.
I am well aware that I am awkward. I am always second-guessing myself because I know how odd I can be, and seem, to other people. For instance, I can be visibly awkward.
Exhibit A: I was about to meet a rising super star in person and all of the sudden I found myself feeling more nervous than I had anticipated. What did I do you, you ask. I fumbled with my phone in front of her and then proceeded to tell her I was a nervous wreck before recording a small video and taking very awkward pictures with her anyway.
Yes, I know.
Wait, there’s more to the awkward mess that I can be.
I like people. You see, I told you I was odd. I like being around people because I enjoy the positive vibes they exuberate. Although sometimes I feel I can become “too much” to be around. I mean, sometimes I can sit in total silence in the presence of others without really knowing if the others involved are okay with my doing so. So what usually happens, you ask. Most times I walk away or move away to release them from the uneasiness of my silence. Then, of course, I second why I walked away. Do they think I am being rude? Did I just come off as conceited or egotistical? These thoughts, of course, set the stage for very embarrassing outcomes.
Here’s Exhibit B: There I was, standing in silence among some of my peers when I realized in my own mind that my silence was too awkward. I walked away, then immediately second guessed myself. I paused in mid strut and glanced over where I had just walked way from. There are no words to describe the look I made in that instant… So I’ll entertain you with a reenactment of my face.
Scary huh? Yea, I quickly looked away realizing what I had just done, before I could witness any reactions to my face. At this point there was no hiding my awkwardness. (Note: there is a saying that always sticks with me once I realize I am placing too much importance on being ‘liked’ – “what others think of you is none of your business!”)
Allow me to give you a little bit of the back story to hopefully better explain the hot mess I am today. In fifth grade, my teacher announced to the class that we would be creating make believe work scenarios for ourselves to reflect the way Egyptians used their skills to make these decisions in the past. I was thrilled. And of course, I signed up to do hieroglyphics for my career choice. To my surprise, I was then told this could not be my assignment because I was a girl.
Until then, I had never been told no just because of who I am.
Me, the purple-skirt-wearing-girl with matching orange British Knights being told that I could not do what I really wanted to sign up for because I was me. A girl. It’s a moment that’s always stuck with me.
Fast forward to the seventh grade, and my school was holding a poster design contest that would coincide with an event called “Fun Day in the Park” in my neighborhood. I submitted my poster giving the outcome very little thought. What happened next was bitter sweet. I won the poster design contest. The organizers proudly made it into a billboard and placed it prominently along the highway to announce the event. I was so thrilled. At the same time, though, I was met with pretty harsh opposition from some of my peers. One calmly expressed to me: “I don’t understand why they picked yours. It had bubbles??”
That hurt. But I do also remember my art teacher telling me to be proud because it was different. Since then, I have graciously accepted this as who I am. Different. Awkwardly different. I dance to my own tunes, literally and figuratively. Figuratively, I made that very clear in my multicolored bubble poster years ago.
Now, to get the dancing portion right.