Embracing the Awkward

I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll mention it again: I’ve changed a lot in the past few years.

I’m sure everyone does. Check in with someone every five years or so, I’m sure they’re different.

Sometimes other people who have known me for a long time will point out differences. It’s always nice when people notice. Like when my mother will tell me she’s proud of me for taking a chance on something because I would have been too chickenshit to do it when I was younger.

But I also love it when I notice it in myself.

Take tonight for example. I let a friend crash with me since she was only going to be in New York for the night and didn’t want to have to pay for a hotel. Which makes sense because that’s like an entire month’s rent here. Might as well couch surf if you’re able. And since I have a pull-out couch AND a full sized air mattress, I could house a full band, let alone one (rather tiny) friend.

However, earlier today, I realized that I hadn’t actually talked to her in person in about five years. Give or take.

Suddenly I got nervous. What if it’s AWKWARD?! I mean, my whole life is pretty awkward. I basically live my life one awkward moment to the next. However, awkward moments don’t bother me when I’m IN them. Not anymore. I shift and I tug at my shirt and I play with my hair and I know that I’m being awkward but it’s not like I can change who I am.  Today, though? The anticipation of a potentially awkward moment? That got me pretty worked up.  I was trying to think of ways to give me an out. Couldn’t say I was writing a paper, I’m not in school anymore… couldn’t go to bed at 9pm, that would seem to obvious… So finally I decided to just suck it up. Braced myself for the uncomfortable night ahead of me.

Then she got here.

And it was totally fine.

I mean, we had plenty to catch up on, not having seen each other in such a long time. Not to mention mutual friends. Sure there might have been an awkward pause or two, mostly because I made some kind of awkward, irrelevant comment because that’s where my brain went and I have no control over my brain-to-mouth function.  But other than that it was totally normal. Two girls who know each other. Sitting in a living room. Talking.

Awesome.

I have officially embraced the awkward. Of course, I’m still awkward – if you haven’t grown out of that by 24, you’re not going to grow out of it – but I have worked it into my personality.  I have stopped trying to reject and deny the awkward, inevitably making things far more awkward than they need to be.  Instead I have accepted it into my life, welcomed it even, as something that makes me unique. Not unique in being awkward – no, most of us are at least a LITTLE awkward – but unique in my own awkward way. No one else is awkward quite like me.

Being one with the awkward allows me to end awkward silences myself by asking random and seemingly out-of-nowhere questions without shame. I don’t ask inappropriate questions, it’s not THAT awkward. I’m just brave enough now, having experienced, survived and even enjoyed so many awkward moments, that I feel comfortable starting up conversations without worrying about how it will go. It’s always worth the try.

A few weeks ago a coworker invited me out to dinner with her sister and some friends. I had met some, but not others. In her text inviting me she said, “You’ll be the only one there from work, but I really want you to come. I know you can talk to anyone.”

I can talk to anyone?? What would my mother say if she heard that one!

I can talk to anyone?

I can talk to anyone.

I can talk to ANYONE!!

I love it. Bring it on, awkward. I own you.

 

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~ by Valerie Anne on 02/23/2011.

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