Something uncomfortable happens.
Maybe your coworker (that you have to see everyday) found out all those rude things you said about them to your friend Nate at Chili’s the other night.
Maybe you’re on a date with this girl named Amy and you farted mid-conversation. You don’t know if she heard, but it’s too late to address it. And if you did address it, that would be fucking weird.
Or maybe you’re on a date with a guy named Jeff and you accidentally have red teeth because you drank kool-aid on the subway and forgot to check a mirror.
Or let’s say your cousin owes you $150 bucks and can’t pay it back yet, yet he’s posting pictures of his new Jordans on instagram. Family reunions never seemed so unbearable.
Or even worse. Perhaps you got wasted last Saturday and left a sexually suggestive voicemail on your old high school teachers’ answering machine. Yikes.
I’m sure something like this has happened to you, and you have every right to feel weird about it.
But when it truly comes down to it, why are we as a society letting this awkwardness take over our lives?
There’s certainly nothing wrong with having social anxiety or not knowing how to handle every situation. It’s normal to fear confronting someone or to feel embarrassed about a little spinach in your teeth.
But now, almost everyone’s social media bio’s consists of the word ‘awkward’ or ‘weird’ or ‘not normal’ or ‘quirky.’
Our fictional princesses and superheroes are no longer full of grace and strength, but now have more relatable backstories of tripping on sidewalks, getting acne, waking up late and missing important events, and not knowing how to have a conversation with the opposite sex. However, they still have the capability of saving millions of people and changing the world overnight. They may be more relatable because we see the ‘human’ side of them. But let’s be real. Do we watch 2 hour films to watch our protagonists go grocery shopping or try out new acne cream? No, we want to watch them conquer fear and hatred. We want to see them thrive. That’s what’s inspiring and that’s something to look up to.
I’ll say it over and over again: Awkward people do exist. But you know what exists more than awkward people? Awkward situations. Let me translate that even more for you: human situations. I’ve never met a person that’s never dealt with an awkward situation before. However, these unfortunate situations do not define you as an individual. They do not make you any more or less awkward.
The actual dictionary definition of awkward is “causing difficulty, hard to do or deal with.”
When you call yourself awkward, it’s not like you’re saying, “Oh, I’m a little nervous around people. I don’t fit in. I love cats, tumblr and vegan cupcakes.” You’re technically really saying, “I am not worth your time. I am embarrassing, difficult, unpleasant and useless.”
It’s okay to use the “a-word,” but this generation of 20-somethings and under is letting the word take over our generation.
People are no longer telling people how they feel, unless it’s through text. People will no longer confront you on issues or problems, at work and at home. People will go out of their way to avoid certain situations and people. And by labeling themselves with the word ‘awkward,’ in a sense, I think they are missing out.
I labeled myself with that word for so long. As I traveled more and met more people, I realized I’m far from it. I’ve met people that can barely communicate with others. I just dealt with a lot of uncomfortable situations in my life that I didn’t always know how to handle.
But here’s the thing. Once you put that word on yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable in the word. You won’t be fighting to be your best self. You won’t be fighting for a better life. You’ll miss opportunities in love, life, art and career. You’ll miss out on situations and people you were afraid of. You may even temporarily lose your identity because you were so focused on identifying with a silly word our society uses when they feel different.
Listen to me. You are full of worth. I don’t care if you get butterflies around others. I don’t care if you feel different, because we all are and we’ve all been there. I don’t care if you have a hard time with situations/people. I don’t care if you’re a klutz or if you deal with social anxiety. Because you are worth it. And those things do not make you difficult or unpleasant.
We are all human and we’ve all dealt with uncomfortable situations. We shouldn’t sweat the small things such as natural human occurrences of falling, dropping things, farting or having spinach in your teeth.
We shouldn’t even sweat the big things because it can easily be fixed with actual confrontation and conversation.
The more attention we give the word ‘awkward,’ the more awkward we are becoming as a generation. What do you think? Has being ‘awkward’ taken over our generation?