I’m a self-proclaimed awkward person.
I have always been an awkward person. Maybe it’s because I’m naturally very shy and introverted, but I often put myself in situations that require me to be extroverted. I’ve always been shy, but ever since I saw a performance of The Nutcracker when I was five, I knew I had to be some kind of artist.
Since then, I have been involved in practically every aspect of the arts, too. I’ve been an actress, a dancer, a performer, a playwright, a poet, a storyteller, a screenwriter, and a singer/songwriter, all at different points in my life. My deep passion for the arts and performing forced me to be an extrovert at times. What happens when you force an introvert to be an extrovert? Awkwardness!
When I’m playing music, my stage banter in between songs is typically ridiculous. I’m likely to talk about anything from my friend having a root canal to how much I think about how fluffy my cats are. When I am on stage, basically anything can come out of my mouth. This is because it’s not natural for me to force myself to talk, but I don’t want to be one of those musicians who plays song after song without saying anything to the audience. (Maybe they wish I would though.)
I’m also awkward because I have balance problems that cause me to do things like fall off of stationary motorcycles and stumble into walls and trip over air. I drop stuff all of the time, I’m clumsy, I don’t know what to do with my hands, I feel extremely uncomfortable around new people, and sometimes my brain makes turning thoughts into verbally spoken words slightly impossible. (I’m that person who writes down a simple question before making a phone call and then reads it aloud: “Yes, can I have a large cheese pizza?”) Whenever I dance, it’s weird and asymmetrical. I never know what to do in photographs which is why only the most talented photographers or people who know me really well ever take decent pictures of me. This is also why I’m always making this face:
So, yeah. I’m awkward.
But you know what? A lot of people are awkward. And over the years, I have learned to be comfortable with my awkwardness.
This may sound like a contradiction, but I don’t think that it is. Being comfortable with your awkwardness means being able to laugh at yourself when you say something really dumb. Being comfortable with your awkwardness means being able to turn tripping and almost falling into a dance. Being comfortable with your awkwardness means knowing that you look ridiculous when you dance and not caring. Being comfortable with your awkwardness means being true to yourself.
Because everyone has moments of insecurity and uncertainty, and people who are “awkward” aren’t afraid to be honest about it. There are some people who always seem so graceful, so confident. They seem to handle every situation flawlessly, to always say the perfect things, and to always look the perfect way. This is an illusion. Many times, these people are overcompensating for their own insecurities. These overly confident people actually may be more insecure than people who don’t seem as confident.
However, it is possible to be awkward and confident at the same time. Look at Ellen. Her entire stand-up routine is basically about being awkward, but she clearly does what she does with confidence, self-love, and love for others.
(Ellen is sort of my hero.)
So, to my awkward sisters and brothers, I salute you. And I say embrace your awkwardness. Stand up and fall down and laugh and stand up again and say, “Well, you know.”
Sara Crawford is a writer and musician from Atlanta, Georgia. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. Her debut young adult novel is called “The Muses.” Her two best friends are her cats, Frank and Julian, and she has a big tattoo of Morrissey on her leg, which frequently gets mistaken for Elvis. Have a look at her blog!