We can’t all be graceful swans. Some of us are the unfortunate ones–our lives are the personification of running with a backpack on. We’re the baby deer straight out of the womb, but not as skinny. We’re the ones who don’t realize a piece of lettuce is stuck to our face (hey, at least we ate a salad–we consider that a win). We’re the ones who will tell anyone and everyone when and how badly we have to pee.
But rather than hang our heads in shame, I say, SORRY WE’RE NOT SORRY AND YOU’RE ALL WELCOME. Embrace your awkward! It’s the best thing about you–it makes you just way more interesting and dynamic than those perfectly suave, good-looking people who are super accomplished and loved and attractive and just have great lives but don’t worry because you’re UNIQUE. Here are some ways to appreciate, cultivate, and embrace your awkward.
1. Remind yourself that you have way less to lose.
If you walk into a room giving no fucks, then no fucks will be given when you inevitably embarrass yourself when you get rejected by the cute guy at the bar, or choose to sit by yourself in the corner and read instead of socialize at the birthday party, or shove your face with all the free appetizers at the fundraiser, or realize you haven’t shaved your legs in like 2 months as you get into the stirrups at the OBGYN–whatever the case may be, start from the bottom and there’s nowhere to go but probably not up, but at least the same place.
2. Remind yourself of all the awkward people everyone loves.
Liz Lemon, Mindy Kaling, Jennifer Lawrence, Jess from New Girl, high school Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, Aubrey Plaza, Louis C.K., Mae Whitman, Amy Schumer, Liz Lemon, Chelsea Peretti, Kimmy Schmidt, Zach Galifianakis, Dwight Schrute, Michael Cera, Rebel Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Knope, Ellen DeGeneres, high-school/fat Monica in Friends, Ricky Gervais, Liz Lemon, Michael Scott, did I say Liz Lemon? Yes, many of these are fictional characters, but obviously that’s because they’re too perfect to be real. BASK IN THEIR GLORY.
3. Use your awkwardness to your advantage.
Your awkwardness makes you not intimidating–you’re the person everyone feels like they can talk to. You’re not the beautiful unicorn they idolize, which means they’ll feel more comfortable approaching you and being themselves around you. Yes, this means you will attract a BUNCH of weirdos–BUT, hopefully this means that you will also attract some genuine souls tired of the BS, who just want to be able to talk to someone about how they tried to eat the decorative pebbles at their job interview because they LOOKED like chocolate covered sunflower seeds and who has decorative pebbles in any scenario ever anyways, and not be judged.
4. Have faith that your peak won’t be premature.
My mom always told me that the popular girls peak in high school and then go on to become fat, unhappy secretaries. This is one of those truths we hold to be self-evident; the karmic bitchslap will have its day in court with the cool kids, and it may take until your dying breath, but your awkwardness will pay off. You’ll live a more fulfilling life, because you’ll understand struggle and what’s really important–not ridiculously good looks, the ability to glide effortlessly in heels without tripping, being able to flirt successfully with god-like creatures, or waking up every morning without crying upon realizing that you’ve just woken up, but the things that really matter, like being able to eat whatever you want whenever you want wearing whatever you want around anyone you want, not being ashamed to go to bed at 8 PM after spending the night in, working on a puzzle, and having a proud commitment ceremony with your dog.
5. Be your unbridled, awkward self, and people can love it, like it, leave it, WHATEVER.
Here’s the secret everyone knows deep down: the awkward ones are the BEST. People who can, will, and do laugh at themselves, who aren’t afraid to look foolish if it means they stay dry from the rain thanks to their poncho, who will love you even when you ugly-cry–THOSE are the people everyone wants to come home to. Keeping up the charade of perfection is simply untenable, and just too exhausting. But remember that you deserve to not only be that person who everyone loves, you deserve to be the person who everyone admits they love, and also to have those people of your own. Don’t settle and wait around for all those idiots to realize how great you are–be loud and proud, because while it may be lonely, you’ll find your way to your tribe in time, and it’s a hell of a lot better than pretending to actually LIKE networking events.
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