In Fear of the Awkward

There’s a lot of motivating forces in the world. There’s pride, of course. But then there’s money. And I suppose love. Maybe even revenge (if it is served cold).

But really, I think there’s a specific one that trumps all: awkwardness. If someone feels that a situation is going to be awkward at all, they avoid it like it’s the plague, Ebola, and adult responsibilities rolled into one. People will avoid a certain store if they feel that they will see someone they know there. People will put their heads down just so they don’t have to address someone walking on the same side of the street. I mean, people are afraid to make a doctor’s appointment, for goodness sake.

And guess what? I count myself among you. I am actually the queen of awkward. Your oblivious ruler, reigning not with an iron fist but one clenched in frustration when I say something utterly stupid.

Oh, sure, I’m so “off-the-cuff” on this blog, but ask me how the weather is and if I don’t stutter, I’ll say something incredibly weird and inappropriate. Then, I’ll think about it for the next three years and blush every time.

Sure, I’m making light of this now, but really, it is crippling and sad. I have to rehearse my food order so that I don’t say it wrong. I am constantly being told to speak up. I am always sighing and cringing after every social interaction ever. And I’ve never known what it’s like not to feel this way. Instead of ruling my life with fear of the unknown, I’ve chosen to shape my future with the fear of the awkward. My  life is a bad romantic comedy on steroids, all bumping into someone four different times, trying to dance around him or her, and then finding yourself face deep in his or her chest yet again.

Now, I could tell you that I’ll overcome this in the next five years, and maybe, so will you. I just have to tell myself that “people are just people,” and there isn’t anything to be afraid of, right? But that’s the thing about fear: it is completely irrational. And the problem is that every situation is going to be awkward if you continue to think too hard about it. We all just need to let ourselves go to let the situation and conversation flow, man.

I know, I know. Easier said than done. But if you try to think a little less during all of your “awkward” experiences, you may find that it really was all in your head.

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