I believe in embracing my awkwardness as tightly as it embraces me. Usually, it grips to me like spandex, baring my body to relatives, teachers, and friends. It was particularly tight last week, when I met three of my high school friends over a Big Mac. We chatted about music, and for a while, all three of us struggled to name our “favorites”—obscure artists that might reflect our Indie artiness. “Have you heard of the Pine Cones? No? They’re local, haven’t really hit the airwaves yet” (I made the name up, something which I would do occasionally when I ran out of names). Eventually, I became sick of faking names. “I like Mariah Carey.” My friends stared at me with disbelief. Awkward.
But I just can’t fear awkwardness, because awkwardness is me. Awkwardness is my style, my characteristic blemish, what makes me different from the five-thousand other uniquely awkward students at my university. And just as I believe in accepting my awkwardness, I love others’ awkwardness as well.
I love my dog’s awkward grin. Others call it ugly, but I call it defining. I love my best friend’s awkward oversized clothes, which she wears unabashedly around campus. Those clothes define her. She picked them out without anyone’s advice, as she sees fit. I love my old professor’s awkward voice. At first I had to suppress my laughter when he would read passages in raspy squeals. But now, in the summer, I miss that voice. When I need his advice, I just recall his voice, which brings a lifelike image of him to my mind.
Awkwardness is the most precious truth. It is the personal belief or mannerism that must struggle to exist against forces of coolness and tradition. It is the small battle that each human must wage against his neighbors, and it is the personal allegiance that each man must hold to himself and to his pleasant flaws. I believe in awkwardness and awkwardness believes in me.
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