I wasn’t always this awkward. In elementary school, I had a great group of friends that I could be absolutely ridiculous with, and we could laugh at each other when one of us fell off the jungle gym or tripped on our shoelaces while chasing boys. When I moved to a different school though, everything changed. I was immediately uncomfortable with myself and everyone around me, and was also horribly insecure and shy. I did not know how to talk to boys that I had crushes on without blushing, ask someone for a favor without apologizing a million and a half times, and I did not know how to get involved, though I desperately wanted to be a part of something-anything. So as a result, I became the stereotypical awkward middle schooler, who graduated into the awkward freshman in high school, who then grew up to be- you guessed it- an awkward freshman in college. The difference now, though, is that over the years I have learned that laughing at myself is the best way for me to feel comfortable in the worst situations and this has therefore become one of my strongest beliefs.
The ability to laugh at myself did not just appear one day but instead grew out of my many awkward moments as my ability to handle them changed. In middle school, there was one specific event that to to this day my dad and sister make fun of. In church when everyone was shaking hands for the blessing, I went to shake someone’s hand, and they turned away right as my hand was out, and I was in the middle of saying, “peace be with you”. This may be a classic “you had to be there” moment, but at the time, I was mortified. However, today we still laugh and joke about it. This is one of the first incidents from where my belief stemmed.
When high school came around though, the awkward incidents happened so frequently that my friends constantly referred to me as “the most awkward person in the world” because of the silly things I would say and the embarrassing things I would do. Whenever I did something in class that none of my friends witnessed, I could not wait until I saw them at lunch so I could explain what happened and be able to make them laugh and shake their heads knowingly. I secretly enjoyed them laughing at my expense because it injected humor into the monotony of our school day. The other benefit was that it was extremely therapeutic for me to finally realize that it is okay to be a complete klutz because I had found friends that accepted me for it. These friends therefore helped me become comfortable in my own skin.
Now in college, I still have the same friends from home but I also have been able to surround myself with new people that also laugh about my awkward, almost daily events. My roommate, Kelly, gets the brunt of these stories. My belief is that when I am close to bursting with the need to tell people about something that happened, I have to because it is important for me to then make fun of myself and enjoy the moment for what it was: funny, instead of embarrassingly awkward as it used to be. The joy and relief I receive from laughing at myself and making others laugh as a result is definitely what makes the weird moments worth it.