“It’s a phase,” people say as they tilt their head in pity and smile reassuringly. Take comfort. When it comes to some things, like that chili-bowl haircut in your early years, they’re right. However, as fate would have it, the powers that be blessed me with a range of physical and mental quirks to ensure I achieve my destiny.
*Dramatic pause as I throw up my jazz hands and sing tah-daaah!*
My destiny is . . . awkward.
Being awkward grew with me like that freckle you keep your eye on, changing slightly but never disappearing. With these powers combined, I am Captain Awkward. “Captain Awkward, she’s our hero, gonna take your comfort down to zero!” (Sing it with me, fellow Planeteers.)
I’ve made many people cringe in my lifetime. I’ve also made them laugh. Yes, maybe it was a pity laugh. Don’t get me wrong, though—I love the stories that come from being awkward. However, it hasn’t always been a walk in the park; I had to suffer much embarrassment.
In third grade, puberty was not in my vocabulary. Fate and my clumsiness put me on the fast track to understanding what it meant to become a woman. I was rushing back to my classroom after a break and plunked down hard into my metal desk chair. Later, I went to the bathroom and was frightened when I saw blood on my underwear. Naturally, I prepared myself for the worst. I raced back to the classroom to tell the teacher what happened. She looked at me in shock. This was coming from a girl who is still to this day waiting on the perks of puberty (any day now, Bs!). In my teenage years, I asked my mother if she thought my boobs would get bigger and she replied, “I sure hope so”. No.such.luck. So, at nine years old and every year from then on, I was the runt of the litter. My teacher quickly sent me to the principal’s office. After getting an informative lecture on the ins-and-outs of the female body from the male principal and my mother, who is a registered nurse, I realized this “period” thing didn’t sound like the right explanation. I had to clue them in about the chair. They still insisted on sending me home but not before giving me a pad made for an adult woman. I penguin-shuffled to our car. It may not have been the start of womanhood, but it was the start of something awkward.
The truth is I am awkward; awkward is me. See the awkward. Feel the awkward. Be the awkward.
Here I’ll regale my tried and true awkward stories of the past and divulge some new ones that will surely come along. As our kind often does, I’m here to overshare. Let’s cringe, cry, but mostly laugh as we explore our awkward selves.