It's OK to be awkward
Do you remember the first time you held a baby? It probably felt a bit awkward. You might have experienced fear and anxiety. My daughter experienced that recently when we went to visit our neighbors and their newborn, Foster. Chances are, especially if you are now a parent, that you feel very comfortable holding a baby.
When my oldest child first learned to ride a bike, it would be an understatement to say he was awkward. He wobbled and crashed with each attempt. But he got up and tried over and over again with gusto. Now, 20 years later, he is very comfortable on a bike.
Several years ago, right after my husband of 20 years and I separated, I was covering a night match at the Family Circle Cup. Some of my friends texted me and asked me to join them at the Daniel Island Grille after the match. They were there with their husbands, all of whom I liked very much. After the match, I found a prime parking spot right across from the restaurant. I turned off the car…but didn’t get out. I couldn’t face that awkward moment and situation where I would be the only one at the table without a spouse. I turned the key, put the car in gear, and went home. I wasn’t comfortable being awkward in that situation. I’m happy to report I have since faced that fear and learned to be comfortable being the single woman in the room. And, it’s come full circle – now that I’m married again.
Here’s another example. Three years ago, on my morning walk, I noticed a man who was jogging. He wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he was the most awkward runner I had ever seen. You could hear him coming from a mile away – clop-clopping along. He could only run about a hundred yards and then stopped to walk. He was awkward indeed. I still see him running – only now he is smooth and doesn’t stop. I don’t hear him coming and he sails right on by me. He doesn’t know it, but he inspires me daily.
Look how awkward I look in the photo accompanying this article – a photo of me jumping off a cliff. That’s a very awkward pose! What are my legs doing? My arms? I remember I was scared to death standing on that cliff. My family and friends were urging me on, in fact they, who jumped off with no fear, were getting annoyed with how long it was taking me to build up my nerve. But they also encouraged me with a chant, “Sue’s the champ! Sue’s the champ!” They repeated it over and over again. And off I finally went in my awkward jump.
Sometimes, in some situations, we are all afraid to appear awkward – to look stupid – to be laughed at. In those situations, we miss out on learning new things. We may never know what we can actually do.
What do you feel awkward doing? Where does your fear lie?
Face it. It’s OK to be awkward.