I’m pretty sure I should start a podcast called “Kaitlyn Does Awkward Things Every Day.” This week alone, I’ve walked in on one of my friends breaking up with her boyfriend (and stayed for several minutes before realizing what was happening), responded to two people that were not talking to me, and tripped over my feet going up the stairs. My brain often goes twice as fast as my mouth which can lead to some embarrassing situations. One of my personal favorite slip-ups was when someone told me they liked my hat in the hallway. I enthusiastically said, “Okay!” instead of thanking him.
Life is full of uncomfortable situations. If you have watched any coming-of-age movies ever, you’ll know that the teen years especially tend to be painfully awkward. High school is a cesspool teeming with humiliation and weirdness. We’re all just trying to do our best, but in reality, we’re just kids with too many hormones and not enough impulse control. Mix in a little self-consciousness, acne, and general confusion about what-the-heck-you’re-doing-with-your-life, and you have a recipe for disaster.
What I’ve realized over the past few months is that everyone is so preoccupied with their own mistakes that they couldn’t care less about that time you accidentally faceplanted in the middle of a crosswalk. That’s the great thing about awkwardness: everyone experiences it. The person you think is way cooler than you in every way possible is worried about what they texted their crush. The guy sitting next to you in the library is freaking out because he turned in a document without changing the teacher’s name from “Mr. Whatshisface.” The girl in your chemistry class is internally screaming because she dropped her lunch tray in front of the whole cafeteria last week. We try to avoid awkwardness so much that we end up getting in worse situations half the time. In order to confront embarrassing situations, we have to realize that they don’t just happen to us.
Life is awkward ー and that’s okay. The awkward, embarrassing, awful experiences we have now will turn into hilarious stories later. It can be a reminder of how you’ve grown, what you’ve been through, and the risks you’ve taken. Just think: in thirty years you’ll be teaching your kids how life goes on, no matter how horrendously you messed up your English presentation. Screwing up is essential for you to become better. So, the next time you walk into a table while staring at the boy you’ve been in love with for three years, choose to take it as a lesson instead of the end of your social life.
Photo by Hannah Loesch