Being Awkward: The Beauty In Discomfort

If you’re awkward and you know it, laugh uncomfortably. 

Hello. My name is Leighann, and I’m awkward.

If you’re looking for someone who excels at making uncomfortable eye contact with strangers in cars, not-so-smoothly inserting themselves into conversations and going in for the high-five, no…wait, it’s a hug…nope, never mind…they were just handing you their paperwork. Well, that’s me.

I mean, that’s not all of me, of course, but the truth is that I find myself in more awkward situations in life than I’d like to admit. And I’m guessing I’m not alone in this phenomenon.

Let’s name it for what it is.

Personally, I throw around the word ‘awkward’ like a hackey sac. It’s easier than getting to the root of my feelings. When I say, “I’m so awkward” what I’m really trying to tell you is either one of two things: a) I’m feeling really out of my element right now (i.e. discomfort or unfamiliarity) or b) I’m feeling scared that people will think of me differently if I’m just being myself. Perhaps these feelings don’t sound familiar, or maybe they sound all too familiar.

 Is being awkward such a bad thing?

I used to think my awkwardness was the absolute worst thing. I mean, I love meeting new people, but I always felt like my fear of coming across as awkward held me back from being my true self. So instead, I just avoided situations that could even turn into potentially awkward encounters altogether. Problem solved, right?

Yeah. If you want to be a hermit and never meet anyone or experience anything new.

I’m a people person, and as much as I tend to go back into introverted tendencies, I need people in and around my life for maximum happiness. So you can see where this might be an issue at times.

People want to know you–the real you.

I’ve learned that the only way people will get a chance to know who I am, is if I step into that awkw–discomfort. Life is too short to be stuck pretending to be someone I’m not–and it’s also too long to go without people really knowing who you are and accepting you for it.

One conversation comes to mind when I think of this sentiment. It took place a few months ago, during a hike through the Redwoods with a dear friend of mine. We were talking about being fully known and she was recalling a quote by Timothy Keller that said,

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”                                  (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)

If being uncomfortable for a brief lapse of time–or let’s be honest, sometimes even longer lapses of time–is what it takes to lay a foundation for truly authentic relationships to be built, maybe it’s worth it to be a little awkward. Perhaps instead of being so afraid of rejection and discomfort in situations that I shy away from them altogether, it might be a good idea to show up to places with my entire, deliciously complex self.

So show up. Be yourself. Let the awkward in.

Because, it seems that this is the best way to step into being fully known and loved by others.

2 Comments
Leighann

Twenty-something, lover of Jesus. I like animals (esp. dogs), Fun-Fetti cupcakes and yoga. I love God and do my best to love others. I hate too-warm weather and socks that fall into your shoes when you walk. I'm a huge fan of Christian rap and cold, sunny days.

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2 Comments

  • FEHINTOLAOGUNYE

    I can relate very well with this post. People tell me that I’m an extrovert and I relate well with people and I laugh everytime they say this because I know the amount of anxiety and awkwardness I feel in a group of people. What should I do? What should I say? Don’t even get me started on what should I wear, lol. But I usually just rip the band aid and throw myself in situation because if I overthink it, I’ll talk myself out of interacting with people. And I don’t do very well on my own. I enjoy human interaction and friendships.
    I have learned to embrace my awkward moment (like when I say the wrong thing or wear the wrong outfit) and enjoy my life.
    Great post Leighann. I enjoy reading it 😊❤
    Fehintola || https://www.fehintolaogunye.com

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Oh, this is so me too! I am so awkward it should be illegal. Lol, thanks so much for reading, friend! Yes, embrace the awkward because at least it means you’re putting yourself out there, right?!

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  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 16 𝑜𝒻 31

Hot. No, it’s not what you think. As a matter of fact, when I first saw this picture I was horrified. I saw all that was wrong with my body, my hair and my skin—ugh. 
But you know what? No one’s perfect. And thank God I don’t have to be. Plus, my body was/is working just fine, my hair was moisturized, and my skin was poppin’. Trying to shift my moments of self-doubt and body-consciousness to thankfulness and positive self-talk. 
Also, the day this was taken was HOT, so it still counts towards today’s #augusteyecandy.

I don’t know if anyone’s told you today, but you’re made splendidly and you couldn’t be more perfect than you are right now—yes, even in this heat with your mascara running down your face. ttys 
S/O to @kayzilch and/or her awesome fiancé, Michael for this pic 📸
  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 14 𝑜𝒻 31

5pm. 
It’s crazy to think that I’ve actually posted one picture on IG for TWO weeks straight. Especially considering all that’s been going on around me: moving back across the country for school, moving into my new place, actually starting school, remembering how to (somewhat) adult—throw in a little bit of anxiety, and you’ve got yourself the past two weeks of my life. 
All that to say—we made it, folks. We made it to today. And that is enough. You’re doing great—ttys
  • TW: Anxiety/Panic Attack

Anxiety is like a shadow that’s been following me around since I was about thirteen. I guess puberty marked the onset of racing thoughts, subtle hyperventilation and that queasy feeling you get when something’s just not right. I had my first panic attack at nineteen, during a new hire orientation. It felt like I was having a heart attack—my heart inexplicably began to race, my hands shook and I felt warmth all around me. 
I excused myself to the reception area and, in a panic, asked the receptionist if she could help me. She said to place my hands above my head and breathe. I paced around the lobby and breathed, eyes closed. Inhale. Exhale. I worried for a moment that I would die. Then gradually, my heart began to beat at normal pace again. My breathing deepened and my body cooled down to normal as I continued to pace, slower this time. The kind receptionist gave me some water to sip and sat me down until I was ready to go back to the meeting. 
Anxiety can feel like a high-speed train. Going 5mph one minute and 150 mph the next. It can also be subtler, feeling like you can’t quite catch your breathe and you begin to hyperventilate, in a way that is only recognizable to you. 
Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, anxiety has taught me the importance of coming back to the present. And how allowing myself to feel what is presently around me, can ground me and remind me that I’m alive. I’m safe. 
I share this story in order to start the conversation. Anxiety is a part of my life, whether I like it or not. I hope you know that first of all:

1. You are loved beyond measure and valuable even with your anxious thoughts and actions 
and 
2. You are not the only one 
ttys
  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 13 𝑜𝒻 31

Home. For now anyways—is Georgia. The most asked question I get lately has been “Well? Are you gonna stay out there, or move back to California?” So, to help answer anyone’s burning question about my plans for the future, here it is:

Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s just get this last year down and then talk specifics, shall we? Here’s to one of my last first days of school. 
To my fellow cohorts: May we grow. May we care for ourselves and others a little better each day. May we get up the hills to our classes in one piece #UGA
  • Wait, I can’t believe summer is over and I officially start my last year of my MSW program tomorrow! What is life? Time is flying by, and I’m just trying to soak up every moment ☀️
  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 12 𝑜𝒻 31

Sunday morning. 
Mmmm, tacos 🌮 so far, I’m learning to enjoy this new life stage: also known as adulting. I’ll admit, at times it’s a little scary and a whole lot of trial and error, but I know it’s all a part of the plan—even if it sometimes feels like nothing is going according to plan 🤷🏾‍♀️ #adulting am I right? 
Faking it ‘til I make it since ‘92.

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