YOUNG VOICES: An awkward column about being awkward

2013-03-04T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: An awkward column about being awkwardBy C.J. Skok nwitimes.com
March 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

My name is C.J. Skok, and I’m awkward. Throughout high school and now as a college student, I have gone past the stage of denial and come to grip with my regretful fate. The inappropriate chuckles, the misplaced words, and the stuttering that often encompasses my daily speech plague me to the point of insanity.

I was recently asked what was the most awkward thing I have ever been through. I was tempted to say, “My life.”

Though often I feel I might be the most awkward person in Indiana (if not the country), people encounter awkward situations every day.

Whether it includes high school dances, “birds and bees,” the first date, or the dreaded elevator (Shh! You don't talk in an elevator) ride to the 10th floor, awkward situations are something we, as a species, loathe and fear. Take it from someone who does, we take the extra effort to avoid these situations.

Why is that? The psychology of awkwardness is something that is often neglected in scientific study. Perhaps even the mere mention of a study that concerns awkwardness would become the epitome of awkward.

A possible explanation might lie in our insecurity -- physically, emotionally or mentally. We all have moments where we come to doubt ourselves in different areas of life. However, in all seriousness, that is what makes each of us unique and able to contribute different perspectives and ideas.

For example, just take a moment and picture the quintessential seventh grade boy. At that age I was wearing a shirt size too large, had braces (for the second time), and tripped over my own feet incessantly. As you grow up many of these physical insecurities will pass, but as I can attest, others will persist. No matter your age or background, awkward things can and will happen.

While I can’t offer you a panacea for awkwardness, here’s my advice: Just be yourself. Laugh at your awkwardness and joke about it frequently. Taking yourself too seriously will only cause you strife and frustration.

My awkwardness, albeit awkward, is something I have come to relish and appreciate about myself. By dreading your awkwardness and loathing it, your prognosis will be grim indeed. To be flawed, is indeed to be human. Embrace it.

C.J. Skok of Valparaiso is a sophomore at Indiana University in Bloomington. The opinions are the writer's.

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