An open letter to the awkward – from an awkward person

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It’s okay to be awkward, it’s okay to be different. I’m awkward too.

Sometimes it’s a defence mechanism, protecting you from saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Sometimes you might not have a lot to say. Maybe you’re thinking hard on things.

Maybe you just want to be left alone.

While awkwardness doesn’t mean that you don’t have friends, you may find it hard to interact with them if you have them. You may feel like you’re being judged, but if they’re really your friends, they won’t mind if you show a little of your awkwardness. Try not to worry too much about it.

Maybe we’re not as good at talking, writing or expressing ourselves, but our thoughts and opinions are as valid as anyone else’s.

Our opinions might be a little out there. They might be a little unconventional. We may just blurt them out without thinking. Sometimes we can be a bit thoughtless.

We may be dreamers that don’t interact with the world that well. We may struggle with mundane tasks. The only way I can remember to do chores is if I put reminders on my phone.

We might like things a certain way, and don’t like our stuff moved. We may be protective of our belongings. We may have a lot of boundaries to protect our more vulnerable selves.

We might be quiet around new people. We’re not comfortable jumping into conversation and many of us aren’t great conversation starters, either. That doesn’t mean we don’t like new people, we just need time to make up our minds if a new person is friendship material.

Some of us may have a mental health issue that can make life a bit more difficult. Some of us may have a learning disability. Some of us have difficulties with past traumas and have specific triggers that people may have to know in advance before interacting with us.

I know I’m difficult. I know I’m awkward. My blank expression and monotone voice don’t mean that I’m incapable of feeling (even though it might seem that way). I’m human. You can still hurt me. My lack of enthusiasm in conversation is a default setting until I’m sure of how to react in an exchange. Sometimes the topic just bores me, and I have nothing to say. I try not to be an asshole. If I’ve been an asshole to you, then I’m sorry. I’ll try and be better.

I’m not speaking to every awkward person out there. I’m not an awkwardness ambassador. Your experiences may be very different from mine, and I’m writing this because all the above has happened to me and maybe you can relate.

It doesn’t matter if you describe yourself as awkward, or eccentric, or difficult. We are all human. You are no better or no worse than anyone else. We’re all in this together.

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