Around the time I turned 14 I decided to create a piece of information (out of thin air) that would make me feel better about life. You see, awkwardness is a quality I was born with, and grade nine was it’s high point. It felt like, anyway.
I was in love with a boy who played in a Cradle of Filth cover band and drove a Camaro. I was still getting barbies for Christmas and had never thrown out my Spice Girls bubble gum wrappers. I had a Tamagotchi that kept dying on me because I could never clean up its poop in time (no, at the time I did most certainly not think I would be cleaning up poop in real life eleven years later.) I was wearing belly shirts to church and bought Wet n’ Wild eyeliner in nightingale blue. I had braces and refused to show my teeth when I smiled (or stop eating corn on the cob). I bought my first thong from bootlegger and hand washed it and carried it in my purse so I could change into it once I got to school because my Mom would kill me if she found it in the laundry. I was still wearing a training bra. I watched Clueless. Like, a lot.
Life was pretty awful, in one of those it was actually perfectly fine kind of ways. High school was great for me – but only because I created an environment in which I could see the light.
I woke up one day and thought to myself I bet grown ups are never awkward. I thought about my Grandmother – the epitome of the perfect lady – and she was (is still) never awkward. My Mom – the always prepared and put together and well spoken woman – and she was (is still) never awkward. And then I thought of Posh Spice. Definitely not awkward.
And that was the spectrum which settled it. Grown ups were not awkward. “When I grow up, I will never be awkward again.”
It got me through alright. Thinking that the whole flustered, less-than-perfect, frazzled thing was just a debt I had to pay if I wanted to make it to the big leagues.
Well, I don’t think I need to tell you how wrong I was.
This morning I walked into Starbucks before class and presented the lady with one of those coupons for a free coffee they give you if you have to wait too long for them to make yours. The only stipulation of the coupon was that it was for their new Blonde roast. Whatever. If it’s caffeinated i’ll take it. I was running late (as per usual) and therefore was – wait for it – frazzled. I managed to dig through my purse and find the coupon (as if I’m going to pay for coffee when I have a coupon) and handed it to the girl at the till.
“HI. I have a coupon for a tall blonde.”
Shoot. This is awkward.
Last night I decided to do the last of my reading in the tub (Heart of Darkness by Conrad. Light bubble bath reading, NBD.) I ran the bath, put the bubbles in, and got in. Less than 30 seconds later I had to pee. Because that’s what happens when you drink 5 espresso shots, 3 diet cokes and 2 litres of water and then step into 100 degree water. Even if you just went. I sat there and closed my eyes. Grown ups do NOT pee in the bath tub I said in my head. Again, louder, GROWN WOMEN DO NOT PEE IN THE BATHTUB!
Shoot. This is awkward.
If anything, I’ve really gotten more awkward as the years have gone on. I like to think that what I have going for me now is the fact that I don’t look awkward… but even that is probably a stretch. It’s just a part of me that I’ve come to accept.
Sometimes I like to think I’m not really grown up yet. That I will miraculously lose my flustered, less-than-perfect, frazzled act when I have my thirtieth birthday. Or when I have a baby. Or when I get my first big girl job (again.) But that’s just me being optimistic.
Where’s the fun in not being awkward, I ask you. Does not peeing in the bathtub give you something to talk about? Does asking for a Grande no-foam, non-fat latte make you laugh-out-loud? Does keeping a thought like “beard-rash is the new hickey” to yourself make you feel like you’re utilizing your freedom of expression?
Maybe. In which case, go forth and be pristine in your social conduct, bask in the shade of that precipice, laugh internally at all the things you’re glad you can never share.
I can only aspire to reach that level of maturity.
xo & yw