My coworker just approached me and said something. He breaks in to a big grin and pauses, waiting for my response. His grin slowly softens into a frown. I’m staring at him with my mouth slightly open and my eyes are unfocused as I try to puzzle this one out. OH! That was a joke! I laugh half-heartedly but it's too late. Missed my chance…
Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m socially awkward.
I always think of the perfect response once the room has cleared. I will gladly respond to your lunch room banter with a witty quip… tomorrow. Ya know, when it's no longer relevant and things have definitly transitioned into a "you had to be there" moment. In my early 20s I stopped hugging people because I somehow always got them tangled in my sweater or did that awkward arm dance. I accidentally butted heads with someone during a hug fiasco once. True story. I still do these things! It's just that now I embrace it as a quirky, lovable characteristic of my identity. But that wasn't always the case.
I used to think my awkwardness was some kind of cosmic flaw I had to overcome. That I was somehow deficient as a human being. I tried to blame genetics but this appeared to be a unique affliction no other family member possessed. Then I tried on lots of different facades, attempting to trick myself and the world into believing I was “normal.” The difficult thing was I never really pinned down a definition for normal because normal just doesn’t exist. It is an idealistic construct founded on experiences and perspectives that may or may not serve our best selves.
The good news is perspectives can change! So I really just floundered along for a few years being completely inauthentic and incredibly uncomfortable. Then I attended a body-positive workshop. The last night of class the instructor asked us all to spread out around the room and take a few deep breaths. She put on music (Florence and the Machine: Dog Days- in case you were curious). Then she asked us to open our eyes and dance! Everyone stood awkwardly in their own space. Gradually, subtly, everyone started to move. We swayed and bounced on our heels. Of course there were some giggles. Then she turned up the volume to the music. The room was awash in the rhythm of the song. Suddenly it was like we were all just given permission to be human, to be ourselves. Everyone started moving and dancing randomly. It felt so freeing to be able to move, without a script or an expectation. To just listen to my intuitive sense and to move however I wanted! People laughed and smiled, people cried as they released everything that had been held in so tightly. We all healed. And I embraced my awesomely awkward self.
This blog was born partly out of the desire to create a safe space for others to explore opportunities to get in touch with their intuitive selves; for individuals to begin to develop a sense of empowerment and positive connection to their identities. So while you are here visiting I invite you to be your genuine, authentic self. And in the process, embrace and celebrate the differences and similarities in others.