Overcoming Adolescent Awkwardness

Emily Andersen, Staff Writer

Since we were children, our favorite TV shows, movies, and books have been telling us who is

and isn’t “popular” in high school. If we are to believe what we’ve been told, we must inevitably come to

the conclusion that it can’t be us. We can’t be popular, because we are awkward. We all are. We’re

awkward if we get all A’s. We’re awkward if we get D’s. We’re awkward if we don’t go to football games.

We’re awkward if we’re obsessed with football. We’re awkward if we’re too tall. We’re awkward if

we’re too short. We’re awkward if we play video games. We’re awkward if we read. We’re awkward if

we don’t know what to say. We’re awkward if we talk too much. We’re awkward, we’re awkward, we’re

awkward. And the worst part is that it’s impossible not to be.

Sorry to break it to you, but uncomfortable differences are completely insurmountable.

Awkwardness doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. Adam Brody said, “And in a world without heroes,

as the movie trailer voice-over guy might say, the slightly awkward can be slightly cool.”  The lesson to

be learned here is not that we need to find a way to get rid of our awkwardness, it’s that we need to

find a way to be happy with ourselves despite it. In fact, we should embrace it. Whether that means you

walk taller, speak louder, or just change the way you look at yourself in the mirror, it needs to be done.

And if the term “awkward” drags you down, then don’t be awkward. Be quirky. Be spunky. Be plucky,

zesty, or zippy. Be idiosyncratic if that’s what makes you happy. The point is don’t be normal. Quirkiness

is adorable. Idiosyncrasies are what make you who you are. Loving your spunk is the beginning of loving

yourself. And loving yourself is the only way to be happy while enduring this thing we call high school.

Let’s go back to the cheesy snowflake analogy. Every snowflake is different, just like us. Think

about snow for a second, though. How often do people look at each individual snowflake? If I stare at a

pile of snow, then I see a pile of snow. Yea, all the snowflakes are different, but no one can tell. Just

because we are all different does not mean we are all special. The only snowflake that is special is the

one that doesn’t stick to all the others, or reflects the light in a certain way, so that it makes me see how

different it is. That’s the one I remember. If you take your differences and hide them among everyone

else’s, then you are just a piece of the pile. You’re just a cliché millennial, a statistic. Nothing quirky here.

I think that uncomfortable feeling we call awkwardness is our natural defense mechanism

against differences. We hate the fact that if we’re different someone will dislike us, but we can’t

conform with everyone so we feel awkward. We make such a big deal about making sure no one dislikes

us that we forget to make people care about us. No one hates normal, but no loves it either. Conformity

creates apathy, but differences inspire new ideas and creativity. So don’t be afraid be awkward once in a

while. It’s the only way to become something special.