Friday, November 4, 2011

Embrace awkward

By Paula McFadden, Opinion Columnist

There is something you do not know about me. I was homeschooled for eight years.

Homeschool kids are often stereotyped as lacking the ability to act in social situations, but everyone is awkward at some point.

I do have to admit: in the sixth grade, I did own and wear a swishy sweatpants suit, but I blame the ’90s for that fiasco.

Homeschooling has given me a deep understanding of how to be awkward, but I take it as a challenge to embrace it.

Have you ever gone a day without having an awkward moment?

If so, I congratulate you because sometimes my brain stops functioning properly right at the moment when I know I should react in some way.

Take this awkward moment for example. You are walking to class or down the street, and you see someone waving at you. You wave back, but notice a confused look on the person’s face. Then, you realize. The person was waving to someone walking directly behind you.

Now, you are caught trying to decide what to do next. Should you laugh? Should you avoid eye contact?

One decision involves cell phones. Almost everyone has one. They are our constant companion in class or walking around campus.

For some reason, they have become a crutch in order to avoid uncomfortable situations, so you pull out your phone just in time to avoid making eye contact.

Despite your efforts to prevent it, you just proved you are an awkward person. You were not socially capable enough to be able to make contact with someone without feeling uncomfortable. You are the stereotypical homeschooled kid.

How do you prevent awkward situations?

I believe they are inevitable. Instead of trying to avoid every awkward moment, accept them as a part of life and laugh about it. Most likely, it will not be your last one, so just be yourself.

I may have been homeschooled, but I accept this about myself. I am going to embrace my awkwardness, one swishy sweatpants suit at a time.