This topic has surely been beaten to a pulp by now, but my recent “vacation” to Miami has reminded me of just how socially deficient I can be around other human beings.
In the past few years, the socially awkward girl has been catapulted into the lustful limelight by Zooey Deschanel, with her giant blue orbs reaching into the depths of even the hardest thugs and sprinkling a rainbow colored dust of sweetness. I was more than a little excited when her FOX television series New Girl aired and was pleasantly surprised at how well her quirky outfits and poorly timed jokes were received. Yes! I thought to myself. I can finally allow my weirdness to run free like herpes at a Rihanna concert! Yeah, that didn’t work out as well as I had thought.
Next, I thought that I could relate to Ashley Rickard’s character Jenna on the MTV series Awkward, unfortunately, there was no Matty Mckibben back in my day. High school was a rough time for me too, as well as middle school. And elementary school. Hell, I remember my FIRST day of kindergarten. I came to class with my head held high, decked out in all of the latest Barney attire. I had the wristwatch, the backpack, the sheets for nap time, and of course, Barney himself. It was great until Daniel Katz called me a baby for liking that loveable purple dinosaur. I spent playtime by myself in a corner, wallowing in self-pity. I remember going home that afternoon and telling my grandmother that I hated Barney and I wanted to get rid of anything that reminded me of the purple beast. This was the first time I tried to mold myself into someone I wasn’t. Thankfully, she didn’t allow me to toss aside my best friend and that Barney toy is sitting in my daughter’s crib right now.
I think what I am missing is that adaptability. The ability to transform myself into someone else due to my environment. Maybe if I went home that day and caved into the taunting of my peers, I would be a totally different person right now (and probably several other people, too), but I’m sort of glad that I didn’t. Pretending to be cool and always watching what I said would have made my life even more miserable than it already was. No thanks.
Many people are crying “awkward” because that is the “cool” thing to do. I was wearing blue nail polish and rocking platform sneakers way back in the day and was only ridiculed for those “moon boots” and yet, here they are again! Aside from the way I dress and speak, there is some signal, some vibe, that I produce which makes people pull away from me. Maybe I give a little too much of the bulging crazy eye that makes Miss Deschanel so enchanting. Maybe I shouldn’t have cut my bangs at 1 o’clock in the morning out of boredom. And maybe, just maybe, I’m too weird. I haven’t found that perfect balance of quirky humor that will keep people coming back for more rather than constantly offending and pushing them away. This has led me to resigning my personality and putting it high above me on a shelf that no one can reach. But that’s why this page is perfect! I think one of the reasons Deschanel works so well is that she is put behind the television screen. It’s like a barrier that filters too much awkwardness from coming through and contaminating the viewers.
I love that she has paved the way for making odd behavior and random bursts of made-up songs “adorkable”, but us truly “weird” girls, we still have a long way to go before people are ready to handle us in real life. I won’t be giving up hope, though. My cray cray personality is still there, (hopefully) getting better with age and (most certainly) preparing for an awesome, judgement-free world.