Being invited to more social events as part of my blog is extremely flattering and is further proof that physical people are actually reading my words (which I still find hard to comprehend). Though these experiences are exciting they also shine a light on some of the issues I struggle with including social anxiety and how truly awkward I am.
I have never really understood social interaction. When I was a child I was wild and would pounce on anyone that looked a similar age to me or that I found intriguing. Once I clocked my target I would skip over and introduce myself with the super speedy and scripted “Hi my name’s Emma, what is yours? Do you want to play?” I am an only child so hanging with anyone was exhilarating to me, unfortunately, my over zealous approach didn’t always go down well and often scared people away.
Even at a young age I was headstrong and did not let these negative reactions deter me from my abrupt friend mission, that was until I hit high school. I thought going up to big school was going to be the best experience of my life, I felt like my pool of friends at primary was ready to be expanded and couldn’t wait to be introduced to people beyond my own little bubble. By the age of 12 I had already established myself as different from my classmates but thought high school would give me the opportunity to meet similar minds.
The transition from my small pool to the scary sea was harsher than I anticipated. My enthusiasm to make new friends was met with far more hostility than I was prepared for and though I did make some friends, overtime the cruel jibes and taunts of my other peers got so overwhelming that I lost confidence. Not being accepted by my classmates was a mystery that I was desperate to solve so I became quiet and observed in an effort to work out my mistakes.
Being quiet, I made more friends but although I seemed ‘semi-popular’ I became almost silent and withdrawn. This came with a whole new repertoire of genus quips such as “shut up Emma you’re being too loud” after hours of sitting in a room for hours without speaking. I had been hushed for so long I had forgotten how to use my words, I didn’t know what they wanted me to say, everything seemed amiss when it came out of my mouth.
Gradually I found my voice again through a solid group of actual friends (and perhaps alcohol). Being a teenager is a learning experience for everyone, without my quieter periods I may not have developed my taste in music, drawing skills or strong personal style as a way of expressing myself so it was not all negative yet is still something that plays on my mind.
Though I am no longer mute, or a teenager, I am still entirely awkward, too loud, too quiet, have bad timing and also physically as graceful as Bridget Jones on skis.
This is something that is hugely frustrating and brings me to how I came to write this post. I was heading out to an event and complained to my boyfriend that I was really nervous about going as all the other bloggers seemed so together and I was always just SO awkward. He didn’t try to appease me but instead said “It would be weird if you were all polished and knew exactly what to say, it wouldn’t be you at all and would be pretty boring” then got back to his pint.
The statement was so blasé to him, but the comments really struck a chord with me – maybe it was time to give up on all the negatives of being naturally awkward and embrace it as quirk instead.
I am trying to be more positive in my life in general so instead of moaning about my unique way of dealing with social situations I am instead going to try and think of myself as being memorable.
How do you guys appear cool when you don’t feel it?