That shook me. Because maybe he was on to something. Was I just insecure? I thought long and hard about it and finally realized: Yes, maybe I was a little insecure. Maybe I was fearful of saying or doing something awkward and feeling embarrassed afterwards.
So instead of making a fool of myself, I chose not to put myself in any situation where that fear might come to pass.
But here’s the thing: I constantly do awkward things. I AM awkward. Sometimes I don’t know what to say and when the words come out, they come out all wrong. I am a terrible dancer and it’s embarrassingly awkward. Insecurity would say, “Just don’t dance at all.”
So, yes. Maybe I am a little insecure. Insecure about what others think of me when I am not perfect or when I fail or say something awkward.
If you’ve heard me use this word, you may have asked yourself, “What is an awkwardvert?” I’m glad you asked! But first, let me tell you where it came from.
I have always been bubbly, fun-loving and comfortable speaking in front of large crowds. That makes me an extrovert, right? Wrong. People are usually surprised to hear that I get pretty uncomfortable when walking into a room full of people I don’t know.
I mean, to the point where if I can’t find someone specific to talk to or a job to do, I would rather hang out in a bathroom stall than float around the room connecting with strangers just so we can have a little small talk. (No, really. I have actually done that!)
I don’t love “working a room” but I’m great at connecting more deeply with people in a one on one capacity. Every time Rob and I would go to big events where we knew no one, he would thrive while I shriveled. Whenever it came up, I would simply hide behind my introvert label.
One day, Rob looked at me and said,
I hated labeling myself with the sticker of insecurity. And I was tired of hiding behind being an introvert, even if that was technically true.
That is when I started thinking:
I am not an introvert. I am not an extrovert. I am an awkwardvert.
But what does it really mean to be an awkwardvert? Here’s a list of what it means to me:
An awkwardvert is a person who is a little afraid to fail in front of others but tries anyway. She takes risks and does scary things, even if she might mess up.
An awkwardvert drops everything to stop by a friend’s house unannounced with a bouquet of flowers when that friend is feeling down or sick or mourning, even if she might be denied. She takes action and shows up to clean their home, even if there’s a chance the person doesn’t want or need the help. Because, what if they do?
An awkwardvert reaches out to encourage people just in case someone needs it today. Even if her words are not perfect. Even if there’s a possibility she won’t get an reply.
An awkwardvert shares her faith when God prompts her to, even if she’s not sure she has the best words, or is afraid she will be rejected.
An awkwardvert dances freely even if she can’t dance and has been labeled a “motor moron.” She lets go and has fun and feels the joy that comes from moving, even if the dancing is just. really. terrible.
An awkwardvert doesn’t try to control outcomes. She does what feels right in her heart to do, and lets the action alone be the accomplishment.
An awkwardvert strikes up conversations with strangers, even if she is afraid she might look dumb. She sometimes sticks around in that big crowded room and waits to find the perfect person to converse with, even if she doesn’t know what to do with her hands in the meantime.
An awkwardvert waves at people in their cars driving by, knowing that they may not see her, and she might feel stupid for that one sided interaction…but she waves wildly anyway.
An awkwardvert looks like a woman in her forties or fifties or sixties starting a blog or a business or a music career or an art studio or school or piano lessons or a new venture…even if it means friends or coworkers or family might think she’s lost it and dreams too much…or even if she thinks it might be too late. She keeps going when it looks like nothing notable is happening. And she pushes through when things look bleak or they seem… Awkward.
You see, an awkwardvert is me. And maybe you are one, too. But I’d rather be an awkwardvert and see some things come to pass that simply never would if I’d let me looking awkward stop me.
An awkwardvert? She’s a good thing. She loves people well. She loves herself, too. And the fruit of her life is plentiful.
So… Who’s coming with me? (Ooof… that was awkward)