While on a shopping spree some years ago, I was drawn into a Bath & Body Works by a sale sign and the delightful aroma wafting out of the store. It was impossible to resist. Naturally, I was among dozens of other ladies looking for that perfect scent at that perfect price – the place was crowded. While bending down to try out a particularly lovely cucumber lotion, several bags slid off of my arm and crashed down onto the glass display, sending bottles and goo flying. The store went deadly silent.
I was fourteen years old and on the phone with a boy that I had a crush on. We had only been talking for twelve minutes and we had already breezed through all of the topics that I had written down in preparation. When I wasn’t speaking, I made sure to hold the mouthpiece of the phone away from my face so that he couldn’t hear how panicked my breathing was becoming. My palms were sweaty. There was a silence. I started counting. At forty five seconds it became unbearable. I hung up.
I had been dating my first real boyfriend for only a few months and, while I got along wonderfully with his family, my nerves were still a mess when I was at his house. We had just finished a beautiful dinner where I met his Aunt and Uncle. Everything had gone smoothly and I was finally starting to relax. We were headed downstairs to the living room when my left foot came alive, shooting in front of its counterpart and launching me down the stairs.
The stories go on and range from as early as I can remember to as recently as today; I’m certain they will continue on forever. I’m as clumsy and awkward as it gets and, thanks to Hollywood, that is now ok. Now we see beautiful women like Jennifer Lawrence and Zooey Deschanel who are openly clumsy and are perfectly comfortable with it. By showing confidence in their clumsiness, they have managed to make it rather charming.
Then why limit ourselves to just clumsiness, I wonder. What’s stopping us from turning every little foible into something worth celebrating?
There was a sportscaster during last year’s Olympics who talked about the confidence of the athletes. He defined confidence as that little voice inside that tells us that we belong. I propose that we embrace all of the little things that make us different. Have confidence in each and every flaw that makes us unique. It may sounds daunting, but if we take a breath and tell ourselves that we belong, perhaps we’ll find the confidence we need to be exactly who we are, flaws and everything.
I for one think it’s worth a try. I certainly wish I had tried owning my clumsy awkwardness before I slowly backed out of the Bath & Body Works with my hands up; before I hid in my boyfriend’s room for the remainder of the evening; or, before I spent the rest of my highschool career averting my eyes from that one boy. But I guess that’s just me. Clumsy awkward me. 🙂