I was born into this world awkward. I grew up awkward and I became a delightfully awkward person. Despite years of dance lessons, I never really did have genuine rhythm. I have been guilty of saying the wrong thing and then feeling horribly embarrassed. I was not really all that popular in school, didn’t know how to properly use make up until I was in my early 20’s, and really made more friends with people 10-30 years older than me than the kids my actual age. My mom calls it “being ahead of my time.” I like to believe that it was truly just social “late blooming.”
When I was in middle school, I attended my very first co-ed dance. Well, really my first dance period…if you don’t include a birthday bash in fifth grade when my best friend Anna announced to the entire room I had a crush on a boy which put me in the broom closet for about an hour, bawling my eyes out because my life was absolutely ruined. Once I found my way out of the broom closet and moved in to “real” dance territory, AKA the gym, I noticed really quickly that I could not “dance.” While every other girl was swiveling her hips and boys began to grind against them (at 12 years old by the way), I attempted to imitate them. From my uneducated 12-year old standpoint, there was only one way to get a boy to slow dance with you and that was to dance with them provocatively. And I really just did not have it in me. My friends even tried teaching me how to pop my booty out, separate my hips from my upper body so only my lower half would move, but it was to no avail. I gave up and sat on the bleachers, hating myself, and wondering why in the world I couldn’t get past my awkward moves and get a boyfriend. That’s what the other girls were doing. They had 2, 3, 4, sometimes 5 boys just coming up behind them and dancing. They looked like dogs humping in the middle of the floor, but I wanted to be just like them so badly. Everyone was doing it. I didn’t want to be the odd one out. I didn’t want to be forever known as the weirdo with the wicked sprinkler.
I got to college and attended a mixer which again resulted in my new friends attempting to teach the poor slow kid how to dance. No dice. I went back to my dorm room and made friends with a girl down the hall and we stayed friends all through college. We maybe went out dancing 3 times during those years together. But knowing her was my salvation. Mainly because she disliked clubs as much as me.
When I got out of school, I was too busy to go out and learn the latest dance moves. I was too tired after a 40+ hour work week to click over to MTV and learn how to twerk. And my moves, believe it or not just got worse. And I doubt they’ll ever improve. I have too much stuff to do. I am out helping people move on with their lives and into new homes. I am in the community raising awareness for arts programs. I have a great group of friends who prefer singing to dancing. I read. I blog. I just never have the time to get out there and learn how to dance in the way that has now become socially acceptable.
It wasn’t until now that I look back and thank God for my bad dance moves. It kept me from meeting the wrong guys in my life. The kind of guys that will come up behind you without asking and then start dry humping you on the floor. Yeah, my moves were that bad, nobody wanted to get close to me on the dance floor. Sure, up until this current relationship the past ones didn’t work out, but they were good guys when you put them under a microscope. They loved me for me, my thoughts, and yes, even my horrible dance moves. They didn’t objectify me, abuse me, or really even cheat on me. I never felt that I wasn’t good enough in the relationship because they made me feel loved. And I began to love myself because I saw myself in their eyes. I saved a ton of time from never having to go out every night and meet some guy in a seedy bar because I was spending my time bettering myself. Sure, I have some hiccups along the way, but for the most part my awkwardness has worked to my benefit. I can’t attribute this awesome life I have completely to my horrible inability to put a twerk video up on YouTube; my parents would have murdered me if I were able to twerk. But also because I had one less thing to worry about, I was able to better myself, have some respect for myself, and grow up into someone who will hopefully leave a larger mark on the world than 15 seconds of fame on YouTube. I have a desire now, more than ever to pass my “awkward” down to my daughter. Because it wasn’t really all awkwardness in the end that held me back from being the dirtiest dancer in school. It was feeling deep down that if I put myself down on that level with girls like Mylie Cyrus (you were waiting on that weren’t you?), I lose a piece of my true self. And I refused ultimately, to let that ever happen.