Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Girl Named Awkward

I was driving to work this week and happened to pop in a mix tape (CD to the kids) entitled "Johnny, Loretta, and Neko Walk into a Bar." That would be Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Neko Case. The mix rotated between the three as if they were having a conversation while having a drink at a bar (and yes, it's as awesome as it sounds). The song A Boy Named Sue came on and I realized just how much I love this song. If you've never heard this song (you shouldn't admit that in public), here's the video:

So basically, Sue is a dude who's dad named him that and then left him and his mama. Sue spent his life being tough (because he had to with a name like Sue) and trying to find his dad and seek his revenge. When Sue does find dad and is set to kill him, well, dad explains that he knew he'd have to leave so he named his son Sue to make him tough and help him survive. Yep, it makes perfect sense in a country song.

If Sue's dad named him Sue to make him tough and be able to handle anything life threw at him, would my parents naming me Awkward have made me the most confident human being in the world? Can the logic of this song work in real life? I would really love if it did.

Awkward. Even the word itself sounds weird and well, awkward. I was hoping at some point in my life awkwardness would not be a major problem. I figured I'd grow out of teenage awkward and into a more confident and awesome woman. I feel like I can say this about myself in my work life: Give me a room full of angsty counselors who don't want to be there and don't want to learn anything new and I can keep their attention AND convert a few to rabid fans by the end of training. It's what I do: training is part teaching and part performance and I have become a very gifted teacher/performer over the last several years. In this area, I have the confidence of a much taller person.

However, socially I don't ever feel this kind of confidence. I wrote about my friend quest earlier this year and that's part of this problem. I'm not an instigator when it comes to making friends or dating. I don't walk up to people randomly and introduce myself. I would be terrible at speed dating or friending because small talk makes me sound like a moron. It's awkward and uncomfortable. I ramble, I talk about stupid things, I sound like I'm trying too hard. When I like a guy, all that I can muster is the most awkward conversations possible. It's like my normal smart, funny self steps away from my body and I'm left with my awkward teenage self. And then (because I'm a girl) I obsess over what I should have said and dissect the conversation for more meaning. Vicious, vicious cycle.

And this is why I have to meet Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. I've loved these two since the first time I saw Pretty in Pink (despite the awful dress) and loved many other films they've been in over the years. They've made the transition from awkward teen actors to grown-up actors to real life authors. They each have a new book coming out this month and are on book tours that just happen to bring them to the DC area.  I have tickets to these events. I enjoyed Molly Ringwald's first book Getting the Pretty Back. It was funny and made me like her as a person not just someone I wanted to be when I was 12. Her new book is a novel and it sounds amazing. Andrew McCarthy is a travel writer - something I would love to do. His new book is about travel and figuring out life and commitment and I can't wait to read it.

What I'm hoping is that by seeing these two people that I've admired the majority of my life, I will somehow figure out how to be a grown-up. They did it, so why can't I?

Video from

No comments:

Post a Comment