Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

For the Love of God, Please Be Awkward

Diverse pile of wood frames

I'm awkward.  I say they wrong things and laugh when I shouldn't and fall up stairs when everyone is watching.

Like the time I laughed awkwardly when a new friend told the story of his son falling into a fire. "It's not funny, Kelly. He could have died." I laugh when I'm nervous. 

Or the time I asked a mom of 8 beautiful girls if she was going to try for a boy and walked away knowing what an insensitive comment I'd made. As if her life is somehow less fulfilling and meaningful without a boy in the mix. 

Or the time a sweet family came over for dinner and I locked myself in the bedroom because hubby and I had just had a huge fight and I refused to come out before the tears stopped flowing. That couple became some of our dearest friends, in the way awkwardness and vulnerability brings people together.

I don't want things to be messy and awkward and uncomfortable. I don't like being lost for words and stammering and uncertain. I don't want to say the wrong thing or laugh at the wrong moment or bare my vulnerability in front of people.

But I crave community and companionship. I want connection. And friends, these things are found in the mess. These things are birthed in the awkwardness. 

I have friends who've suffered great losses, friends who've had to bury children and husbands. And they've all said the same thing: I'd rather you show up and be awkward than not show up at all.

This past year was messy for our family. I went to rehab. I spent time in a psychiatric unit. I got brought home by the police at 2am. It was messy and awkward and painful and embarrassing. And the friends that stepped into that pain to be present despite it all? Those people were a game changer.

You have your own mess.  The raw places that hurt to be touched but will never heal if not exposed to the sting of fresh air.  We all do.  We are all a mess.

Friends, for the love of God, Please be awkward. Step into that messy situation and risk being the person who doesn't know what to say.  Because when you do, you present this grieving world with your authentic self. The world needs the true you, the wounded, messy, puts-their-foot-in-their-mouth authentic you.

Friends, for the love of God, be awkward. Show up when your palms are sweaty and the world seems broken and everything inside you screams at the awkwardness of it all.  Because when you do you set others free to be their less than perfect, not-so-polished, rambling awkward selves.

Friend, for the love of God, be awkward.  Walk humbly into the lives of people whose realities seem so different and so other.  Because we are designed to need one another, not in our shiny happy perfect lives, but in the muck and mess of real life.

Oh, this is hard stuff.  Grief, sickness, trauma, pain, these are awkward, uncomfortable, thorny things.  And nobody has the words. Nobody marches their messy self up to another messy human and says all the right things. If they do, I'm certain it's divine intervention. No friends, life is awkward. And none of us have the right words. But we can be present. We can give pieces of ourselves. 

And when you open your mouth and the wrong words come out, know that your presence, in all the awkwardness and uncertainty, is the very balm you hoped your words would be.

Friend, step into the awkwardness.  Because that's where real life and community is.

Will you take a moment to follow me on facebook, twitter, or instagram? And thank you for reading my words, I'm honoured.


  1. Here's my awkward : i'm just a random anonymous reader to you, but I'm glad to hear about you again, and glader to learn that you keep fighting. My prays and love to you. Marie.

    1. That's not awkward, that's lovely. Thanks Marie!

  2. We all have those moments I'm afraid. I have said many awkward things over the years - it just comes out and I'm thinking "OK, you can stop talking now". Part of being human I suppose. We all make mistakes, we live through them and move on, hopefully laughing at ourselves along the way. Have a great day, Kelly. Love your blog and all your wonderful words. You should consider a full time writing for a major paper or magazine - the people you could reach with your wisdom would be a true blessing.

    1. Thanks so much Debbie for that kind bit of encouragement. How amazing it would be to have a column in a magazine or a newspaper!!!

      And yes, Being awkward is part of being human. Laughing at ourselves is good for the soul.

      Thanks so much for reading (and commenting),