I have never been to a house party. God willing, I’ll never go to one in my life, but in some ways, I see the appeal. It’s a camaraderie I wish I was extroverted enough to have, but would never actually want. I consider myself an introvert as much as the next introvert, and that’s saying something. I hate to agree with people. It means human interaction. But, here’s the thing: no one in my high school liked an introvert. No one in the family liked an introvert. My friends weren’t introverts. I was totally and completely socially awkward, and everyone hated it. If only the new movement of socially awkward teenagers had been around when I was painfully chugging my way through High School, I might have had a higher GPA.
In 2015, Alessia Cara released the bop-to-the-top (see what I did there: never say I'm not funny) of the charts hit single, “Here.” Cara, from Canada and a teenager herself, sings of “clouds of marijuana” and not being able to “handle what’s in his cup” if you catch her drift. It’s a generational song, which means that it’s doing well, will continue to do well, flop out and then end up in a Buzzfeed list months down the line. I’m sure the list will be titled: “Thirteen Songs For The Introverts Who Don’t Care” or something click-bait like that.
It’s because a lot of teenagers these days are totally introverts and have something to relate to. I can’t even call myself an adult out loud most of the time, but it’s such a foreign thought to be accepted as socially awkward, I feel about fifty. Try as I might, I can’t not get behind the idea of young, awkward teens getting music to relate to like this. “Here” may end up in a Buzzfeed list, but it’s a highlight in an evolving idea that some teenagers don’t like partying, being in large crowds, talking to people in an annoyingly long conversation and sometimes need a break when family gatherings become too much. “Here” accurately puts into words why the idea of a party is so unappealing to certain people that some extroverts were like “Dude, I totally get it.” When they really, really didn't.
There's so much more to the idea of socially awkward than what's on the surface. The medical term is known as "social anxiety" (for the extreme cases), and it is a very debilitating thing to live with. Trust me. It flares up in the most awful times, which for me, is all the time. It rises up like a wave and then drowns me in it. Things like ordering from the drive thru and asking for extra lettuce on a sandwich can cause me so much stress and anxiety that it's just easier to not ask for it. Working a retail job was a nightmare, not only because of constant interaction, but with social anxiety there usually comes the feeling of needing to please. It's almost not worth even having a job, but even those who suffer sometimes just have to deal with it.
I'm never here for the idea of trivializing any disease, but I can only hope that this new found "awkward" movement stage can push us in the right direction. I'm holding out hope that the acceptance of young teens who are suffering at any level will allow for a more supportive environment for teens who are also dealing with depression.
There’s a positive waiting within the movement: a time where socially awkward kids won’t be generalized. Alessia Cara has made her stake in the movement without being artificial about it, while sticking the idea into those who need it: You’re not different, but you’re still cool.