As a writer of a blog centered almost entirely on the words “smart, pretty, and awkward,” I spend an inordinate amount of time reflecting on those terms and what they mean. Almost everyday since December 2008 I have been classifying, dividing and thinking of tips that fall into the following categories: How to be Smarter, How to be Prettier, and How to be (less) Awkward.
Yet despite the fact that I often drink from a coffee cup scripted with the Smart Pretty and Awkward logo, type the web address into my browser at least 4 times a day, and am always writing little notes in my Blackberry about ideas for smart, pretty, or awkward tips, I rarely consider what these words actually mean to me.
What does it mean to be Smart? To be Pretty? To be Awkward? Why do those words speak to many different girls in a way other terms do not? Would my blog be more successful if it was called Clever, Hot and Un-Cool?
To Be Smart
Growing up, I was raised with the belief that it is important to come off as intelligent to others – to classmates, friends, boys, family members, co-workers. Without intelligence, it is hard to stay in the race. But being smart isn’t about straight A’s or about re-reading the classics each year. It’s about keeping your eyes and ears open for ways to improve yourself. The goal is to keep your life growing bigger as you get older, not shrinking smaller. Because I work hard at improving myself, I like to think that no one is going to pull a fast one over on me—not a landlord, not a co-worker, not a significant other. The side effect of believing you are smart is feeling powerful.
To Be Pretty
I also think it’s important to put time into deciding how you will present yourself. Looking back, there were some styles I wore that may have been ill-advised, but they were never just thrown together. I put a lot of effort into deconstructing clothes and turning jean waistbands into chokers. I might not wear those looks now, but I have never been sloppy in choosing what to wear. I acknowledge that people do judge you on the clothes and accessories you wear, but I try to also embrace the freedom of telling someone who I am without opening my mouth. The word pretty has a lot of connotations, but my favorite is: Not sloppy.
To Be Awkward
And, finally, to me, Miss Molly Ford, being (less) awkward means understanding social rules and how to bend them to fit into your own life, as well as embracing your quirks. Essentially, it’s about laughing hysterically at all the ways you occasionally fail at being smart and pretty. If you’re the first to laugh at yourself, you’re the last one to lose anything by making a mistake. Self-depreciating humor is my favorite; if someone can make a joke about themselves, I want to be their friend. I try to be smart and pretty, but when I fail, and start bumbling around gawkily, it’s okay. Being a little awkward, or slightly geeky, or totally dorky is endearing to the type of people I want to have in my life anyways.
…And one last thought…
To Be You
What do these words mean to you?
–By Molly of Smart, Pretty, and Awkward
[Photos via Audrey Hepburn Complex]