Megan Hudson: Jumping on the Train to Awkwardtown: How Embracing My Personality Made Me a Better Social Worker

So here’s something that you guys should probably know about me: I’m awkward. Like, real awkward.

I’ve struggled with social situations for as long as I can remember. The earliest memory I have of making a fool of myself involves my 2nd grade crush screaming “I’ve got it! In P.E., me running to try to help him when I saw he in fact didn’t have it, crashing into him, getting pegged in the face with a kickball, and then saying “that’s okay buddy”, and trying to hug him.

It wasn’t pretty.

Another thing, I am sometimes perceived as “that weird girl”; Which isn’t wrong. I think a little differently than a lot of people. I see things differently than a lot of people. Because of this, I do things a little differently than a lot of people. Add that to my social awkwardness, and…yeah. I’m a little weird.

So, in typical Megan fashion, I chose social work as a career. You know, working with people.

When I began working in the field, I was incredibly anxious that my coworkers and clients would realize that I’m a bit of a weirdo. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to connect to people in the field, and would be ineffectual as a social worker. I worried that my way of thinking or doing things might be perceived as unprofessional by either coworkers or clients. I have such a passion for advocacy and social justice, and I refused to deliver subpar services. I vowed to hide the awkward.

Funnily enough, the awkward somehow shone through my front. Also, trying to cover up how awkward I am made me exponentially more awkward. I’m sure my first clients thought I was not genuine at all. I toned down trying to fake it as much, and things improved.

A few months ago I decided to try to really embrace who I am. I know that many people struggle with this self-acceptance, and I wanted to really give it a shot. Although it’s a work in progress, I feel like I’ve pretty much embraced my inner awkward weirdo, and here’s what I’ve learned: being yourself makes you a better social worker (shocker, I know). Since taking the plunge into the abundant waters of my quirkiness, my supervisors have commented on how much more comfortable I appear in my visits with clients. I’ve noticed that my visits are seemingly flying by. My clients are making progress. My clients and I laugh together during my visits.

Then the really big whopper hit.

My most resistant and difficult client began to engage with me during our visits. I’ve noticed that she’s implemented skills we’ve talked about together. She shows up for all of her visits. She has begun to succeed.

This is a really big deal, you guys. It has been a struggle. I don’t do well with confrontation, so when I have a client that doesn’t want to engage, it usually doesn’t end well. What’s even better is that I didn’t have to confront the client; I just started to really be myself in our visits (which has included literally walking into a wall in her house while animatedly talking to her. Awkward till the bitter end).

The moral of the story is to really, really embrace who you are, guys. (Even if who you are is a green haired girl who gets over excited and blurts out random words, falls down often, and dances relentlessly in her car to terrible music)

Until next time, folks.

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