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awk·ward (ôk′wərd, ˈɔːkwəd)

1. lacking skill, proficiency or dexterity; clumsy
2. inelegant, lacking grace or ease, as in movement or posture
3. embarrassed; lacking social grace or manners
4. embarrassing or inconvenient; lacking social grace or manners
5. difficult to use; ill-adapted for ease of use or handling
6. requiring caution; somewhat hazardous; dangerous
7. hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill or tact


What’s the best translation for awkward?

I don’t know.

I don’t know if it also happens to you, but lately, when people ask me how I am doing, I have some difficulty answering. I usually answer that I’m fine, because… well, I am. But I’m not just fine. Sometimes I’m not even fine, but I’m not bad either. How do you describe what you feel when not even you know what you feel?

I don’t know.

Few words make me so delighted as “awkward” does. As hard as I try, I can only think of another one that is also so “itself”, so coherent, so genuine. And it’s this one. It is as if form, sense and meaning were fully aligned in harmony. At the same time, as hard as I search, I cannot find any other word that is so deliciously unsettling. “Awkward” hurts the eye when we read it, brings a sweet discomfort to the speech, incites oddness to our being. Yet, we could not live without it: how could we describe the things that, for their weirdness, become indescribable?

I don’t know. Awkward is awkward.

And, in the midst of it all, we can’t even manage to get it a proper definition. Let alone a translation to Portuguese. I chose esquisito, but I could have chosen any other that it would still feel incomplete.

It is okay that in times like these you feel this way: awkward. You will not always be able to describe the strangeness of what you feel. You won’t always understand why you feel that way. But when that happens, listen to yourself. And learn to read what’s inside awkward.

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