Friday, May 10, 2019

High School Prom | What was it like?

Walter, Alex, Matt and I at prom.

     Prom.  The day that every girl has been taught to anticipate since the beginning of their school career.  An occasion that is always accompanied by a crazy story, and portrayed as a fairy tale in every movie.  As a young child with my eyes glued to every Disney Channel Original Movie, I always fantasized about my own prom.  Dancing in the dim colored lighting with your eyes interlocked with your crush that miraculously ended up dancing with you, appealed quite greatly to my young mind.  Though as I grew older and so did the people around me, prom started to hold a different meaning.  It still held the overall goal of having the best date or being the cutest couple, but different and less fiction like scenarios hid within the romantic shell.  Prom eventually became the social status competition, the battle of the cliques, and the warning of inevitable tragedy.  With these two contradicting themes in my head, I wasn't sure what to think when my boyfriend asked me to his senior prom.  I was eager but nervous, but after some thought, I decided we would make this prom our own.  A good time with no strings attached. 

     I actually never thought I would go to prom.  After becoming home schooled in the 8th grade and becoming evermore isolated, I never saw myself being asked to prom.  I spent a lot of time alone, and didn't have a lot of friends.  Things actually stayed that way until recently, which is what led to me having this opportunity.  Very late last year, I began to see my now boyfriend.  He is a senior in high school, and I suppose I never put too much thought into it as I was surprised when he asked me to prom.  I may have been surprised, but I was also prepared.  I actually already had a prom dress, and it had been sitting in my closet for over a year.  Let's rewind to how I came to own this lonely dress.

     In my previous relationship that I spent two years in, he was also a senior in high school.  He asked me to his senior prom, and again, I was nervous but thrilled.  So, I went on a wild goose chase for the perfect dress, as this was going to be my one shot at prom.  The way I hunted for a dress, I could have become an employee for the FBI, or if I'm lucky, Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Finally, after weeks of fruitless hunting, at a place appropriately named "The Prom Store", I found the dress of my dreams.  I've always had a more old fashioned taste in gowns, and this one was a great example of my taste.  No glam, no bling, just class.  I loved it, and still do!  Also lucky for me, it was on sale, and the only one there,  It was like it was made for me.  The dress is a long, elegant, powder blue dream.  I was ecstatic.  Unfortunately, after my purchase, I was informed that home schooled children were not allowed at the prom held by this particular school.  Needless to say, I was devastated.  I had no prom to attend, and I was stuck with this dress that I had no use for.

     Okay, back to present day.  I hadn't looked at the dress in quite some time, but after being asked to this prom, I decided to give it a look.  After knocking the dust off and unzipping the case, I still loved it just the same.  I was so eager to finally get the chance to wear it out.   I tried not to get my hopes up too much, just in case I got some late term bad news like last time.  Though as the prom crept closer and preparations were still being made, I knew it was safe to look forward to the event.  I found my shoes, (flats because I am terribly clumsy) shawl, and hairstyle.  I actually didn't wear jewelry to the prom, as I wanted the dress and myself to be what people noticed, if anything.  I was very happy with this decision,  even though it isn't a common one.  I felt more confident in my natural beauty without all the material enhancements. 

     My boyfriend and I took a handful of trips to St. Louis (the biggest city around) to have a suit made for him.  I send a special thank you to his mother for making that possible.  He gave me almost all creative freedom with the suit, and it actually turned out great.  It was a classy, elegant suit with a powder blue neck tie perfectly matched to my dress.  The outfits looked wonderful together and apart.

     Before I knew it, the day of the prom rolled around.  Regardless of having everything perfectly in check, I still felt rather discombobulated.  I always dreamt of coming down the grand staircase to reveal my look to my date, but it occurred to me that I live in a one-story farm house and someone had to help me tie the dress while my father was away for work.  Nonetheless, when I looked in the mirror, I felt everything I hoped that I would.  With our outfits and smiles on, we were on our way.  We were blessed to have our dear friend Emily take our prom photos, and they came out amazing. (Thank you Emily!) She gave me the option to take the photos wherever I wanted, so we went to my favorite local sites.  I really couldn't be happier with the turnout, she is a wonderful photographer and completely captured my vision for the photos.

     It was raining something terrible upon arriving to the prom, but in the excitement of the dawning evening, it didn't seem to matter.  The venue was lovely, I was so glad to hear the prom was being held there.  Upon entry, the decor of the Roaring 20's theme struck me.  The classic color palette and style instantly put a smile on my old fashioned face.  There were streamers in the entrance, and balloons littering the floor.  There was a buffet of food, that was so fancily crafted I almost couldn't stand to eat it.  It was such a well crafted event that did not disappoint.

    Me being my shy self, I was a bit nervous.  Being a teenage girl at the prom can be strenuous within itself.  This is a time in every woman's life where you become so vulnerable to the social standards of what beauty is "supposed" to be.  (Which is ever changing!)  For a short while, I sat at my table and just observed all the other young women flowing on and off of the dance floor.  I mainly took in the women who had no similarities to myself.  I assessed the different body types, the smaller frames.  I noticed the bigger hair and flashier gowns.  Though it wasn't long before I also began to notice the women with similar body types and features to mine.  I thought to myself how lovely these women looked, and by the same logic, I must look lovely too.  Of course this is easier said than done, but I knew after all the time I spent primping myself, there had to be some truth to it. Therefore, I took the inspiration and shook the insecurity.  

     I have always been shy and skittish.  I have never been outgoing.  I was always afraid to speak up, or sometimes even get up.  Though as time went by and I spent the prior few months with the right crowd of people, I became less cowardly.  Not by much, but enough for me to notice and feel good about.  Somehow, I ended up on the dance floor, singing and dancing the night away.  Maybe not as vibrantly as the others in my group, but off the wall crazy for me.  I don't regret a thing, and spent the night singing and laughing with great people.  I forgot all about social status, cliques, beauty standards, and expectations.  I paid no mind to what prom night was "supposed" to be, and put everything into what it was meant to be.  

     You don't have to treat prom the way others do.  Being the most adored girl in room has nothing to do with a flashy dress, big hair, or artificially tanned skin.  What makes you that girl is what you bring to the table.  Bring your laugh, bring your smile, and bring your spirit.  Prom is a day to treat yourself, not to change yourself.  Forget any negative eyes you feel like you have on you, and let your cares go for the night.  Prom truly can be one of the most magical nights of your life, but not for the reasons we are taught.  Prom isn't about the drinking or the after party.  Prom isn't a beauty pageant, but making yourself feel beautiful.  Prom isn't about having the socially perfect date, but loving who you're with.  Prom isn't about a perfectly executed itinerary, but having fun when you want, how you want.  I wouldn't trade scream singing John Denver for photo booth pictures any day.  I wouldn't trade these people for anyone.  I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.  This was my prom fairy tale, and what I learned from it.  I hope you can take something from this and have found some inspiration for your prom, or even your life!

With love, Jennie 




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