disclaimer: There is no moral to this story. No happy ending. That’s okay because like most things in life, I’m just trying to figure things out. I wrote this because I needed to process what happened. I’m not angry at anyone or my school. Also, this is an all over the place piece. Sorry not sorry?

It was my fault, really, going into it with unrealistically high expectations. The prep was fun, I’ll give it that. Getting ready and putting on a dress that I love dearly. Blow drying my hair to a crisp. Wearing my mom’s earrings and a glossy coat of cherry on my lips. Tugging on my Docs and heading out the door. Waiting in the hotel lobby for photos. Getting looked at by strangers and watching smiles creep on their faces as they think of when they were in high school. Seeing my friends all dressed up as we took photos. The car ride was even fun.

I walked in those doors and my anxiety started creeping up my stomach and coating my throat in a sticky poison. The theme was 007 James Bond and blacks, reds, and golds lined the rooms in different combinations. It was the beginning of the night, so people were still under a haze of awkwardness. Empty compliments lingered in everyone’s mouths and the eyes of hormone driven boys glazed over at the sight of a few inches of skin on the girls.

My friends didn’t really want to dance and I was too focused on the boy across the room. I wish I could tell you that there were butterflies in my stomach and my cheeks flushed. The feeling was more like a sickening nausea with a series of heart palpitations to throw in the mix. My hands began to shake. I could detail what he did to me, but that’s boring and there is a slight chance that he will read this. What’s up, jerk? How does it feel to be in my blog… being played by me? In reality, he’s not worth my time.

Sure he was a factor in making my night awful, but I’d never give someone the power to ruin my night completely so on to the other reasons.

I escaped to the bathrooms during slow dances and went on my phone while sitting in a stall trying to catch my breath. There’s more pressure in high school to date than I think people realize. Mostly it’s not even knowingly perpetuated. But you slowly start to notice that the majority of people around you are dating someone. It gets lonely, sure, but I tried to chill out in the bathroom stall and convince myself that if I could get through a three minute crappy pop song about love, I’d be okay.

I abandoned the small, champagne like glasses for a larger cup and downed as much Coca Cola as physically possible. Caffeine usually helps me calm down (how ironic) and the caffeine dulls my migraines. I danced a little with a group of boys who spent the entire time turning strobe lights on their phones and putting them in each other’s eyes. One of them randomly ordered pizza which was pretty rad. I had fun with them, making fun of the music and how horribly our eyes hurt due to the flashlights.

There was a moment I will always remember, closely following the dancing with them. I returned to my normal group of friends and I was facing the back of the gymnasium. The door was open and things went quiet in my brain, which rarely happens. I saw things. The couples were together and everyone was happy and smiling and touching. People you never see talking to each other during the normal school weeks were suddenly best friends. They swayed to music that had no meaning. Smiles were pasted on everyone’s faces. I felt very alone in that moment, surrounded by happy people. I didn’t feel the way they were showing me they felt. I got really sad. That’s just plain fact.

I escaped outside and paced the lines that separated the cement sidewalk blocks. A panic attack struck me out there in the pleasantly cold darkness. The cold snuck into the fibers of my dress and chilled my flaming skin. I called my mom and tried to steady my quaking body.

We went to IHOP after the dance, which is usually the highlight of every dance. I leaned my head against the window and tried to live in the moment like all the songs told me to, but the moment didn’t seem like something I wanted to live in.

And my hash browns weren’t nearly as good as they usually are.

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