Prom time!

Not for me of course, but for all of the high schoolers.   So of course I can’t help but go back to my own prom moments.

None of which I have/had.

It’s no secret that I am not a girly girl.   Do not misinterpret that to mean I am not feminine.  I just did not find my femininity in make up, hair do’s and dresses.   I found it in other ways.   Nurturing my children.   Creating and maintaining a home.   Growing in to a strong, and stronger, woman.   We all get there via different paths.   Mine just did not include some of the things associated with girlhood.

In high school I was not very confident in who I was.  I was totally clueless to who I was.   It took many years to find out.   And my senior year in school was not the place or time for me to know who I was or what I wanted.   But I remember what I was scared of.   And it culminated in my fear of the prom.

I had no dreams of being asked to the prom.   Or dreams of being at the prom.   I knew no one was going to ask me.   This isn’t something to be sad about.   I wasn’t.   I remember feeling sad because I didn’t feel like everyone else.   Or I should probably say I didn’t feel like I thought everyone else felt.  I didn’t want to wear a dress and have to dance.   Dance ?  That vision never even crossed my thoughts let alone dreams.   I didn’t want to have to be uncomfortable.  I didn’t want to want someone to ask me out.   I felt like a stranger within my own world.  If someone asked me to go I wouldn’t have been able to say no, if someone asked me out I wouldn’t have known what comes next.    I was scared someone would ask me.   I was scared no one wanted to ask me.  I convinced myself no one asked because someone, like me, didn’t know how to fit in to this little part of a world that felt so foreign to him, like me.

I remember a teacher, one of the nuns, coming in to my math class.   She was giving advice.  I don’t remember which nun she was but I loved her message.  She told us that people should be going to the prom as a class.  Boys, ask the girls who have gone to school with you for years.   Make it a night of fun with friends.   Have a good time.  It does not have to be about romance.   It should be about having a good time with people you may never see again, but will want to remember.

If someone had turned to me at that moment and said “Colleen let’s go together and have fun” I may have been agreeable.   Her message was very open and heart felt.   She knew what was coming for us.   She knew what the night should be about.

I suspect she was right.

But I didn’t go.

I don’t regret it.   That’s not to say I don’t think about it.   But I know I would have been the proverbial fish out of water.   If I had gone I would have been self conscience about the dress and me in it.  Not to mention I would have had to ask my parents or someone to help me buy a dress, do hair, do makeup.    I would have had to speak out loud to someone about things I was not comfortable thinking about, let alone doing.   It was just too much for me.   It was too much of something that I wasn’t that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it.

My daughters went to prom.   My daughters went to every prom there was, every formal they ever  had in the school.   Which by the way….I think there are way too many.   It’s high school.   Sorry, digression.   But they were comfortable with that part of school, that part of life.    I was secretly very proud of them for going to the prom.   Because I think I felt they were braver than me, for being able to go.

I went to graduation, and the after party.   The all night party.  I had a great time.  I celebrated with my school mates.   And I remember those days fondly.   I remember my school mates very fondly.

I don’t regret not going to the prom.   I don’t feel I missed anything.   I didn’t have a bad experience that ended in a promless high school experience.    It really just comes down to I don’t like dresses, or make up, or dancing.

Proms are great.   I love them now.

I don’t have to fear them now.