Dear Prom Date… I’m Sorry

Now that it has been almost 4 years since my senior prom and high school graduation (cue the anxiety attack), I have found myself reflecting often on events that have happened almost 4 years ago. One in particular stands out in my mind, senior prom.

Let me explain a little about myself first. I was by no means a popular girl in high school. I was a drop out cheerleader who opted to do the less competitive and less strict football cheer leading, which was not highly respected by the team I just left. The one thing I still believe today is that because I was once a cheerleader people didn’t hate on me but rather let me float by. And that’s what I did. I was a floater. I didn’t stick to one crowd. I had some friends that remained but every year was a different scene. I didn’t go out to crazy parties, hook up or do questionable things. I was just average, a wall flower that just got by.

I always feared senior year for a lot of the above reasons I just mentioned. Boys weren’t really on my radar. Joe Jonas was though. (I’m cringing now) I was still stuck in some child hood world where responsibilities didn’t exist. I didn’t really know what it was like to be a high schooler, I was just entering the world 5 days a week. Somehow I managed to get by with very little embarrassments or harassments, and to be honest I’m still shocked because life decided to hit me with the awkward looking stage when I got to high school and lingered up until  senior year.

So when senior year came around and some of my close friends had boyfriends and it seemed like everyone was pairing up for prom, I felt like the kid that no one wanted to pick at gym. It wasn’t because I wasn’t pretty enough or good enough ( I know that now), it was because no one could notice me when all I liked to do was hide. I didn’t talk to boys in high school, very few even knew who I was. I found most of them repulsive. And to quote my favorite movie character of all time Cher Horowitz “They’re like dogs. You have to clean them and feed them and they’re just like these nervous creatures that jump and slobber all over you.” She continues with that it’s a personal choice that every woman has to make for herself and I definitely made that choice.

I guess you can say I wasn’t too confident in myself and loathed my appearance. I didn’t like going to the gym but I wasn’t fat. I didn’t wear makeup or really own any makeup, but I wasn’t ugly. I guess I just didn’t want the world to see me until I was ready to be seen.

However, when I started my senior year, I gradually became a different person. Someone that I didn’t all together recognize. I was transforming and growing my own wings to fly on my own. I started to gain confidence in myself and my appearance wasn’t so harsh, except for the fact that I was the most I ever or have ever weighed in my life, I still was slowly trying to find out who I was. My room didn’t seem so entertaining anymore and I started going out, hanging with some old friends and meeting new people and creating lots of lasting memories.

So when it came down to the wire on getting a date for prom, I was still lost. I actually wanted to go with an old friend who repeatedly turned me down and then got a girlfriend, really put a stint in my personal growth. I didn’t know where to even begin. I was a 17-year-old girl who never went on a date and rarely ever talked to boys her own age. My friends tried to find people for me but their prospects were the bottom of the barrel. Then I had a thought, (*Changed the names for anonymity) what about Mac. Mac wasn’t a bad guy. He was  by no means popular and sometimes the butt of people’s jokes, (sometimes my own) but he wasn’t ugly or too much of a nerd or smelt bad or seemed way off. He was just average like me and I didn’t hear much about him having a date. I had talked to him junior year because we shared a few classes that required group work. He seemed like the kind of guy that you could just pick up a conversation with and that continued into senior year when we had another class together and decided to face some of the awkwardness together.

To be honest he was always somewhat of a last resort. If all else failed and I was never asked then I had to swallow my pride and ask him myself. It was about 2 days before the deposit was due for the prom and I had nothing going for me. I cried and I cried but ultimately I felt myself giving up and that’s a feeling that I am never okay feeling. I had only one choice left and I had nothing left to lose. When I got to school that morning I stalked him out and he happened to pass by me and said hello. I took advantage of the situation quick and asked him straight out: “Are you going to prom?” I felt completely out of my element. He said something about money but I was too nervous to hear much else because my heart was beating into my eardrums, until I spit it out: “Do you want to go to prom?” His face couldn’t have gotten anymore Irish red and his smile was the brightest I’ve ever seen. He was on cloud nine for the rest of the day and it made me feel good to make someone feel great but I was the one that wasn’t satisfied. Of course I was settling and when desperate times called for desperate measures, I took what I could get.

We talked a lot after that. Through text and some strange reason through email, (this kid wrote novels with every reply) and with every conversation things got easier and then they got worse. He started to become too attached, he would write me pages of emails that outlined more about his life then I ever needed to know. I started to become embarrassed by my choice and didn’t want anyone to know. Besides that, I started to like this boy and even though it was hard to tell what my feelings were, we wanted to go to prom together but we both had other dates. (GREAT TIMING, LIFE)

Now for the main reason this post is truly being written: I want to apologize for the second time to Mac, my prom date. Who I probably emotionally scarred for life.

Dear Mac,

I know I have already written you an apology 3 years ago, but I want you to know that what I did to you and how I handled prom still remains a constant reminder in my life. Guilt is not something I know how to deal with and to this day I still feel pain in my heart when I think about the moments that I completely ignored you or ran away from you and tried to hide. It seems so foolish now but at that moment, I just wanted to be free. I found something in myself that night that I didn’t know I had in me, confidence and a spark that finally ignited. I know then you deserved so much more than that. You looked so handsome that night and I wish I could have appreciated it but I didn’t because I wasn’t mature enough and I was too scared to become vulnerable and to see myself with a guy, which is something that I NEVER done before. But because of that night, I became the girl I always wanted to be. Someone who didn’t let her circumstances get in the way of what she wanted, the girl who was spontaneous, outgoing and willing to take risks.
But I’m truly sorry. I can still see your face in all it’s sorrow and rejection. I can still remember how it felt to ride in the limo with the look on your face as if you couldn’t be anymore mad or upset and I’m sorry that I didn’t care because if I was you I don’t think I would have made it one hour without bursting into tears.
Even though for a long while after senior prom I didn’t regret the things I did, I do regret them now. In some ways I have to because they were wrong and hurtful and that’s not me. I could have been who I wanted to be without burning a really good guy.
I wanted to be with the guy I liked and even though things with him did in no way turn out the way I wanted or expected, without that night happening the way it did, I would not be where I am today and I am very happy in some ways with how my today looks. Because if I didn’t find myself that night, I would be a very dark and depressed girl who would be still hiding. I became alive that night and I can’t feel sorry for that. Just know that you gave me more than I could ever repay you for, being my prom date, you gave me myself.

Sincerely your remorseful prom date,

Cheryl