On My Decision to Avoid Senior Prom This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Burlington, VT

I suppose I do have the right to feel sorry for myself in some capacity. I never pictured myself sitting alone, peering through my kitchen window, observing a light breeze and sun rays flowing through the trees on the day of my senior prom. I figured I would be with my friends, concerned about how I look and hoping that I would have a grand time. However, the undeniable reality is that I am sitting here alone.
I’m caught between two feelings, two voices speaking to me in my head. One is telling me that this was my choice and that wallowing in self-pity simply isn’t justified. The other is reassuring me that, though avoiding prom indeed was my choice, I shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty, as this avoidance is actually the most triumphant act of self-love and protection that I’ve exhibited in months.
Simultaneously I feel a certain desire to shout from the rooftops my reasoning for removing myself completely from this absurd high school event and all its complexities. I want those unassuming parents, unknowing friends, and unfriendly acquaintances to know exactly why I feel avoiding the prom might keep me from regressing to the horrid state of existence that I have experienced for the past few months. However, I feel more strongly a desire to pretend that none of this is happening, and with that comes both a physical and verbal isolation.
I cannot complain about what I see when I look through my window, and I almost hope that more people will say “What a beautiful day for prom,” than “Where’s Jamal?” That being said, I feel more with each passing day that I can and should complain about what I see when I look back at the events that have transpired this year. Complain is here an inapt verb; I am beginning to accept my right to fully reflect on what has happened, my right to understand that it wasn’t my fault and that I did not deserve it. Doing so has been astoundingly difficult, but I truly believe that not going to prom is the best decision for me right now.
If everything had gone differently, I think I would be able to go prom. I wouldn’t feel like the ground opened up under me when I saw him. I would be able to handle his not looking in my direction, and his visible joy directed towards his exquisite date. I would be able to continue breathing while they slow danced, and I wouldn’t avoid the post-prom parties where I might see them kiss. But again, that’s simply not the reality of the situation, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of those things. I am still so hopelessly in love with him, and so disastrously confused about why his life seems undisturbed--even improved--by my turmoil and destruction that he so effortlessly crafted with his beautiful hands.
If anybody ever reads this, understand that my absence from senior prom photos and memories is nothing against the other people attending or the actual event itself. Though I do sometimes consider both to be awfully boring and general wastes of my time, this year I actually find myself longing to clean myself up and dance to unimaginative music with my peers. However, I have fully accepted that I can’t, and that only a handful of people will notice, while an even smaller handful will actually care. I have been defeated relentlessly in trying to combat the emotions that are excited by his presence, and I no longer wish to fight. He wins. I hope he enjoys prom.






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