Senior prom. Every girl dreams about it, and most spend the rest of their lives recovering from the nightmare. So there I was, in my huge flower print dress looking somewhat like the curtain in your mother’s bedroom, off to prom. I remember being in a goofy state of shock, anticipating what was supposed to be the most legendary event of my high school existence.
My dreams of prom were quickly diffused after dinner. I was so excited about the romantic possibilities the evening held that my stomach decided to stage a revolt under the pressure of butterflies. After a few waves of thinking “I’m gonna hurl…” I started to calm down. But then the worst possible thing happened.
Leaving the restaurant, awkwardly holding the arm of my cute date, I lost it. Right there in the hallway, all over our formals and all over the floor. My date, not really knowing what to do, attempted to try and clean up the mess, which proved to be even more embarrassing.
The nightmare continued. After haphazardly cleaning ourselves up, we continued to prom, and I was determined to still have a good time. However, I was fairly certain that any chance for romance got flushed down the toilet that night right along with my dinner and my pride. My nerves won the fight, and I spent the first hour at my one and only prom puking in the bathroom.
Oh, it gets worse. Thinking my date would understand and take me home, I pulled him off the dance floor and told him that I should probably call it a night. I can still hear his reply to this day, including the Depeche Mode song that served as the soundtrack for his comment. He said that he really wanted to stay and asked if I had anyone that could come and pick me up.
So my dad picked me up at the prom in our lovely, repellent custom van, and I cried all the way home. It was John Hughes, it was Rothko, it was power ballad – it was sad.
Flash forward to a year ago. I am broken and weary heading in for a few hours of rest from taking care of a best friend who has lost her newborn daughter. I am emotionally gone, distraught and confused. My friends cook dinner for me, and allow me to sit in silence and listen to their conversations, while my tears drip into my vegetables. After dinner they take me out to the garage for a few rounds of foozball, where I actually laugh and forget about things for a while. The medicine of living life in the raw with others heals me that night.
Flash forward to half a year ago. I am just not myself, not sleeping well, leaving the dishes in the sink for weeks, and slowly drowning in a blur of depression. Some close friends remedy my pain with the beautiful normalcy of life, and their simple presence. We sit and watch “24” on the couch just like always. Instead of trying to fix me, console me, clean me up, they let the mess simply be. And they stay with me.
Some of the most endearing, glorious times in life are birthed from sharing messy moments with those who are closest to you. There is something within the human spirit that aches to merely exist without the effort of looking as if one has it all together. Appearing strong when in reality you are a broken vessel is quite conceivably the most tiring and discouraging feat we could possibly attempt. There is a rare liberation that surfaces when we let our guard down in the midst of those who would never send us out the door to find our way home alone.