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Prom Time Machine Vortex

June 4. 2010

It’s astounding how silently time can slip by when you aren’t paying attention.

I don’t know if I can adequately verbalize the shocking sensation of looking at the calendar and realizing that five years have passed since my high school prom.

It’s not so much the event itself, but all that the event represents in my memory – who I was then, who I was with, where I thought I was heading.

This girl, she is no stranger to me, but I, the future incarnation, am a stranger to her.  Here, in this picture, she sees someone else in my place, five years down the road.

I want to hold her hand.  I want to hug her – because she has no idea what’s coming.  I look so young. Sometimes this girl, doesn’t seem like me.  I often refer to her as “my other life.”  Maybe in an alternate universe, there is a me who more closely resembles the person I thought I would be by now.

But here’s the secret: I’m happy  that I didn’t become that person.

At my senior prom (which, by the way, was magical, epic, just like a perfect ending to a movie), I was absolutely certain I thought I knew who I was going to grow up to become.  I was going to be an opera singer.  I was going to marry the boy I went to two proms with.  I was going to graduate college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance in four years or lessand go on to achieve a Master’s Degree and then hopefully enter the prestigious Julliard School of Opera, and go on to dominate every stage, and bring opera back to popular prominence (yes, singlehandedly).

I could not know that, within a few short months, I would decidedly abandon my operatic aspirations while simultaneously becoming sucked into the dark vortex that would be my life for the next several years.  I could not know that I would lose all sense of myself, lose my voice (to me, like losing a limb), lose all direction and hope.

I also could not know how strong I could be, how resilient.  I never envisioned a life where music was not absolutely central, and I never envisioned a life where my dependent trust on the people in my life would be brutally shattered.  I would not know, that in a fit of bitter rage, I would delete from my hard drive nearly every drop of evidence of this night in an attempt to erase the person who had hurt me the most from my memory (an act that, as I write this, I vaguely regret).  But had these things never happened, I would have never have been able to grow, I would have never have been able to explore the world and humanity the way I have been lucky to.  I cannot say with any certainty where I would be right now, had I clung to music, but I see my friends struggling and breaking themselves to try to gain a foothold in a cruel and damaging industry, and without a doubt I know that I made the right choice, even though it felt like dying at the time.

I still don’t know exactly where I’m going.  I can see a blurry shape of where I might be headed, but there is no definition, no clarity.  I used to be terrified by this, but now I understand that what I cannot see is not because it isn’t there, it is just because I am too far to see it yet.  I know that I will get there.  I know that once I get there, there will be another far-off vision that I will strain to see.  Thus is my life – all life, really.

I have no idea where I will be in five years.  That woman, the 27-year-old future me, is a mystery, a stranger, but one day I will know her, and the best I can hope is that I love her, dearly, as I have learned to love myself over the past five years.

Looking back, has your life unfolded the way you had expected? Yes, darlings, I realize this is a bit of a loaded question for a lovely Friday in June but I really am interested!

And of course, for a bit of fun, did you go to prom or a senior ball or whatever in high school? If so, what was it like? What did you wear? Who did you go with? How long ago was it?  If not, tell me!

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4. 2010 8.23 am

    I didn’t go to my high school leavers night, and I didn’t go to my University grad ball. I don’t regret it.

    I don’t think anyone’s life unfolds the way they expect but then I never had many expectations, I have always liked to take life as it comes :)

  2. June 4. 2010 9.07 am

    My life definitely isn’t unfolding the way I’d thought it would. But you know that expression… man plans, G-d laughs? Yeah, it’s true.

    Seeing that I went to an all-girls’ school, I suppose I can take a pass on that second question! ;)

    Shabbat Shalom :)
    <3 <3

    • June 4. 2010 9.44 am

      I think that expression pretty much has defined the past 5 years.
      Shabbat Shalom!!

  3. Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies permalink
    June 4. 2010 9.25 am

    This post is absolutely amazing – amazing insights…truly. My life has definitely not unfolded the way I saw it – but I KNOW that I am happier now for it…because the life I envisioned then…was only because that was what I knew, and now…I know so much more. My life post high-school has not been textbook…but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s cheesy but I always go with the line from the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” : “Two roads diverged in a woof and I…I took the one less traveled-by … and that has made all the difference”

    • June 4. 2010 9.43 am

      I often think about that line too … It really is a beautiful and honest poem.

  4. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) permalink
    June 4. 2010 10.43 am

    beautifully written post. You are amazing- it honestly almost brought me to tears. Isn’t it weird to look back on things like that and realize how much time has gone by, and how much we’ve changed? It can really freak me out. Life never goes as expected- honestly, 5 years ago i would have thought it was a huge prank if someone told me i would have had to change schools my senior year & that i’d now be at wisconsin studying psychology- but i’m happy, so something went right!
    you’re beautiful :]

    xoxoxo
    shelley

    http://findinghappinessandhealth.wordpress.com

  5. June 4. 2010 11.18 am

    amazing post!!

    my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought at all. I wanted to be a nurse, that dream never came through (thank goodness, as I wouldn’t have been happy) and It hought i would have been married by now with all my babies over and done with. Living a happy little white picket fence life.

    but I am HAPPY… I am marrying the love of my life (1 month before my 31st birthday) and am going back to school in September for a stepping stone career (on my way to becoming a youth counselor) in between stepping stone we are hoping to have babies soon too!!

    So glad life didn’t turn out as planned, I love the unknown adventure!!

  6. June 4. 2010 12.41 pm

    You look gorgeous in these pics.

    It’s so hard to make a decision like yours! But I’m glad that you are happy with it. You are so young and have so much ahead of you, look forward with no regrets!

    I regret a lot in my life, I wish I’d followed a different career path. But I have so much more than so many people that I feel guilty regretting anything at all! I am working on being more grateful.

  7. June 4. 2010 12.49 pm

    Gosh girl, this post is so powerful. I love it.

    I am 100% not who I thought I would be 5 years ago. In a lot of ways, I’ve let myself down. I let a lot of bad things rule my life instead of rising above them. But I’ve also made it through those things and I’m here today trying to be happy and find my way, which is a success in and of itself!

    P.S. Loved your dress :)

    • June 6. 2010 12.16 am

      I loved my dress too!! I still do, I’m waiting for the perfect event to wear it again.

  8. June 4. 2010 12.56 pm

    Great post! My life is definitely not as I thought it would be when I was leaving college. Things have gone wrong, taken a different path or just haven’t happened yet but they have all resulted in me being here, with the people I care about, doing what I do, and I am happy! So when I look back on the things that didn’t happen the way I wanted them to I’m glad that they went that way or I wouldn’t be where I am today, or quite the same person x

  9. June 4. 2010 3.24 pm

    When you told me about giving up on singing and changing paths, I had no idea the extent of it! Amazingly written post. Definitely hit home for me.

    I didn’t know before, but I definitely do know now that life brings a lot of surprises and you truly can’t plan everything. Would I have believed five years ago that me, a shy girl from Winnipeg, would be living in NYC and studying organic chemistry in pursuit of a masters of science in nutrition. Um..no way!

    And yes, I did go to my high school prom. I wore a huge poofy, sparkly, incredibly over the top red gown (UG-LY). But I had a great time :)

  10. June 4. 2010 6.26 pm

    you, my love, are such a great writer! i love reading your posts — especially this one.

    your story reminds me of my own. my life ended up on a completely different path, too, one i never, ever, EVER thought i’d be walking on. it’s crazy to look back on photographs of a younger with the knowledge you have now, isn’t it? sometimes i just want to reach into the picture and shake myself. but we go through the things we go through to learn, right?

    anywho, my prom sucked. we waited in line for pictures for about an hour and a half (we kept getting cut and the photographers took FOREVER!) and only danced for less then an hour. but in that hour the dj managed to replay about three songs. obviously he won the “best dj of the year” award. after prom was more fun :)

  11. June 4. 2010 8.59 pm

    I love looking at old pictures and seeing how far people have come- you were beautiful then, but your confidence now makes you even more so. Funny how you brought up deleting everything on your computer- I did the same thing with my ex, and now that we’re friends, I regret it. I hated him at the time, but if we had never broken up, I never would be in the wonderful place I am now :) Amazing post, thank you for reminding me that I don’t always need to know where I’m going in order to know that I can be happy!!

  12. June 5. 2010 7.03 am

    i often thought i knew exactly who i was goign to be, when i would get married, get my degree, etc.. but life throws us curve balls and i’m grateful for the journey ive found myself on… onlyh makes us stronger.

    you are stunning. and a rock star– of cours <3

  13. June 5. 2010 10.28 am

    I went to Junior and Senior prom, the former with a date (my first boyfriend who broke up with me for the typical highschool boy reasons) and the latter with my best girl-friend. She and I had SO much more fun! We went out to get coffee before hand, got lost on the way, and watched movies and ate ice cream after. Now, I am almost 21, in a (fabulous) relationship with someone ~14 years my senior and working at the family business and traveling whenever and where ever I can-and I love it.

    Enjoy your day!

    • June 6. 2010 12.15 am

      I love the story about your senior prom!! Even at the time I kind of wished my best friend and I were going as dates instead of me and my (ex)boyfriend…haha what does that say about the relationship!?

  14. June 5. 2010 3.04 pm

    I always get a little sad when I reminisce about the past…but I guess I am happy at the same time because my past has shaped the person I am. It has made me stronger.
    I never went to prom because I didn’t have one. I went to a small private school that didn’t bother with proms.
    When I think about who I was in high school, I know that that girl would not recognize me. I am not where I intended to be by now. I had a lot of goals and aspirations that changed as I got older, or that simply never happened because of circumstances or choices I made. That is just the way life is. Things rarely work out the way you plan. But if you are really lucky, sometimes they turn out even better.
    I’m happy that you have learned to love yourself. You are a beautiful person, and in 5 years, you will have grown and changed, but you will still be that same beautiful person underneath it all.

  15. June 5. 2010 6.51 pm

    I only went to junior prom (skipped senior) so I guess it’s been five years for me too. (Actually I would’ve gone to senior prom, but then the boy I liked asked my freshman hottie sister and even though she didn’t go I was like “Yeah… I’m over this”). I didn’t know what I wanted then and I don’t know what I want now. But I would say I had unrealistically high expectations for college.

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