Posted by: Chelsea Novak | January 14, 2003

The Prom and other thoughts evoked by viewing “Higher Ground”

I finally saw it. The Canadian show about a bunch of troubled teens attending a special highschool in the middle of the Rockies. M has been hooked on the show for many months now, and would tell me all about it when I would get home from teaching Monday nights. My schedule being what it is, I figured I’d never get to see it.

This morning, I saw it. A school full of lots of troubled, but very pretty, highschoolers pouting their way through the mountains. Jewel from Firefly was on it (playing a recovered Goth, no less), not looking as coiffed as usual, but still very cute (layers do very good things for her). Also looking cute was a nineteen-year-old Hayden Christensen. No cape, but still not hurting my eyes one little bit.

In this episode, HC’s character Scott had progressed to a point where he was ready to go home, so there were many tearful good-byes. I couldn’t help making comments like “Why be so sad. He’s leaving to become a Jedi.”

Anyway, it was also an episode about the prom. To preface the following, I’m in a pretty sulky mood today. The weather is grey, my sleeping schedule is out of wack thanks to a bout of insomnia on Sunday night, and I’m dieting so I can’t just eat my way out of feeling glum. Throughout my life it’s been very true that if I’m upset or sad, it can all be solved by feeding me and putting me to bed. Tired + Hungry = Sulky. Food + Rest = Happy.

I also have a nasty habit of picking my lower moments to get down on myself. Like last night as I was falling asleep I said to myself “You’re so full of it. You talk so much crap all the time, sound so convincing and then you pull a 180 and claim your right to change.” Kind of like that line in Tori’s “Taxi Ride”: “Sure you talk the talk when you need to. I fear the whole world is starting to believe you.” Why am I full of it? This very fall I had a long conversation with Mike about my nature and why I was reluctant to go home and “settle” as I put it. I sounded so sure of myself. so sure that I wanted the roaming life, a life full of living in new places and all the adventures that come with it. Now, a matter of mere months later, I find myself wanting to buy a home and nest. To have all my belongings in one place and paint the walls of that place blue. Pulling a switcheroo like that on my goals does not really fit in with the ideal individual I strive to be. The flighty are rarely great.

Wow, lots of preamble for a rant about the prom, no? In Canada we don’t call them proms, or at least not in Kingston. We call them formals. I went to three formals in highschool. One of which I went to with my closest girlfriends and had a lovely time, another I’ll talk about later and the last one I went to with a guy who I was basicaly set up with so there’d be 3 couples in the limo. I think he agreed because he get a free ticket to the formal out of it. I hosted the pre-formal cocktail party at my house and hence had free admission for myself and a date. I was promptly ditched as soon as we got on the boat (both the formals I went to at my highschool were held on a boat that toured all around the lake and river while highschool kids got drunk and threw up over the railings). I didn’t like the guy in a romantic way, so it wasn’t heart break. He was a friend, and he was the tallest guy in school, so at least I have photos of me looking short with someone. It’s not something I’m hugely bitter about but it stung at the time. Sadly it’s the first memory that springs to mind when I think about formals in highschool. Which is a bit of a boo-urns.

And it really shouldn’t be. Because I had one of those TV dream type formal nights in highschool. Of course it was at a different highschool’s formal. This formal happened the day before graduation and it was (thankfully) not on a boat but at a marina. At this formal I met a boy who I would date for the following year. While that relationship ended in a sad way, I remember it with a smile. It began with a great night. Neither of us were really drinking as we were both pretty broke (I’d spent all of my money on having my hair and make-up done–I looked very glamorous). But it was a great time. We were dancing like idiots, talking until 4 in the morning on his parents boat while we both tried to find all the bobby pins that were holding my hair up (there were like 100 of them) and he was a perfect gentleman and a very sweet guy.

I went to 4 major formals and about 5 minor formals in University. I had some great times there that made me discount my theory that I have a special occasions curse.  Even at the Arts formal when M and I both had the flu but were determined to go to the formal anyway, I couldn’t say that I’d had a bad time. That was the time when Mike took the now famous “European Wedding Photo.” Or the time when Mum and I made a huge ball skirt that matched the burgundy lining of M’s floor length jacket. We looked pretty awsome. I love getting dressed up for events and making a fuss of things. I could write a weeks worth of blogs on the dresses my mother has made for these events.

Isn’t interesting how you can start a post feeling sulky and forlorn about being snubbed at your highschool formal and through the process of remembering feel better about the things that were making you blue. Sure tall guy sucked for doing that, but in comparison to all the other formals I’ve been to, it’s no big. The SciFormal with Mike, my swing dancing friend and the strapless dress that defied gravity, was a great time in the midst of a hard fall. The flu ridden Arts Formal in a blizzard with M, was wonderful and romantic, even though we both were trying our best to hold dinner down. As was the SciFormal the following year where the we went withmost of the GW kids and were able to keep the great decorations great in our minds because we left before they could be ripped to shreds. And the last ArtsFormal, where M overcame his hatred of songs with counting and slow danced with me, dispite my 3 inch heels. It was also the formal where a friend came up to me and said “Chelsea, I’m gay man, but I have to say you look hot tonight.” Now who could feel sullen remembering things like that.



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