Let me begin by saying that I do truly believe that if the dream I am ninety-six percent sure has become my life is, in fact, the four percent that seems to be the case, I have been something other than blessed, something other than honored, something unbelievably more powerful than any of my over-used cliché phrases. All because I’m still trying to wrap my head around the unnervingly true-to-form storybook life that has become my own.
I’ve been getting comments about how I can’t be surprised any longer that I received Homecoming Queen, but I wanted to give some candid history (or as candid as I believe my mother would let me be) to help shed some light on how incredible this whole deal is to me.
If you and I were close in middle school, you probably remember my poser scene phase.
If you don’t, you have probably pushed it to the back of your mind in a well-meant attempt to forget its horror. I know I’ve tried, but if history is forgotten, it will be sure to repeat itself.
The worst part about this phase was not the heavy, black eyeliner I failed to blend, the unflattering t-shirts I wore, or the fact I rejected any sense of individuality about myself-it was the fact that I was objecting individuality in the first place. There were girls I wanted to be; cool girls with colored hair and artfully painted eyeliner, girls who flaunted their attachment to their youth and were praised for it. I was just a shadow of their uniqueness because I was doing my best to showcase only one facet of my being, while they truly found themselves in how they were portrayed.
Freshman year came along, and with it, some mental struggles. I say this not for pity, not to get props for strength and pushing through, but to bring awareness to the fact that everything that has happened has happened in spite of these struggles. The most prominent statement I received last night along with the crown involved words like, “People person”, “Outgoing”, amongst others directly correlated to an extroverted demeanor. But I was not born an extrovert, and I definitely wouldn’t qualify myself as one entirely now. Sure, I enjoy being around others, but that hasn’t always been the case.
You may be able to relate. As the above statistic describes, Social Anxiety is a common issue, and a wholly encompassing one at that. You’re constantly tired after prolonged social interaction (school, sports, extra-curriculars, speaking with authority figures, football games), and that feeling of secondhand embarrassment you feel after you and another person share an awkward moment is a constant, even when alone.
I won’t say that the issue is as bad as it used to be-if it was, I would have passed out last night as Aymer’s car pulled Dilly and I up to the stands. However, it has improved tenfold thanks to determination, help from my parents, and support from social circles. I want to say to those who identify with everything I’m saying and those who have it worse than I did that you’re not alone, but I know that doesn’t help any more than someone telling you to just stop being so anxious does. For what it’s worth, you’ve got this. You’re powerful and worthy of love. That’s how it starts.
Moving on from self-help and psychology, I would like to make you all aware that, you know, I hate to use this cliché (but if you’ve been following this blog since day one, you know about our complicated relationship), but being yourself apparently really does pay off. I’m not saying this as someone who is committed to societal ideals-but for those who are, just know I’ve been jealous of you from time to time and that isn’t going to stop any time soon-I am saying this as a girl who binge-watched the entirety of Season 8 of Doctor Who the week before school started. I can’t decide whether Tennant or Capaldi is my Doctor. I am saying this as the girl who has watched all nine seasons of Supernatural, has seen every episode of Sherlock multiple times and ran a fandom blog for a decent amount of time. I am saying this as the girl who tried Competitive Cheer and sprained both wrists, the girl who won her Varsity Letter her first year on the Diving Team (Shoutout to Kristina Sweet who has done the same <3), the girl who writes poetry and directs for/acts on stage, whose favorite stores boast clothes that have been worn by grandmothers and small children alike, who paints her face as an art form rather than an enhancing mechanism, who wears footie pajamas at any possible moment.
I am not strange, I am not different, I am not unique-and in saying this I acknowledge the fact that I may, in fact, be. I do not want to ‘other’ myself, because to set myself higher or lower than anyone would distract me from my purpose. The Greek definition of my name is Queen, so not much is going to change about who I am, I promise you. I want my election in this Democratic Monarchy to represent a revolution of how everyone sees themselves, and I want it to be as positive as it possibly can be.
As an example of this, I’ll use the motley crew who joined my parents in supporting Homecoming Court last night.
In my seventeen years revolving around a ball of destructive gas that has been on fire for billions years longer than I have been alive on an inanimate rock held together by gravity and hope, my grandparents have not been together in the same room as I. It’s been low-key on my bucket list to have them all together, and last night was the night I got to check that off my list. Ironically, they aren’t in the correct pairings, so please don’t make the understandable assumption that each couple is a couple, however superficial of a request that is.
I’ll close this thank-you with a shoutout to Ryan, our King, and the rest of HoCo Court: Emily, Logan, Dilly, Jaret, Jake, Amber, Alex, Alex Squared, Trent, Allie, Rachel, Shelby, Max, and Joe, it’s been amazing getting to know all of you. You’re all people to look up to, incredibly motivated, extremely talented, and worth every compliment anyone gives you. It is my hope that we don’t grow to be strangers again-the day we regress to an unenthused ‘hi’ in the halls will be the day Court is just a memory. Kill it at the dance tonight, fam. Thank you for making this an unbelievable experience.