LOOK WHAT MY MOM DID OH GOD
LOOK WHAT MY MOM DID OH GOD
This is the last and final Prom Picture I’ll post, because I think enough’s enough, you know?
But I think this one has special significance.
One of my favorite parts about this picture isn’t me (although, let’s be honest, that is a most beautiful guise of genuine happiness and accomplishment) it’s my fellow nominees to the left and right of me.
When my mom saw this picture, she quickly asked who the ladies surrounding me were, thinking they were some sort of ceremonial like “Ms. Texas” contestants or some extremely attractive administrators. “No, mom,” I had to explain, “those are the other nominees for Prom Queen.”
She seemed especially impressed by this. Not only did I win the near-universal vote of the school, but I won it over these ungodly beauties. Their expressions aren’t to be overlooked, either, I mean look at them. So unhappy.
Two weeks after graduation, I met someone at a party who I barely recognized. As soon as someone called his name, though, I knew exactly who he was. This kid, Connor, we’ll call him, had a pretty huge repuation in my school for drugs and dealing and that special blend of jock-flavored assholery. A year or two ago he switched schools; the rumor was he’d been arrested or OD’d.
This kid Connor had been in a lot of my classes, starting way back in middle school. He’d never spoken a word to be before that wasn’t spat. But he saw me at this party, even after two years of not seeing me, and shouted a congratulations at me on my victory.
We sat talking for a while after that. I gave him the full PQ rundown, jumpsuit and all. Unwarranted but not unwelcome, hd explained to me his own life story and his own intense, traumatic problems with the “popular” crowd. I took this to mean the athletic, white, cisgendered, heterosexual, Christian, well-socialized few that seemed to run the school (and maybe the world; Feel me?).
He praised me, and said he was so excited when he heard I won. I asked why, puzzled slightly by this large cis man praising this little fat queer. He answered eloquently that it wasn’t just my win, but the implications of the win. He said, finally, after the years of the assumed power and the bullying and exclusion, at this final climax of the class of 2012, the Winners didn’t win. It was like the final game in a classic football movie, he said, (although, to his credit, I brought football up).
That last game of the season, you know? When all it comes down to is this. Your chances are down and risks are high. You did it. You beat ‘em. It was the last stand, and you won. They can shit talk and make fun of you and joke about it all they want. The fact of the matter is, you won. They didn’t. That’s it.
I agreed, thanked him and described to him the moments immediately after my crowning, where all the nerds, the gross ones, the rejects, the geeks, the socially “inadequate” were dancing at the front of the room. The front. Center stage. That was the moment of Prom that resonated highest in me. We were the winners that night, I wasn’t. We quashed the status quo, we fucked things up. We were proud of ourselves, and of one another.
And isn’t that the best prize?
Oh why hello this is a picture of me
lip-syncing to A Moment Like This
Dancing with a hesitant and dubious Prom King