Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Squashed Dreams

The other day some friends and I were talking about how we didn't have to worry about real-life cares when we were teenagers, but the things that did concern us were monumental in our teenage lives. I immediately thought of this story:

When I was a little girl, I remember going to my school's homecoming game and seeing the beautiful high school girls on homecoming court. I thought to myself, "I'm going to be homecoming queen one day."

Flash forward many years. 

As a sophomore in high school, I was voted onto homecoming court. I really wanted to be voted on court (thanks, class!), but I didn't want to have a hand in it, so I prayed that if God wanted me to be on court, then I'd get voted without voting for myself (thanks, God!). 
A picture of the yearbook page.

Two more years pass. 

Senior year voting day: I thought, "Since it worked so well last time, I'll just do it again, 'Dear God, if you want me on court, then I'll get voted without voting for myself.'"

You know those times when God says no? Yeah...

I was completely devastated. The court was announced at lunch time, and in the afternoon I discovered (for better or worse) that I was one vote away. Somehow I managed to hold it together through the rest of the school day and my after school job. When I got in my car at 6:00pm, the tears rolled. 

God didn't want me to be homecoming queeeeeeeeeen!!!!!!

My dad was home when I got home. Noticing that something wasn't right, he said, "What's wrong?" 

"I (sobs) didn't get (sobs) voted (sobs) on homecoming court (sobs)!"

He drew me into a hug and said, "I'm sorry." 

Looking back, I think I would have looked at my teenage self and said, "Seriously? That's what your crying about?" I guess when you've been a parent to an emotional child for that child's entire live, you come to expect episodes like this one. Let's keep in mind I was kind of self-absorbed anyways, so this wasn't out of character for me. In any case, I felt a lot of grace, comfort and validation at that moment. 

I did sneak into the homecoming court's getting-ready room on the night of the football game and took a picture of myself with the sash on. Wait, what? 
I can't remember who the accomplice was that took the picture for us. 

Flash forward to a couple years ago. I was in an internet writing course, and one of my assignments was to write a chapter for a teen novel. I thought my homecoming fiasco would be great, so I wrote it as if it were fiction, assigning fake names, etc. 

My mentor wrote back that the story was predictable and that I should write about real challenges that teens face today. 

Womp, womp, wommmmmmp.

I didn't deal with death, divorce or drugs. I dealt with not being homecoming queen. But there you have it: seemingly insignificant things can be quite monumental to teenagers. 

P.S. That was the only REMOTELY negative response I received from my mentor during the entire two-year course. He was such an encouraging guy! I was shocked that the ONE time I wrote a true story, it was deemed not imaginative enough. Real life loses.
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