Last night I went to my first high school party, and boy was it a doozy. I'd always heard crazy things about the parties at my school. Drunken tirades, every drug imaginable, and girls and guys groping each other like some unrated movie. I heard these rumors, but always figured I'd give my classmates the benefit of the doubt. I don't know, I just didn't think they'd be capable of such things.
I had been debating back and forth for the last month or so whether I should go or not to the senior party. A huge, huge deal at my school. I really wanted to go since I had never been to a party. I'll admit, I was super curious. I wanted to know what one was like and see if I could really stay true to myself in a situation so fueled by peer pressure because in my past I'd always fallen into it. So at last minute I decided to go. It was an experience I'll never forget.
I went with one of my good friends and she was as clueless as myself about high school parties. The senior party is a super big deal at my school and kept on the down low until the very last minute until they send out a mass text to all of the seniors. We got the text and went to the neighborhood where it was at and were TOTALLY lost. We drove around and around until we saw two girls we knew walking. We stopped and asked if they knew where the party was and I was so awkward...the girl actually laughed at me but agreed to take me to the place. We parked and began our journey to the party. We went back into the woods and started on a trail. It was pitch black out and well into the night and we had to use our phones to see the way.
Since I'd never been to a party before I had no clue what to wear and stupidly enough wore a dress. We trekked into the woods and my legs got scratched by a million thorns and I was sure I was going to get poison ivy. I could hear everyone yelling and screaming, but we got so lost and came to a dead end, constantly having to back track. The party was a half a mile into the woods and took us a good twenty minutes to get to. The kids in charge didn't want it to be busted so they found the perfect, secluded spot.
When I came into the clearing where the party was I had major dejavu. I felt like I had been there before, seen the scene all too many times. The tiki lights gave an eerie and sinister glow to the biggest amount of alcohol I've ever seen in my life. It was everywhere and I mean everywhere. They had tables of beer pong set up, a full on bar with every kind of drink imaginable. Red cups littered the ground even though we were some of the first ones there.
The guys in charge of the party greeted me like we had always been best friends, giving me a high five and acting excited that I had come- me, the 'modest fox.' They offered me congratulatory shots, at least that's what I think they were. I denied vehemently, hardly believing that I was being offered alcohol. Something I never thought would happen. Even when I denied it they offered it to me again and again, but soon they got the hint I wasn't into that sort of stuff. They left me alone.
My friend and I wandered around the space aimlessly, trying to avoid the sloppy and crazy drunk girls. People I'd never though were like that. My classmates that I saw every day. Respected, admired. They were falling over themselves, coming up to hug me like we were best friends. I hadn't talked to many of them in months.
As people began to come my friend and I slowing made our way to the edge of the huge mosh pit that was forming. We came across tents- for those who wouldn't be able to stand up let alone drive themselves home. Some couples were already going into them together. I shivered.
As I looked around I started to notice that there just wasn't alcohol but drugs as well. Mostly marijuana. It's all I saw but I'm sure there was more. Girls smoked blunts like it was nothing but a sugar stick. Guys took turns lighting them, taking in drags and passing them around. The reeking scent of the pot made me so sick to my stomach and I had to go to the very outskirts of the woods in order not to feel sick. It's the most horrible thing I've ever smelled.
I was offered so many drinks I couldn't keep count. I don't know why they kept offering them to me. Every time I said no and I felt so in control. So proud of myself that I didn't need all of that to have fun. I didn't need to be wasted and high off my mind to be myself. I was just fine being me. They would come up to me, slurring their words saying silly things. Even the people I was never awkward with in school suddenly I couldn't even talk to. I froze because it felt like I didn't even know these people called 'my classmates' any more. They were just drunk versions of themselves. The girls would laugh a lot, giggle even though nothing was funny. The guys would be oddly calm. Almost too calm.
It was 11 o'clock when we left. The party was just getting started but I found myself already exhausted. I didn't know how these kids could do it. My friend and I made our way back to the neighborhood in which we'd come, listening to the drunken and out of control shouts and laughter. We could still hear them at the edge of the woods.
Driving home I'd never felt so content. Seeing what I haven't been missing all these years was so empowering. Realizing that I can say no and that it doesn't make me uncool or lame. It makes me powerful and in control. I felt so glad that I'd had this experience. It made me so proud and happy to be who I am for once. Happy that I like sweet teas instead of beers. Happy that I like to smell the aroma of flowers rather than drugs. Happy that a quiet night of blogging is more fun than a crazy night of partying. Happy that I wear pretty dresses instead of barely anything. Happy that I'm saving myself for a special person instead of giving it up to someone in a tent while I'm drunk. I want to remember my life, not wonder what I did.
This morning was my graduation rehearsal and all of my classmates were forced to roll out of bed (or should I say tents?) and get their hungover selves to school. The rumors were already running rampant through the hallways. Who slept with who. Who got in a fight. Who was so wasted they passed out. I didn't know what was true and what was false, but I didn't know if I could assume the best anymore. Gosh were they a mess. The reeked of woods, booze, and pot. Not to mention B.O. They came in dirty, and with greasy hair. One even without shoes. Their eyes were sleeping and red around the edges, their limbs slow and lethargic. They wore sunglasses and drank water, moaning whenever we were forced to move or get up.
I'm so happy to be me.
With much love, Lauren.