Prom Night. Short of her wedding day, it’s the one event every girl spends years dreaming about. You see it romanticized in all the teen movies. A bunch of kids crammed into a stretch limo, taking turns standing up and sticking out of the sunroof to yell and “woo!” as the skyline hangs over them. It is without a doubt the most important, most raucous, most romantic, and most sophisticated night of your young adult life.
And it was quickly approaching. I was typically a moody, sullen teen, but I have to say, I was downright giddy. I had my gorgeous dress, the perfect shoes and the cutest accessories. I had my nail and hair appointments set and my friends and I were getting the stretch limo, just like I’d seen in all the movies. My Mom was gonna order it and everybody was gonna meet up at my house.
One day, just a little over a week before prom night, I got home from a choir rehearsal and my Mom was sitting on the couch, with a pensive look on her face. I knew immediately that something was the matter.
One of the other girl’s Moms had called her. I was dropped from the limo. Someone else was gonna order it and they were going to meet at another girl’s house. No one even had the guts to tell me. I was crushed. My Mom hugged me tightly as the tears flowed.
The next day at school I confronted all my “friends.” No one could look me in the eye or give me a straight answer. They just mumbled something about how “there wasn’t enough room.” It was stunning.
In reality, some of the more “popular” kids had decided that I was “weird,” and my former friends decided they could no longer be seen with me. They cast me off and hung me out to dry like they never even knew my name.
This was pretty typical of my high school years. Kids aren’t the most empathetic people, and growing up in Key West, Florida, as a budding young performer and musical artist, I wasn’t like everybody else. Individuality wasn’t exactly frowned upon in this environment… but it certainly wasn’t encouraged, either.
I got teased a lot. I was labeled “a drama queen” if I ever expressed myself. If I had a nickel for every time someone called me that, I could have bought my own giant stretch limo, and rolled up to prom, sticking out of the sunroof, with both middle fingers in the air. I was raised better than that… but it would have been sweet.
Finally, I reached Senior year. When I came back that fall, the other kids didn’t miss a beat. It was like I never even had the summer off from them and their name calling and selfishness. I was admittedly at my breaking point.
We were all in the gymnasium at homecoming. I had just lead everyone in the school song, as the music teacher had picked me to sing it. I told her I didn’t want to, which was very unlike me. I guess I was afraid I’d make myself a target, but she was insistent, so I did it.
It was a good performance and the student body at large really got into it, and I received a loud ovation at the conclusion. I sat down on the riser, prepared for my peers to finally show me some love. The opposite happened. They just carried on with their usual insults and childish laughing. I couldn’t take it anymore. I snapped, and for the first time, I really stood up from myself.
“Why are you guys this way?! Does it make you feel better about yourself?? We grew up playing together and one day you just decided I was no longer WORTHY! Do you know how much I dread coming to school every day, because of YOU?!”
I stomped out of the gym in tears. The “drama queen” had done it again. It wasn’t flipping them off from the top of a limo, but it did actually feel pretty good.
And you know what? A funny thing happened after that. I began to get messages from my classmates on Facebook. “We had no idea you felt that way.” “I didn't know. I’m so sorry.”
Sometimes, you have to stand up for yourself to get people to show you respect. It shouldn’t have to be like that and that’s sad.
I spent the rest of my Senior year walking the halls with my new found backbone, but I still kept to myself. I realized I didn’t want to be like them after all.
All of these experiences and feelings are encapsulated in my latest single, “People These Days.” I sing about how I felt at school every day, while an incredible group of musicians lay down a nice slinky groove. I’ve been told the song has a “haunting, moody” vibe and I’m really proud of it. I even refer to myself as a “drama queen” in the lyrics. It feels good to finally own it.
I wrote “People These Days” not only for those who are being bullied… but also for the bullies, too. I want people to hear this music and sit back and think about how their actions have affected others. I want everyone to strive to be nicer and more empathetic. A little bit of compassion goes a long way.
Please check out my music video of "People These Days" below:
If the song struck a chord with you, I would love to invite you to take a listen to the rest of my debut EP, “Alone in a Crowd”. It’s moody and it’s confessional and I hope everyone can relate to it. It would mean the world to me if you would follow the link below to hear some more of what I have to offer.
Click here to learn more about the EP.
But that’s enough about me. I want to hear from you. If this inspired any thoughts and feelings, or if you even just want to say hi, please reach out below. I promise that I’ll get back to you.
I know it’s a bit cliche… but if anyone reading this is going through a similarly hard time, just remember, it does get better. Trust me!