Last night my boyfriend, my best friend and her boyfriend and I attended G and I’s graduation ball- something that seemed so far away and unreachable back in the day when I was an innocent little fresher who didn’t know the stresses of being a university student to come.
I was so excited for this ball – months before it had even been planned I was already thinking about how my hair would be, what my dress would be like and how I could accessorise.
But, saving money for life in general and my future kind of got in the way, and I found myself scouring the Internet last month for cheap dresses that didn’t look tacky and watching YouTube tutorials on how to style my hair so I wouldn’t have to fork out to get it done. My fairytale graduation became a DIY job, but, determined to keep it positive and not get me down- which is most definitely easier said than done with hundreds of girls walking round with you in dresses that cost half my months wage.
The night got off to a good start, I picked up my dress and it had been beautifully steamed, and received a discount because it was for such a special occasion, and made my way back to the flat to get ready. My make up was okay, just how I usually wear it on a night out, and I started doing my hair.
I have now learned I am not good at styling hair, mine or anyone else’s. I can’t braid it, or put it in a ponytail but that’s about the extent of my skills.
So, I just pinned it up out of my face so that it wouldn’t get sweaty or get makeup on it, and I was good to go.
Having not properly drank alcohol since before exams, I was already tipsy by the time we got to the venue, and this was further fuelled by multiple glasses of free Cava at the reception. Why did I need to drink? Because, although my boyfriend and best friend being there made me feel more comfortable, it was still really hard being amongst all these other girls who looked absolutely amazing, and feeling judged for my own attempts at getting glammed up. Not that they were actually judging me. There was no way anyone could know my dress was less than £20 and my make up and hair were done in the comfort of my own home unless I told them… but that’s what anxiety does. One negative thought and it balloons out of proportion.
It kind of got to the point where I felt too nervous to even go up to anyone else and congratulate them on completing and graduating university, those negative thoughts –you’re not good enough to be here; no one even wants to speak to you; stop pretending you’re something you’re not… reverberated in my head till it almost got too much. Not one for causing drama, I sneaked off to the bathroom and had to give myself a stern talking to before heading back out.
What did I say to myself? That the thoughts inside my brain weren’t true, and that I only had one opportunity to enjoy this night, so even if, in the slightest chance that any of it was true, I had to make the most of being at this incredible venue with my closest friends.
So I straightened up my (now torn at the strap so therefore transformed into a one-strap-dress) and went out to dance at the ceilidh with my boyfriend. Once I had batted out those negative emotions, I felt, even for just half an hour, like the princess that everyone should have felt like that night, because we all looked beautiful and we all deserved to celebrate the end of university life together.
Yes, my dress tore, and yes, I had aching feet, and yes, if I’m being completely honest, I had trouble with my disordered thinking as soon as dinner was served, but at the end of the day, we were all in a beautiful place that looked like a castle, we all danced our troubles away and we all get to begin the amazing journey that is adult life.
The point is, your night will always get ruined if you let your mind subconsciously compare yourself to other people. We all do it, unfortunately, but even though it’s hard to do, these thoughts need to be put away, if not forever then just for a little while, because horrible things like that shouldn’t be given the power to destroy every happy memory we have.