So, I went to the ball!
I wore a beautiful dress.
I ate tasty food.
I had… not a lot of fun.
It’s nothing against the ball itself, just that my experience of it was not the kind people were meant to have. Almost everyone there was coupled up. There was a lot of music, but no one really dancing. I was fortunate enough to fall in with one of the ladies I know from church, who made me a part of her social circle through sheer force of will. She was fantastic, and I had some good conversations with her, her husband, some of her other friends, and some random people around the place.
I succeeded in my basic goal, which was to start conversations with people. I chatted with a guy in the bar line about his Einstein tie. I chatted with a woman in the atrium about the harpist, and she invited me to come play harp with the group she’s in. I chatted with a very nice woman about our costumes.
Mostly, though, I felt like a child pressing her nose up against the glass of the candy store, unable to go in and buy anything. I felt more alone, because the fun and festivity and life made me feel even more how I did not have those things. I wanted – desperately wanted – someone to dance with. I drank too much, which didn’t help, and overshared with people – not my best moment. At one point, my pastor showed up and asked concerned questions about how I was doing overall with life, and made me want to cry even more.
I felt like Sarah in Labyrinth, where she is spinning and lost in the party, and nothing is making sense, and where she is the only one who doesn’t get a mask.
I felt a bit stupid about my costume, which was nice, but was indisputably not at the level of most of the professional-quality dresses people wore. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I actually stepped outside for 10 minutes to cry in the soft rain. Then I went back inside. I tried again.
Do I regret attending? Not really. It was an experience, and it was a valuable step towards breaking down my own mental blocks. But I don’t feel any desire to do it again, and it has left me with a vague feeling of unease and isolation that’s lingering still.