As a homeschooler I never thought I would get to experience a prom or the South African equivalent matric dance. I had dreamed of it maybe happening sometime but I always thought that my graduation ceremony would be the extent of my high school festivities. You can imagine my surprise when a good friend asked me to accompany her to the matric dance they were holding at the school where she worked. My mom encouraged me to go and so the preparations began.
I’m not the fussiest person when it comes to getting dressed up, I can generally do my hair decently and make myself look presentable, but for a matric dance you generally put in a little more effort as a part of the experience. Unfortunately, my parents were away in Ethiopia the day of the dance so I was accompanied by my good friend to the hairdresser’s to get my hair and nails done. I think we can all agree they did a fantastic job! Especially with it being the first time I had ever gotten my nails professionally done, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome especially because I have the most brittle nails in the world that insist on tearing every chance they get.
I’m very happy with the way my hair turned out as well. I’ve heard horror stories of people getting their hair done just to end up hating it and I worried a similar thing might happen to me, but I trusted my hairdresser and she did a fantastic job as always.
I, however, wanted to do my own makeup – that’s half the fun! My favorite thing to do is to take my time on my makeup, I sometimes call it my therapy. Plus, I had an excuse to use my fancy lipstick unapologetically.
As the invitation was so last minute, we had limited time to search for a dress. Most girls know what dress they want months in advance but it was the week of the dance and I hadn’t even thought of the kind of dress I wanted. The typical dream is to have a long evening gown sweeping the floor as you dance, and while there were some in the store, none really suited me and they were somewhat out of our price range. When I tried this dress on it fit so well and looked completely classic. I was at first unsure of the shapeless fit, but as my mom pointed out, it was the style, and I hope I don’t sound too narcissistic, but I think it suits me. With dreams of evening gowns with a fitted waist you can imagine my surprise when I found myself at home with a shapeless dress that didn’t even reach my knees. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m already looking forward to the numerous occasions I’ll be able to wear this little black dress and it’s entirely timeless in my opinion.
Of course, we had to have a mini photoshoot to show friends and family in other countries so I hope you’ll indulge me with some of these shots.
The dance itself was an experience since I had no idea what to expect. There was a huge red carpet rolled out for the graduating class and the arrivals were almost more about the cars than the fashion. Revving cars would be met by hysteric screams, you’d think Benedict Cumberbatch had arrived.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit of an insider at the event, I sat at the teacher’s table and was asked my opinion on fashion to determine the best-dressed individuals of the night, it was really quite fun.
The downside was I had sprained my ankle exactly a week before, and you can read all about that in my Persevering in the Berg post. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to wear my fancy heels or be able to dance whatsoever, and if you know me, you know I love dancing. I was attending intense physio sessions during the week and I think it was by sheer determination that I wore those heels for the entire night, after walking on uneven ground in the park to get these beautiful shots. I have my gorgeous friend Limé (lee-may) to thank for that.
I got many a compliment on my ensemble which I have to say made me feel pretty dang special. I enjoyed talking with the teachers and saying hi to the few people I knew, but if I’m honest there was less socializing than I thought there would be. Maybe it was just because I was a bit of an outsider but it seemed like most people kept to their tables, but again, it might have just been me feeling uncomfortable. I don’t often feel uncomfortable in social situations, but being among my peers at an event that they have been looking forward to for their entire high school careers felt somewhat unnerving, but as the evening progressed I felt more included and I ended the night with tired feet and a happy heart.
Dancing with a crowd of people you hardly know without a partner I discovered is not exactly easy. My chaperone refused to dance as she prefers to watch from a distance, but if there’s a dance floor, you won’t find me far from it. While not a dancer herself, my partner encouraged me to go dance, and I eventually did, but I just kind of stood there in the crowd not sure what to do. All the girls had their partners, and the others had created a bit of a circle where people would showcase their dancing once by one, but I wasn’t one to just push in, so I kind of bounced on the spot completely clueless as to how I was going to make this fun. Eventually I took a break and had a breath of fresh air, and when I got back to my table for a drink a couple of the teachers invited me to accompany them to the dance floor. That’s when things started to get fun. The kids knew the teachers so already I was a part of the group and some of the girls started teaching me specific moves that I can only assume is the pop culture of today, but it was really fun as I finally felt like I was a part of something. I surprised myself to see how much I could do with a swollen ankle I had stuffed into my heeled shoe, but I found strength that I didn’t know I had and determination to have fun that I didn’t know was sometimes required. That’s just it, if you’re not determined to have a good time, it’s not guaranteed to happen automatically. You have to work to have fun sometimes, just like you have to work to have good relationships occasionally. Everything needs a bit of a boost, and for me, it was finding the right people to share the night with.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed reminiscing on this once in a lifetime event.