The most defining event of the senior year of any high school is probably the prom. It is something that students look forward to for years beforehand. Girls begin fantasizing about their dresses, the afterparties, and, most importantly their dates when they are still in middle school. For somebody with Asperger’s like myself, though, the night sounds more uncomfortable than fun, and I have been struggling with the choice between going or not.
On one hand, prom is an important social experience. It is an opportunity to spend a formal night with friends and learn about different manners and behaviors that are more appropriate for such situations. It is a good place to learn about my peers and gauge my social development.
However, I know from prior experience that there are many aspects of a prom that could quite possibly set off sensory overload. I never have enjoyed dressing up, dancing, loud music, crowds of people, dates, partying, driving in limosuines, and I know there will be nothing for me to eat at the venue. I am not completely blind to activities of my peers and do recognize that many of them will leave the prom and go and drink or do drugs or have sex and party, but none of that appeals to me.
As the prom day approaches quickly my question to myself is whether I am running away from my fears by not going, or if prom really is not a big deal. I feel like in a way I am using Asperger’s as an excuse to not challenge myself socially, but I really cannot find any redeeming qualities in going that would make me feel satisfied. I am not even sure that I would feel a sense of accomplishment in making it through the night, and the risk of having a breakdown is too much for me. In the end, I would rather have memories of a quiet night watching movies at my friend’s house than a disastrous meltdown any day.