Outfit Details:
lace dress – a surprise gift from Queen’s Wardrobe (thank you, I love it!)
brown belt – gift from my mom, from her shop Hourglass Consignment
brown tights – courtesy of DKNY, from the gift card I won

*In my senior year of high school, ten of my friends and I piled into two cars and headed to a local chain restaurant to celebrate my seventeenth birthday. Forever teetering between being a floater and a misanthrope, I was thrilled to finally have a solid group of friends and a semblance of a social life, outside of academia. High school was actually a pleasant experience for me and my peers were generally (with a few exceptions) very kind – but this was the first time I had a full-fledged clique to rely on. We specialized in road trips, sleep overs, all-night adventures and early morning beach jaunts. I felt as though I hit the friend lottery. They came at a time in my life when I needed friends more than ever.

Though I was never big on birthdays, the group insisted on celebrating. After a raucous and wildly fun dinner, we all headed to Magnolia Shoppes for ice cream and a movie. As I excused myself to the bathroom of the ice cream shop, I thought about how lucky my best friend Lauren and I were to have this group of friends. Eleven of us: that was nine more than we had at our epic Millennium party.

When I came out, John and Lauren – who are now married – had horrified looks on their faces, and Rachel was pacing. It was John who said, “They’re not your friends. They’re a**holes.” At first I thought it was a joke, until I walked outside and realized they were really gone. Apparently it was the plan all along, to ditch me on my birthday. I called their phones until someone answered: they were all laughing at me, and then they hung up. I should have cut my losses and said screw them, but instead I let it grip my insides and render me gutless. I was humiliated and devastated. My safe little bubble of friends, the buffer I came to rely on, was nothing but a bunch of cruel teens.

Seventeen, car-less and feeling absolutely broken, I sat in the parking lot and cried. At the time, I felt incredibly sorry for myself, but now I just look back and laugh, or think how lucky I was. I look back at that night and remember those friends doing everything in their power to turn my night around; I remember my crush, whom I had never seen outside of work, showing up in his pajamas to salvage the last hour of my birthday. To have three friends standing by my side, at the risk of social suicide – that’s more than enough.

Though it’s a funny story now, I sometimes wish I could go back and tell my teenaged self that it’s not the end, that kids are cruel and selfish but probably just trying to fit in, that parents are out of their minds when they tell you that high school years are the best of your life, that those ridiculous standardized test scores mean absolutely nothing in the long run. But I can’t, and so I save it for my little sister, who is enduring the trials of high school.

Just know this: when your friendships are no longer dictated by a teacher’s seating assignments, it gets better. For the record, though Rachel and I have since lost touch, Lauren and John are still two of my closest friends. Quality over quantity, always. And if high school bull**** gets you down, just think of the stories you’ll have when you’re older.

*What does this have to do with the pretty lace dress I’m wearing in these pictures? Absolutely nothing, but there’s only so much that I can talk about an outfit without drowning myself in exclamation points – and I was feeling reminiscent.