Archive for February, 2013

I’m Not Going to Prom– Am I a Loser?: Answers to the Lifelong Question

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

The short answer: no, you are not a loser. This article outlines reasons why for both girls who didn’t get asked and boys who don’t want to go/are afraid to go, and even other boys and girls who have other insecurities. Please read on; I’m writing this specifically for you to feel better about yourself and to help you understand why not going to prom doesn’t actually matter even though society and culture and friends may make you feel less than you really are because of it.

The long answers:

If you’re a girl who didn’t get asked, you are beautiful and worth it just the way you are– you’re probably more beautiful that most of the girls who did get asked, quite honestly; the “world”, as we call it, doesn’t look at the true beauty each girl has but only outward beauty and what it can gain by taking advantage of that outward beauty, and the few boys (they are out there, and there is one for you!) who would love you for who you are just aren’t ready yet– they’re teenagers, for heaven’s sake! Just like you, they’re figuring out who they are and what defines them, and they’re struggling just keeping their minds innocent in a world that demands that they do away with chivalry. In spite of what you may think and what society is subtly trying to make you think, not going to prom has approximately a zero percent chance of affecting the rest of your life for good or bad. You still have great value. You are not worthless. You are not sub-standard. You are not broken. Whatever your social status is, please ignore it. However many friends you have right now, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’ve gone to no high school dances or a thousand of them, your worth is not affected either way. If you came across my blog asking Google about something to do with not going to prom, I ask you to please change your viewpoint concerning the relation between your social life and your worth as an individual. You need to seek a happiness that is detached from what other people think about you and even (dare I say it?) what you may think about yourself.

The same goes for you, boys. You have no obligation to ask anyone out to any dance. That doesn’t mean that you can just “hang out” and eat pizza and play Halo and never commit to anyone for the rest of your lives, but a silly high school dance is nothing in the eternal scheme of things. Maybe you want to ask a girl, but you’re afraid. Maybe you’re just too nervous. Maybe you’re not ready. Maybe you have absolutely no interest but feel pressure by society and culture. I ask you to cast all that aside; you’ll be just fine if you strive to embody virtue, chivalry, purity, kindness, dignity, and hard work for the next few years, even if you never, ever ask anyone to a dance or go out on any dates for the next few years. If you never, ever end up feeling comfortable dancing, guess what! Either the girl you marry will hate dancing, too, or you will both love each other anyway.

Prom is absolutely worthless when it comes right down to it. The original idea it comes from may have been innocent, but the world has twisted it. The world has turned it into a necessity for social success and personal happiness, and that is one of the biggest kinds of lies the world tells today.

Why?

  1. Prom is overrated. I promise with 100% accuracy that nobody in even a year after your high school career is going to care whether or not you or anyone else went to prom or any other dance. That includes you. You’ll realize that it was a fad– an unfortunately popular and perpetual fad– and you will move on, and you will even forget. If by some chance you are someone who has been bitter for thirty years ever since nobody asked you to go to prom, then I think you need to rethink your life and perhaps move to a new continent where nobody knows you so that you may start life over again, this time more happily, and forget every moment of your high school career as it is incomparably and incomprehensibly insignificant compared to the rest of your existence.
  2. Prom is socially unhealthy. That is, if you let it be. Sure, plenty of people enjoy it and can have a good time without letting the social stigma of going to prom get to their heads, but the bulk of American girls are under the notion that if they do not get asked to prom, especially senior prom, then they are failures and might as well live in the sewer. This is one of the biggest lies ever told in American history– even bigger than the thousands of lies politicians tell us every year. On another social note, don’t even get me talking about the group of teenagers that ruin their subconscious by participating in sexual activity because of prom. Sex outside of marriage is just not worth it– and, quite honestly, romantic relationships at high school ages rarely work out and are almost always sickeningly immature, and you will look back on them shaking your head one day– very opposite of the “cute” that most teenagers label them. It’s simply a fact that people that age are just not mentally and physically developed enough to truly appreciate romantic relationships for what they really are. I could go on and on about this, but this is another topic to be saved for a later day.
  3. Prom is overpriced. Most of the time you’ll be lucky if you can pay under $80 for the prom ticket for both you and your date. Most people end up spending several hundred dollars at the very least for the ticket, pre-date, post-date, food, pictures, outfit, transportation, and other items. Whether you’re one of the smart ones spending only $80 of your meager, teenage paycheck or one of the less savvy ones paying several hundred or many hundred dollars, you’re definitely better off spending that money on something that will last longer and be more meaningful, or even (gasp!) putting it into a savings account!
  4. Prom is awkward. Especially for the types of people who won’t get asked to prom– such as myself (all right, I’m not a girl, but if I was a girl with a similar personality, I know I would have had less than a 0.1% chance of being asked)– prom is actually an awkward thing. Most people these days don’t know how to dance properly (myself included), nor do they want to learn (myself included). For many, being in such close proximity with a person of the opposite gender who you don’t know as well as you would prefer to have known before you went out on this date is a weird experience. Even if you don’t feel awkward, you most likely look awkward and will probably wince at the overpriced prom pictures you pull out of an old box in thirty years. You and your date are also likely quite sweaty or definitely will be by the end of the evening. How often I felt like running away because people started hopping up and down like jackrabbits or forming one of those terrible line dances during those few dances I went to in high school is an indicator to how awkward people act at dances without even realizing it (first off, why are you simply hopping up and down to some beat of a song that makes much more money in sales that it’s worth? Or doing the same “dance” over and over during a lengthy country song about a cotton-eyed man named Joe? Don’t you realize how ridiculous you’re acting? I suppose it makes good exercise, and heaven knows we fatties in the US need it!  Secondly, even if jumping up and down can be arguably fun for some people, why are you doing it in a dress? Really? And why is your dress revealing more of your body than is for your own good and attracting the wrong kind of boys? Do you really want someone who just cares about you as an object?). Here is where I take a deep breath after telling you why prom is so awkward. And now you know why.
  5. If you think life is all about having fun (as so many of us humans seem to believe), then there are certainly things to do that are easily more fun than prom. And less expensive, too. And less socially unhealthy. Think about your favorite hobby or activity or something like to do that you don’t get to do often– or even something you like to do that most other people don’t like to do. You are a unique individual, and you have great worth and great potential. know it. Maybe you don’t just yet– but you can discover it within yourself! I daresay that your time is worth too much to be doing the same thing hundreds of millions of other teenagers have been wasting time and money and breaking their hearts over and pouring billions (if not trillions) of dollars into for decades. You deserve more than that.

There. I said it, albeit a bit more windy than I originally wanted. I hope that you will believe it. If you’re still reading, you’re a wise one, for I will go into more intellectual and intimate depth, and if you apply anything from my experiences and observations, you will be a happier person for it. First, let me explain why I wrote this as the explanation will serve as a backdrop to the truth I am attempting to express.

Some years ago while I was still in high school, I discovered that there was a very unnatural and unhealthy obsession amongst people my age with some very popular social customs in western culture, first and foremost school dances, and mainly prom. Being the bohemian, existential, socially disenchanted, transcendentalist young buck that I was, I knew that, even though I would be outnumbered and ridiculed and scorned, I needed to try to help other people out of the grasp of petty social customs that had plagued teenagerdom with mediocrity for decades. So I wrote an article in the school paper. It was received with mixed emotions by the student body, and some people loved me for it while others were embittered. I eventually published in on my personal blog, and I was surprised to see my hits from Google skyrocket. Since then I republished it on this blog, and I have begun to notice a trend. Here is a pretty graph to illustrate:

Total Views Per Month-- Prom

So you will notice that, adjusting the graph for an upward trend, the graph shows the times when my blog is visited most during April of 2011 and April 2012 (this blog has only been running since September 2010; if I still had the stats from my old blog, I could show you the same trend). It this coincidence? Obviously not. I compared this to a Google Trend graph of people in the world searching the term “prom” found that the search term spikes once a year. It shows that  we as a western society (most countries in Africa and Asia and South America have negligible search traffic for “prom”) are programmed to get all anxious starting in February and spiking in April about one of the biggest lies in western culture. The United Kingdom and basically any country that once housed major English colonies beyond mainly a military presence seems to follow what I will now call the “April Prom Google Spike”. It ought not to be so, but I suppose it can hardly be helped.

Let’s take a closer look at what these searches mean. Here are some of the most prominent searches having to do with prom on my blog (and right now in late February I’m starting to see the beginning of that Prom Google Spike). This, last of all, will give the most proof for my stance on what this particular cultural idiosyncrasy is doing to teenagers mostly across the United States but significantly in other English-dominated countries. Most of these search terms tell a story about hundreds of girls (or boys) who feel worthless for not going to prom or who have insecurites about going or who simply don’t want to go but feel judged and stupid and broken for feeling that way. Some of these bring tears to my eyes (you don’t have to read all of them– there are a lot; just scroll through them if you get tired of reading as there is more to this article afterward):

  • not going to prom
  • I didn’t get asked to prom
  • how to get over not going to prom
  • what to do if not going to prom
  • girls that don’t get asked to prom
  • never got asked to prom
  • do most girls not go to prom
  • high school senior not going to prom
  • is it weird not to go to prom
  • not going to prom because of acne
  • sad about not going to prom
  • scared of going to prom
  • the bad outcome of not going to prom
  • why are Americans obsessed with prom
  • a guy doesn’t want to go to prom with you
  • a quote when you aren’t going to prom
  • afraid of going to prom
  • afraid of rejection when asking a guy to prom
  • am I a freak for not going to prom
  • am I a loser for not being asked to prom
  • am I a loser for not going to after prom
  • am I a loser for not going to prom
  • am I bad for not going to the prom
  • are proms good or not
  • are you a loser if you did not go to prom
  • can Mormons go to prom
  • can not going to prom be a good thing
  • can’t get date for prom feel like ****
  • coping without going to prom
  • depressed that I’m not going to prom
  • didn’t get asked to prom
  • do people judge you if you don’t get asked to prom
  • does not going to prom me you’re less likely to…
  • excuses why boys don’t want to go to prom with you
  • feel better about not going to prom
  • feel down no prom
  • feel left out because I can’t go to prom
  • get over not going to prom
  • girls like me just don’t get dates to prom
  • girls who don’t get asked to prom
  • help please not going to prom
  • how do I stop being upset that I didn’t go to prom
  • how to comfort son who feels bad about not going to prom
  • how to explain why you didn’t get asked to prom
  • how to feel about not getting asked to prom
  • how to feel okay about not going to prom
  • how to get past not going to prom
  • how to make prom not awkward
  • how to not be depressed about not going to prom
  • how to not feel bad about not going to prom
  • I am the only one not going to prom
  • I don’t want to go to prom but feel obligated
  • I feel awkward going to prom
  • I feel lame for not going to prom
  • I’m a loser for not going to prom
  • I’m not going to prom and I am so sad
  • I’m a girl not going to prom 🙁
  • I’m not going to my prom cuz no one asked me. Should I be sad?
  • I’m sad about not going to prom
  • I’m the only person not going to the prom
  • is a girl a loser if she goes to prom alone
  • is bad not to go to prom
  • is it bad not to get asked to prom
  • is it ok not to go to prom
  • is it okay to be sad that you didn’t get asked to prom
  • is it so bad I am not going to prom
  • is it wrong for someone to not care about going to prom
  • is not going to prom a bad thing?
  • is not going to prom a mistake
  • is not going to prom mature
  • is prom good for you
  • is there anything wrong with not going to prom
  • look like you’re going to prom even if you’re not
  • meaning of not being asked to prom
  • my whole school is going to prom
  • never asked to prom
  • never gonna get asked to prom
  • not going to prom but your family is looking bad at you
  • not going to prom feeling
  • not going to prom how to cope
  • not going to prom self esteem
  • not opposed to prom but no desire to go
  • only pretty girls get asked to prom
  • people ignore you because you are not going to prom
  • pretty but not getting asked to prom
  • prom I hate dancing
  • prom some girls don’t get asked reasons
  • reasons girls don’t get asked to prom
  • sad that I’m not going to prom
  • should I be sad about not going to prom
  • should I feel bad about not going to prom
  • songs about when you don’t get asked to prom
  • the feeling of not going to prom
  • things to do when everybody’s at prom and you’re not
  • too afraid to ask a girl to senior prom
  • wasn’t asked to prom
  • what are boy’s obligations for prom
  • what do I do to get over not going to junior prom
  • what do people think of you for not going to prom
  • what does not going to prom say about you
  • what if a guy doesn’t want to go to prom with you
  • what to do if you’re a loner who doesn’t go to dances parties or prom
  • what to say to others about not going to prom
  • what to say when people ask why you aren’t going to prom
  • when you’re the only one not going to prom
  • why am I a loser for not going to prom
  • way to get over not going to the prom?

I have hundreds and hundreds of other similar search terms for people who come across my blog because of not going to prom, and I long to shout out to them all– no! You are just fine the way you are! You don’t have to go to the prom to have worth! You don’t have to feel obligated to go to prom! Please ignore society and think for yourself! You deserve happiness and positive growth in your life with the absence of a cruel, broken, impure world bearing down upon you! And that is what my original anti-prom opinion piece says in so many words, but I’m worried that too many kids have attention spans equivalent to three year-olds and simply don’t read what I wrote because it is too long and windy. While this article is even longer, I think, I make the point very clear in the first paragraph on purpose and hope that you/they will read further to get more information.

This goes far beyond prom, of course. Like I said, society is broken, and there are hundreds and thousands of other aspects that are slowly hurting and killing and mutating our youth’s minds. This is only one of them, but I think it embodies the very evil spirit that subtly destroys so many youth and spits out mutilated adults, which adults spread the lie because it’s all they’ve known, and the next generation is even more burdened with lies and social stigmas and other curses.

What will really fix society is to cling to something higher than yourself– something that defines you, gives you purpose, and lets you know who you are and what you can become. Society and culture are definitely not higher than you– they are lower than dirt. Personally, I have come to know that God is real and that He loves me beyond my own comprehension– this is where I learn who I am. I’ve come to realize that my worth is derived from Him– everything He creates has great purpose, but we humans– His children– even with all of our imperfections– have the greatest potential to become something greater and better than any of His other creations.

Man is a god in embryo and has in him the seeds of godhood, and he can, if he will, rise to great heights.

–Spencer W. Kimball

It doesn’t matter who our earthly parents are or were or what we’ve done in the past or what other people have done to us or what the world or friends or enemies say about our worth– we are all children of God. God doesn’t make mistakes or let things happen by accident. If we only get to know Him and then remember Him, we can be healed by Jesus Christ and know our worth, not just rely on others to define it, and not just fantasize about having worth. If you long to know your worth just as I have and as so many hundreds of millions of others, I’m willing to talk further about this personally. Just shoot me a message here.

 

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed inus.

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

–Romans 8:16-21

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

–1 John 3:2-3

Lethargy: More Destructive than the Armies of the Earth

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

Lethargy is perhaps the single most destructive habit civilization has ever known: hatred, greed, and rebellion are simple to identify due to their forwardness, boldness, and loudness, but lethargy is pervasive– it’s so secret a demon that not even those affected by it realize the dark cloud they are under. I would submit that a good percentage of the developed world is suffocating under a reign of lethargy; the abuse of power many complain about today is only a secondary problem– it is the decay of the human will that has allowed this sense of subtle tyranny to creep into our society. Before we can even attempt to correct political evils, we must first begin with the people. This diseased people must awake and try to live for something bigger than themselves– clear the cobwebs from their minds and begin to work. I don’t mean that we need to get everyone off of welfare and start doing physical labor (though that would be a good start, to be quite honest). People need to develop wills and backbones of their own again. This cannot be done with some law or any executive power (quite the contrary– it seems that so many laws and exercised powers have eroded the collective human spirit); this must be done with choice. This is such an individual thing that it’s almost whimsical as to how many governmental and corporate fix-it programs are throwing money at these kinds of things. It’s not about the world as a whole; while it takes everyone in the world to do it, it’s fiercely and beautifully individual. There are few things more powerful than the human resolve– indeed, those of us who have hopes in Christ know that even with all of His power and might and majesty, we cannot change, improve, or be healed without our own willpower to do and be so. Only then can His power truly take full effect.

Yes, among the chiefest monsters we battle today is the demon of Lethargy, of Laziness, of Witlesness, of Sapped Willpower. This demon sucks away the life of hundreds of millions of people today, and then the other monsters of evil come and feast on the remains like so many buzzards– they eat up Morality, they gorge on Civility, they wolf down Purity, but only after Lethargy has removed the life force from the being. Very rarely do these other demons kill on their own.

So, to begin, I will strengthen my resolve to be something to act, not something to be acted upon.

A Good Story's End

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

Some may scoff, but I find that all of the Zelda games provide a story about as excellent as the kind of books I love read. I feel that I just spent a quiet, rainy day near the fireplace reading an exciting chapter in a good book whenever I put the controller down– whether it be the old Super Nintendo version or the newest Wii version. Now that I have finished the Wii episode, known as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I have not come away disappointed. The game really tied together a lot of parts of other Zelda stories that I played growing up; now I know exactly where the Master Sword came from and how it got its powers, what the whispers in most of the games about the ancient race of skydwellers known as the Hylia mean, how and why Gannondorf (one of the main enemies common throughout most of the games) keeps on coming back, how the Kingdom of Hyrule was started, and quite a bit more. It’s really quite amazing how all of the Zelda stories fit together in a chronology that spans thousands of years from the creation of the world down to the dark but hopeful end of the world and even through alternate timestreams (as in if the hero succeeded in this story, these are the outcomes, and if the hero failed, these are the outcomes). Link, the main protagonist of all of the games, exhibits such good qualities– he is the hero that most other stories attempt to create but often fail at. He is the type of human being– imperfect yet possessing an unbreakable spirit– that all of us ought to strive to be. He actually has morals. He actually tries to be a part of something bigger than himself. The morals that the story teaches as well as the incredible imagination that it inspires are both especially noteworthy.

For the good of those who will never play a Zelda game simply because they are not the gaming type, I provide for you the ending of Skyward Sword, from when the demon known as Demise is defeated to when Zelda and Link (the person who played this and recorded it named his Link “André”) to when Link and Zelda decide to stay on the surface while their friends and even family return to their island home in the sky, and this is where the Kingdom of Hyrule is born.

If you do intend to play this version of Zelda, I suggest you don’t watch this as it will give away a lot of things that will be more exciting if the storyline builds them up first.