Thursday, February 24, 2011
I walked down the street with the rest of my graduating class. All of us, swathed in black. A sea of darkness as we walked, side-by-side, to the main auditorium.
Did I really KNOW anyone there? A few former classmates. A few faces were recognizable in the blur of our movement as we walked ahead. Following the trail of the robes that swayed before us.
Into the auditorium.
I thought to myself, amazing. You're actually here. You're actually going to walk across that stage and accept that diploma.
I had put over 5 years into this. I started off one class at a time, not sure I'd truly want to apply for the official program. Not sure I deserved a chance at a second career. In my lifetime, was it fair that I stopped the work I'd been doing for over nine years and moved ahead into something I had more passion for? Was it okay for me to do this?
So many memories ... I remember the day, way back when, when I started that first class. Nervous. Excited. Overwhelmed. Totally unsure. And on the edge of my seat the entire time. So new. So young.
Weeks in I can recall sitting across a table from my boyfriend at the time. He asked me why I really wanted to do this. I remember the emotion. The response. The frustration I felt when I knew he didn't get it. I remember telling him that one of my best friends was constantly undermining me when I spoke about school. A Master's program.
Why? Why would you do that? Why do you want to? ... she asked that and more.
I shared with him that I felt she was envious. I probably said jealous. She'd barely gotten through her first degree and wanted to do what I was doing. Whatever stopped her, it did. I never judged. I was a proud and supportive friend. She was stuck.
But was that any reason to try to discourage ME? Hold ME back?
No. No it wasn't.
I walked along. Sea of black. This was my time. It was my turn. My day.
I looked around for my family. My husband. My HUSBAND? I had a husband now. Wow, so much had changed. My parents. My brother. As at many a graduation before. My sister-in-law. My brother was married now, too.
I walked. I looked. I walked. I looked.
I found them. I laughed. I forget at what, exactly. My brother - probably. I can see the pictures in my mind's eye as I write this. My bright smile. The way my parents looked. My mom probably wiping away a tear or two.
Sit. And stand. Sit again. And stand again.
And wait. Walk. Walk. Step by step. Up to the stage. Listening for my name. Looking out at the crowd. There it was. My turn to walk across the stage. Take with the left. Shake with the right. Or something. Turn and smile. Flashbulbs. Or digital cameras. Me, someone else? It didn't matter.
This was my day.
And I was damned proud of myself.
This post was written in response to a prompt over at Writer's Workshop : Describe a time when someone was proud of you.
I am sharing this post again for the May 30th prompt for The Red Dress Club. It's important to re-use and recycle, so I'm doing so with posts, as well!