Saturday, June 11, 2011

Proud Parents

A friend of mine graduated this week, and I joined her after the ceremony to take pictures and congratulate her. She and her very proud parents were all smiles - it was a really beautiful sight. I was so proud of her myself; I really got caught up in the moment, and reveled in all of the joy.

Being there, I started to wonder why I hadn't invited all of my friends to join me on the grass for pictures as per my university's tradition. It seemed so joyous. Standing there with her, I somehow didn't understand how my own convocation could be tainted with any emotion other than joy or pride.

Then when things wrapped up, I walked home. Alone. To an empty apartment. And thank God I had sunglasses, because I cried the whole damn way.

As soon as I walked away, the images of my grad had shifted from friends like dear M***** congratulating me on the grass to images of my parents hugging me and smiling at me like hers were on that day. Images that are no more than fiction for me. Empty hopes.

It's not fair. Mommy, Daddy: you wanted me to graduate, just like you? You both had your parents with you. I don't.

And I don't know how I can be proud of myself without you there to show me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Looming Convocation

I am trying so hard to be proud of myself, and to celebrate my accomplishments.

But I keep failing to understand what exactly I should celebrate when in these last four years I've lost so much more than I've gained.

I had a year and a half of the "undergraduate experience," and the rest of the time was spent in mourning. I resent that so much. I resent this institution for being the place I found out they died. I resent my peers for achieving the same degree as me under far more favourable circumstances. I resent my registar for sending me congratulatory e-mails. I resent the fact that I'm graduating with a GPA .01 away from high distinction - in other words, if life hadn't decided to kick me in the proverbial balls, I would probably have a 4.0 with a ton of extracurriculars to put on my resume.

I think what hurts the most is that, when I get up on that stage, only two people in that room will know what I struggled through to get there. Only two.