In my last post, I talked about an upcoming commencement ceremony at my university, the one where I would turn my tassel and formally celebrate my Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Now, I’m going to tell you how it went.
I’ve said it in much the same way to anyone who will listen for months on end: Although it took eight years, three schools, and one change in my major, I am FINALLY graduating with a bachelor’s degree!
Those numbers are worth noting (and repeating) because it’s so drastically different from my original plan. I graduated from high school in 2010 with the expectation that I’d have a bachelor’s degree in music from the university I’d enrolled in, within three or four years. I anticipated a life fulfilling my purpose as a musician, but Life had a few things to say about that. As a result, I’ve gone back and forth, trudging through and taking successes where I could get them, all to get to Thursday, May 24th, 2018. That is when I will be walking in Commencement with my fellow graduates, with my family, friends, and loved ones watching on. It wasn’t an easy path, but I got there.
I need to write about it because I feel physically ill when I’m excited or anticipating some Great Big Thing, like this upcoming ceremony. I’ll chalk it up to nerves because saying happiness is making me feel sick sounds strange to some. I’m not worried about anything…at least, nothing I can come up with at the moment. As weird as it sounds, I’m looking forward to the ceremony too much. The hyped-up energy is building in me and I have no way to let it out, save for going through Commencement and putting a nice proverbial bow on the whole event. Writing provides some solace, though.
Tuesday marked my last day of undergraduate classes. I am on track to graduate this month, and to walk in commencement next May. After seven years, three schools, and two majors, I’m finally going to get a bachelor’s degree. This is something I’ve been waiting for, something I didn’t think would happen since I had to drop out of the first university I went to. When I felt like a failure, I didn’t think I’d ever be in this position, much less in the wake of all the changes I’ve made since then.
And yet…I’m not happy.
I’m done and should be happy
I’m done and should be happy but there is still empty
Shadows creep back in, embracing any good thing in sight
And hugs…hard. Tight. Unyielding. Unforgiving.
How dare you?
Why even try?
With the last stapled bunch, I end a chapter
In search of a book I’ve never known
A book that, for all I know, doesn’t even exist
I don’t know if I could write it
If that’s what it came to
There is no nostalgia
And if either existed for any length of time
The moment was brief
As if they never existed
I have been lazy for the majority of my summer, and on one hand, I don’t regret it. I took on far too much last semester, and I had resolved to make my vacation between semesters as stress-free as possible.
On the other hand, I’ve been lazy for the majority of the summer. I’ve been waking up as late as five-o’-clock in the afternoon for the past few weeks, and I’ve gone through the same routine. I wake up, eat and/or watch YouTube videos, have dinner with my family, then either get straight back into watching videos or playing an MMORPG. I do sometimes add to the fan fiction I talked about in a previous post, but aside from dates with my boyfriend and errands with my mom, I don’t get out much. That ordinarily wouldn’t bother me, except that now…it does.
I want to take a moment to ponder the enormity of the situation, but more importantly, how it become so enormous to begin with.
Today, social media has mixed reviews. These websites are simultaneously hated and beloved, and we can connect them to each other for maximum share-age. They don’t remain websites, but instead transform into something bigger than ourselves. That’s part of why just a few minutes ago, I deactivated my Facebook account.
I remember when I was finally able to persuade my mom to let me sign up for a Facebook account. The site attracted me because it could give me the ability to stay connected to friends and family members, as well as make new friends. So, it wasn’t the games or the pages that held the allure–it was the desire to form and maintain meaningful connections. So, even though my mom had reservations about how safe it was to be on such a site, she realized the connection potential and gave me permission. I was in high school when I made the account I just deactivated, and despite myself, there is a bit of nostalgia happening.
I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to put this into words, and it hasn’t been easy. Heck, I’m not even sure the following words will be the best way to explain it. Even so, they’re the only words I have right now, and I hope you’ll be able to understand all the same.
Maybe you remember that time in your childhood when you knew for certain that something you’d done or said was wrong. I’m talking about the immediate feeling afterwards that comes from observing the effect, such as seeing the other kid look sad or start crying. It’s the feeling that tells you that you messed up, and that it wasn’t right that something you did hurt the other person. For me, it’s always felt like a pit that opens in my chest, somewhere above my stomach. It appears instantly, and depending on the situation, the hole may or may not close. It’s the feeling that compels you to apologize, to try making up for what you did. It’s a learning moment, one in which we begin to understand what empathy is.