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.
Back in #6, I wrote about feeling physically ill when I’m happy about something. Now, I’m going to let you in on another way my brain sucks: it makes me miserable just ahead of something that already sucks.
Allow me to explain.
In a post from last year, titled “I Should Be Happy,” I talked about finishing my undergraduate education and not feeling the familiar giddiness of reaching a goal–of a job well done. I’m here to tell you that feeling has not gone away.
In fact, it’s only gotten worse.
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 got carried away
One turned into many
Scraps of paper on my right
Shapes in my hands
An uncertain future?
A lack of hope?
Existing in the in-between of meaningful and meaningless?
Yet another star.
It attracts and distracts
When the world is running faster
Something I can change
When my hands can’t hold much else
Alone, yet swarmed?
In darkness and light?
Keeping muted screams in their place?
Yet another star.