When you tell people you graduated they all smile and say congratulations.  When you tell them you wrote a book they all say they want your life.  You laugh and smile and brush it all off, say thank-you, thank-you.

But really, you want to tell them to fuck-off.  That graduating means that something is over, and like those stupid stages of Grief (Denial, Anger Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) you are angry. You’ve walked around with a blank, shocked expression like you saw a crime committed in the alley after the bar closed for weeks but now you are just pissed. In fact, you want to tell Elizabeth Kubler-Ross to shove it, because you’re feeling all of those crappy feelings at once (except Acceptance, or course) and not in neat, smooth stages but in one big, blurry mess.

You remember when you graduated with your BA. You remember the party (well the beginning of it) and the handshakes and cards and books.  Yes, books.  Tons and tons of books for the new graduate that you never read.  They just collected dust from year to year in a messy pile next to the computer desk.

This time: there’s no party to try and remember.  In fact, the words “I graduated” come out in a whisper.  You’re more comfortable saying “I’m a student.” Though now that’s a big fat lie.  Sometimes, you say it anyway because it feels good, like biting the inside of your cheek when you’re nervous or the way those ugly, soft pajama pants your step-mom bought you feel at night when it’s cold.

“I graduated,” you say to yourself in the morning but it still feels wrong, like now you are someone else because you tallied up a bunch of credits and requirements and organized them neatly on a sheet of paper for a registrar to sign and say, “Congratulations.”


7 Responses to “Graduation”

  1. I congratulate you, my GOD! Congratulate yourself, girl! This shit is HUGE!!! Give a bitch some credit where credit is due, will ya?!

  2. I agree with bpof, you worked hard for this, it is HUGE!

  3. 5 Matt Dahl

    I get all the sentiment behind this. I also like saying I’m a student. Which is partly why I’m continuing on right away to my next degree! You could have a party, though, you know. I’m having one. Are you coming?

  4. 7 Candace

    Hey at least you’re not still in that truck in El Paso. It’s hard any time you have to change a routine, even if you’re not bipolar. You could get more letters behind your name, like a phd if you miss school. That’s my vote if I get one. Maybe you could try on a different scenario (mentally, like a vacation) one that makes this seem like a piece of cake. I would list some but they might be too dark. I don’t know if it makes any difference but I’m really proud of you and I know your friend Sheila(?) is too. It’s hard to enjoy a feeling of pride if you’ve been treated to one of those less than stellar childhoods, but I hope you can a least have a moment, you deserve the sparklers and smiles on adding this to your list of accomplishments.

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