So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time
For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while

Today I convocated. I can now put those glorious letters, B.F.A., behind my name. I even have a cool piece of paper to prove it.

I graduated, with distinction, from the Honors program today. I'm pretty sure that's awesome however you look at it. Especially considering I did it without registering for disability status, because I do have recognized disabilities, and they did affect things, especially for my art show ideas. I had a lot of help. I worked very hard. And in the end, I'm glad of all of it.

But the cost? Some of my health, some of my sanity, and over $35,000 of debt. (Looking forward to paying that all off, that's a priority for me.)

When I first came to the U of S, I was still in high school finals and only a few days in to classes when turmoil erupted at home. I started out in the college of Music, when I auditioned I was given a top spot in the Vocal area. They thought I might be a contralto. The problem was that I was just too emotionally shot from what was happening in my private life to be able to cope - the voice is a part of the holistic body, and my voice was hidden under stress and some really terrible emotional scars. I buried myself in the workload. Did way too many things.

One of the posts I made in my first month of University, back in my old LiveJournal, said this: "Is dawn coming? I feel abandoned. I feel like the world is torn apart. And I feel as though even if I tell people, no one can help me."

I've come a long way since that darkness, but my heart still breaks for the sadness of that girl, six and a half years ago. I ended up leaving music. Couldn't hack it. I came to art because I knew inside myself that there would be some kind of freedom to release that darkness in a healthier way.

At that time, I had a favourite quote from Lord of the Rings:

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were...and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was
when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines
it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
They kept going. Because they were holding on to something...
That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

And it was. And I fought for it, and I'm still fighting. I'm in an emotional state that is worlds better. And I just walked across the stage into a new horizon of living. I am very optimistic about the future. Sure, I generally share more of my optimism than my pessimism on here. Partly this is in attempt to starve out the pessimism which crowded out my worldview for far too long, and partly this is because at the heart of me, where I am most truly myself, I am all about hope and the future. It's one of the reasons that my final art show (which is the BFA equivalent to a thesis, so it's appropriate to discuss here) was personally if not academically about exposing the past, which is dark, and looking towards the future, which is bright.

Today as I sat listening to the speeches for our benefit as University graduands, I remembered what my high school band teacher told me. "Out of all the students I've taught in my career, you are the most likely to succeed. You have the creativity, the drive, and the confidence. You can do whatever you decide to do." He was right. I almost believed him even when he said it. I know that I am going to be a very successful person in whatever I end up doing with this life: photographer, artist, salesperson, designer, wife, mother... Whatever comes, I feel like I'm almost ready for anything now. I have high hopes. I wouldn't have it any other way. Hope is something I will never lose. It's too precious.

I've done a lot of praying about the future lately. A lot of my hopes and dreams lie in the balance of time and decision. Some very big and life-changing dreams: family, career, health: those are no longer on the back burner with classes at the forefront. Where do I go from here?

Back to my life theme song.

Desperate for changing,
Starving for truth,
Closer to where I started
Chasing after you
I'm falling even more in love with you
Letting go of all I've held onto
I'm standing here until you make me move
I'm hanging by a moment here with you
I'm living for the only thing I know
I'm running and not quite sure where to go
And I don't know what I'm diving into
just hanging by a moment here with you
There's nothing else to lose
There's nothing else to find
There's nothing in the world that could change my mind
There is nothing else

Grad was fun today. It was a totally different experience than my high school grad. There were boring swaths, but I also got to see a few of my very good friends and a number of people I went to high school with graduate, and I got to hang out with my fellow BFA students in the lineup before and in the seats during the ceremony. The one dude addressed us about the Economy and how we have to be more Productive, which was a good exhortation, though at a few moments it felt very much like a research paper rather than an address to graduating students. I guess I was expecting the movie-style address and this one was impersonal, though entirely relevant. The nerd in me really did enjoy it. Afterwards I went to Earls for lunch with my parents and took almost all of the day off.

Walking across the stage was a great moment for me. It felt GOOD having accomplished something with so much pomp and circumstance, even if hundreds of others accomplished similar things too. (A significantly smaller number had Honors degrees with Distinction, I guess. That makes the overachiever in me feel better.)


  • Current Mood: full triple-letter nerd
  • Current Music: Lifehouse - Hanging By A Moment