i was an overachiever all throughout school. i was the teacher's pet in every class. i was the kid who stayed late after school to teach my gay math teacher who still lived with his parents our junior high cheerleading routines, the president of the model un. i took summer classes at university of california at berkeley. when i was in junior high. i was groomed to attend a four year university straight out of high school. but somewhere along the line i burnt out. i got scared. i didn't know what i wanted to do with my life. and that overwhelming question that seemed to need answering made me dread college. i made it as far as my associates degree and then i got the hell outta dodge--defected to new york city, where i told everyone i would "work for a year to save up money for school" then dive in.
any new yorker would snicker at that statement. generally the first year in new york beats you to a pulp. you're lucky if you come out even, let alone save money. and so it was i got caught up in the rat race. working to live, living to work. i was comforted to have a reason to put off school. after a while, i told myself it didn't matter to me. who needed a degree? i was making more money than many of my masters holding friends. but every year, come may, when, as an event planner or captain i would work my tenth graduation in a week, i would feel this big aching sadness. this unfinished business that hurt me. it wasn't about money or finding a career. it was just about achieving that goal that i took for granted since kindergarten, as though the degree would just magically appear on default.
finally, 30 was approaching. it was time. in the spring of 2005 i enrolled at that new school university. overcoming my fear to apply and begin was monumental. kim will recall walking me past the very building that i just spent the last four years of my life in, and me having what could only be described as a panic attack, while she went inside alone to request information that i refused to look at.
once i began though, i was in my element. teacher's pet again. loving my classes. studying photography. for the first time in, i don't know--ever, i felt like i was doing what i was supposed to be doing with my life. it was a blissful feeling.
slowly i weaned myself off of my soul-confining, though flexible and well paying catering job and threw myself into the art world, where i should have started out when i arrived in new york at twenty years old--were i not so scared.
so, in short, i've blown through the savings from my cushy job. i've racked up a staggering amount of student and credit card debt. i will not be scoring any higher-paying jobs due to my prestigious bachelor's degree. that's not the point. i did it for myself. for my peace of mind. and i couldn't be more thrilled.
yesterday i picked up my cap and gown. despite the poking fun at the pomp of it, and how old and behind it makes me feel, when i pulled that goldenrod hood out of the package, i got tears in my eyes. this evening i will graduate (divisional with name calling--and i don't me dipshit!). and again on friday (the whole school, probably with some protesters and the whole regalia at madison square garden)!
i'm having a party. if you somehow missed my invitation, just come to my house tonight at 8:30pm--64 diamond. the parents are here. and, incidentally, the catering hasn't fully left my blood. there will be a lot of food!