Saturday, May 9, 2015

JMC Commencement!

Yesterday was big, but today was the REALLY big day: James Madison College Commencement. 

Today I walked into the Wharton Center a senior, and walked out a graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Comparative Cultures and Politics. My family came to see me, the room was packed, the jazz band was sublime, I got one last glimpse of the handful of professors I remember fondly, and I got to share in this moment with all of my Madison friends, especially all my #JMCBrownBeauties buddies seated to my right.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures or chat with friends after the ceremony like I did yesterday, and I'll tell you why. Now, let me be candid for a moment. Someone who wasn't supposed to be there, was there today. That person was my dad. We had a falling out back in September, and I haven't spoken to him since. All communication that's come from his end has been ignored for the past 7 months. Please understand, I don't hold a grudge against my dad, and I don't hate him. There's no malice or ill will toward him. But due to things that have happened in the past and the way our relationship has always been, I had to make a decision for myself. Some people you just have to cut loose, and back in September I came to terms with the fact that it's best for me not to interact with my dad, for my own stability and peace of mind. 

As such, he was not invited to my graduation. But he showed up anyway, uninvited. I have absolutely no idea how he found out when and where to be, but he was there. In the front row to boot. I was in the very last row of graduates, so coincidentally my dad ended up sitting right behind me, trying to get me to acknowledge him the whole time. After the ceremony ended and we new alumni proceeded out of the hall, he tried to ambush run up on me like everything was cool between us. I felt cornered and disrespected, and so I ended up shouting at him before I flew out of the building crying. So I didn't get a chance to hang around inside and speak to my friends and fellows, because I was in shock and afraid of being followed or making a scene.

Instead, I shared photo ops with my amazing family, who had traveled from Kentucky and Indiana to support me. And just when I started to feel disappointed about not being able to talk to my buddies for the last time, up walked my friend Marlee. She's in the same class as all of us but is taking an extra semester, so today she just came to support her fellow JMads. Out of all the people I missed this afternoon, I'm glad that she was the one person I was able to see. It just made perfect sense. She's such a humble, sweet, caring and supportive human being, and she was genuinely happy for everyone. Seeing her helped me forget about all the drama with my dad (who made himself scarce, thankfully). Plus, when I'd seen her in Ann Arbor on Thursday she did not look well! She's still plenty sick now, but I was relieved to see that she'd made it back to campus safely. I am so incredibly grateful that you exist, Marlee. Thank you for being the last Madison face that I had the honor and pleasure of seeing today.

And of course, a huge thank-you and many blessings to my family. It sure is wonderful to feel supported. I told my 77-year-old grandpa (see behind me to my right) that I was glad he could be there, and you know what he told me? He told me that he hadn't even thought he'd be around long enough to see this day! Glory be to God for his blessings of longevity, love, and family! Y'all kept telling me today was my day, but the way I see it, this was you all's day. All of you had a hand in getting me to this point, and I don't take it for granted. I am eternally grateful for the family I was given. God Bless all y'all!

And congratulations to errbody!! We made it!!!

(7 down, 1 to go...)

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