I had rehearsal last night for graduation. Makes me laugh, considering I've done about a dozen children's musicals with zero rehearsal. Not really zero, I'd practiced in my bedroom. But you'd think by college we'd all be pretty familiar with standing in a line. I guess when you throw in sitting and walking across the stage your average community college student is thrown for a loop.
But, come on now, if we're in college we've at least had three other graduation ceremonies. Elementary, Middle and High school. And although I can't really remember them all I bet younger minds can recall the pomp and circumstance.
I was the speaker at my Elementary school graduation. Master of Ceremonies they called it. Well before the days of PC, the idea of calling me Mistress of Ceremonies didn't even occur to anyone. I remember wearing a mauve suit (probably one of the last times I wore a suit) and my hair was short. I suppose I looked like a mini-version of the adult me, had I ever really grown into an adult.
Junior High graduation I don't remember. Which is good. At this point I don't remember much of middle school. Maybe Dan Savage should change the slogan to "You'll forget" instead of "It gets better." I'm pretty sure I sang something and I'm very sure I was glad it was over.
High School...ah, High School. I really came into my own in High School. I was finally popular, comfortable in my own skin (as comfortable as a teenager can be), I had boyfriends galore, a keen sense of fashion and very big hair. I was Senior Class President. A fact that my therapist likes to remind me of...oh, how did I get so far off the track to success. Don't all Senior Class Presidents end up as town leaders and pillars of society? Well, you know, I like to break the mold.
I graduated High School in 1990. Long before the days when students were sue happy. Not that I have a problem with sue happy students, especially when they're on my side of the argument. Now Atheists sue when the school board wants to hold graduation in a mega-church and they win! But I, I didn't feel I had that option. But I still asked. I walked up to the Principal and asked her if there was going to be a prayer at the ceremony and she explained that there would be. That they switched back and forth from a Priest to a Rabbi from year to year to make everyone happy. And I plainly told her that I didn't believe in god at all, so couldn't we skip it this year? Nope. She walked away.
Public school, mind you...notice the blending of church and state. And notice the complete lack of regard for the Muslim religion...or any other religion that was represented in my school.
Still makes my blood boil.
Now, as the Senior Class President I got to make a speech, so I was seated on the stage. And when the Priest or Rabbi got up and asked everyone to bow their heads for a moment of prayer I defiantly kept my head up high. Looking out at the audience, wondering if anyone noticed my bold act, I saw my mom with her head up, looking at me. She raised me well. And we sat there throughout the prayer holding each others gaze. Two people out of 500 plus who were brave enough to be different. To stand up for what we believed in. Or what we didn't believe in.
I wonder if there'll be a Priest or Rabbi at graduation today. I should have asked.
And now, as I sit here writing this, it looks like we're going to be rained-out, or rained-in. And it doesn't look like there's enough room for all of the students and our guests in the theatre. So the whole thing might just be a cluster fuck.
But I am graduating. I am done. Now...what to do next?