One Last Time

The 20s are all about finding meaning. There are so many times where we look to different sources and other people to find meaning when more often than not, that meaning can be found within ourselves. Sometimes the personal truths we hold are so big even we, ourselves, do not believe them. Yet still, we know them to be self-evident and must accept them in order to master them. Truths have no power unless they have been spoken into existence. The hardest actualities to share are that of ourselves. We know the truth of who we are. Are we ever ready for the world to know though? One last time we tell the truth.
"We are what we believe we are" C.S. Lewis
It only occurred to me a few weeks ago that for someone who spends a lot of time, at least in writing, talking about themselves, I actually dislike talking about me. I was doing my fraternity "All About Me" presentation and all of them remarked that almost all of the stuff I had displayed was new to them. They remarked how uncanny it was that for someone who knew most things about everyone else how little they actually knew about me. I replied that people always think that they know but very few people every actually do, and that's a process that takes some time. My big secret is I'm really good at letting people gets lots of superficial information about me that leaves them never wanting to ask questions about me and get down to business. In reality, it's my way of striving to be humble. I really do want people to ask about me. It's that no one really does because they don't see the need to. Isn't it jarring to you to feel so connected to a person but to come to the realization that you know so little about them? I have that effect on people. My personal truth is that I rarely share my personal truths. For one last time though, I will for you all.

The quote I chose for this post sums it up perfectly. Throughout my entire college experience I knew myself to be something extraordinary. I always knew I wasn't like everyone else. I was different for so many reasons. Thinking back on all the times I complained about wanting to be normal, blend in, and to be like everyone else I laugh. I couldn't have been. I was always me and that meant standing out. I believed myself to be empathetic, enduring, and exact - that was who I was. But do you know how weird it is to know you're cut from a unique cloth (mine's made of Kente #teamGhana)? Do you know what is to be conscious of own individuality? Do you understand how hard it is to be humble, to never believe your own hype, and to constantly deny what you know deep down to be true? So many people have said it. They would say that there's something special about me; that I shouldn't actually exist; and that all that I was capable of doing was unheard of. What gets me is that it was my normal. I loved the constant organized chaos, the tight deadlines, the extra work, and all the running around. It kept me busy but to others it was like I was working miracles, moving mountains, and speaking the gospel truth. I'll never fully get what other people see in me, but I do my best to live up to it daily.

Graduation weekend can be described by nothing short of a blur of smiles, cries, and hugs. My face hurt so much from emoting so many different thing in such a short period of time. Saturday started with the ALANA graduation where Nelson Mandela's words went straight to my heart and moved me. From there it was on to Zach's graduation for his master's in accountancy. Again I was overcome with emotion seeing him sit and be hooded for his hard work. I couldn't believe he was up there. After all the long nights, the even longer days, and all the scrambling in between - he had done it. I was so happy for him. I yelled so damn loud and was unabashed about it. I didn't care that people around us gave us dirty looks. I was there for him and no one else. If you're celebrating someone you had better go all out. What's the point of keeping calm and coy? This moment would only happen once and I was intent on making sure he heard me all the way up there. Outside we were greeted by all the other phenomenal people who had graduated. It was so good to see so many people upbeat, positive, and enjoying themselves. Friends I had made along the way in Adam, Evan, and Mike all passed by and I expressed my congratulations. What phenomenal accomplishments - I can only imagine what they went through to make it there.
One last time only became real for me when my parents rolled up on Saturday afternoon. They had never been to Vermont and so seeing them in the place was too much to handle. I walk outside and immediately broke down. I couldn't believe it. They were really there. I was actually graduating. Four years of work in isolation (relatively) had come down to this. In we went to meet the people, Zach's parents, Derrick, Lisa, Jake, and Will. I think for them it was like meeting mythical beings of some sort. My mom, dad, and sister who I talked about constantly had arrived in the flesh. People always make more sense to me whenever I meet their parents or siblings - the same must go for me because I wasn't so complicated, but could be comprehended. We attended a reception for the graduating ALANA students with President Sullivan and that was the beginning of me standing somber while faculty, staff, and students gushed about me. It was overwhelming. People were struggling to put into words how much I had meant to them or the impact that I had had on the university. Slowly but surely my parents were coming to understand just what I had done. Person after person would come up and introduce themselves, share some profound story that not I ever really remembered, thank them for letting me come to UVM, and disappear. It was absolutely unreal. My parents are the same way, all kind of looking at the ground, listening intently, but just grateful and unassuming. It was a lot to take in and I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. One last time - it was all coming together.

Catch the rest of this story in part 2 with "It All Ends Here"
My blog post question for the day is ... what has been the most memorable day of your life so far? I would say either this or meeting my niece, Quinn for the first time.


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