Anyone who’s seen me lately has probably seen my red, watery eyes and sniffling nose. They’ve probably thought it’s just allergies, but it’s not. The girl who never cries has been failing at holding back tears for going on weeks. And it’s not because I’m sad. It’s because I’m happy. I’m more than happy, I’m in awe.
I’m going to be graduating in the top 5% of my class in June, an achievement recognized by a lot of various honours and awards. I have been funded for a year straight in my research by the Gates Foundation, and I have been accepted to my dream graduate program. That I’m even making it to graduation has me in awe, the rest is icing.
Because for better or worse, my idea of myself has been formed around the only two long term relationships I have had, both of which ended with the man telling me that he didn’t believe I was ever going to make anything of myself. That I wouldn’t be able to achieve any worthwhile goals, that I would never be anything, anyone. That what I was doing was useless, and I would always fail. I shrugged it off as sour grapes from the first guy – after all, I was leaving him, finally breaking his hold on me. But the second one devestated me, and it’s been that tiny voice in the back of my head for the last two years. His voice, telling me that my choice of career and interests were part of the reason he was leaving me. The voice has been fading lately, and I expect that by June 09 it will be completely exorcised.
I am in awe that I have done what I have. The research, the conferences, the teaching – I’ve been going around thanking a few people in person the last few days, and each of them has said almost the exact same thing to me: that I have taken advantage of every opportunity to improve myself and expand upon my education. Every thanks has been met with a throwing it back upon me and what I’ve done, and I don’t shrug that off any more.
I am in awe of where I’m going. I’m not going to be doing…I don’t know. Something that locks me away in a tower somewhere. I’m going to be training to be in a position of influencing literal life and death decisions. That’s an awesome privilege, and power, to be facing.
As egotistic as it sounds, I see myself doing great things in my future. I see that I’m going to make a difference, and this isn’t something I saw even a few months ago. I see my potential, and I am not shrugging off and away or making excuses, I’m just looking at it, dead on, and it’s overwhelming to see.
So yes, if you see me, sniffly and watery red eyes, chances are I am caught in the beauty and the crispness of the moment, and am overwhelmed by the powerful feelings of love and gratitude towards those who’ve made this possible, who’ve supported me through my darkest hours and highest peaks. Chances are that my breathe is caught in my throat as I watch my future unfold in front of me, and chances are, chances are, I am finally, finally proud of what I have done, will do, and who I am.