Saturday, March 14, 2009

proudest day


My next photo entry for Susannah's class is me, on the day I received my Master of Fine Arts degree. The photo of me in my cap and gown is resting on my diploma, which is one of my most prized possessions.

People go to grad school for many reasons: some because their career path demands an advanced degree, others in the hopes that it will lead to a better job more quickly. I did it for entirely emotional reasons: I needed to feel strong and validated.

My life had been ripped apart a few years earlier at the hands of my uncle and aunt, and I needed to prove to THEM that I hadn't bought into their lies about my character. I wanted to say "Ha! You thought you could destroy me? You thought I would curl up and die? You thought your words could shrink me down? I am still here and LOOK! I made myself better IN SPITE of you. You have no power over me and you did not break me."

My motto was (and still is): "The Greatest Revenge is Success." Which means that when people screw you over, believe lies about you, and basically throw you under a bus to save themselves, you don't get revenge by setting their house on fire, keying their car, plotting ways to make their lives miserable, or doing any number of things that could land you in prison.

You know what people hate? When they've treated you like crap and expect you to fail, and you turn around and become a successful person who absolutely shines. That is revenge. You haven't hurt anyone, and in fact, have bettered yourself in the meantime. When I held that diploma, a lot of the grinding rage drained away; I was so filled with pride that there wasn't much room for any other emotion. And I still feel that way when I hold it today.

April 22, 1995. The proudest and happiest day of my life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should be proud. :-)
and you look beautiful in the photo by the way.