May 03, 2018


I'm graduating college.

I'm finally graduating college.

I'm graduating from university.

In 8 days, I will be a college graduate.

Sorry, I'm still trying to convince myself that this isn't a wild, Percocet induced dream.  My one and only daughter will also be graduating this month, one week after me.  She has fought one hell of a battle the last year and a half, she's done an amazing job.  My little family has been through trial after trial the last couple of years.  Dark shadows clawing at the health of my husband, my child, and perhaps even myself.  The strain on our home has been overwhelming, but we still have a house and we still have our vehicles and we still have food.  And for now, we still have a place to work.  We all got this far, we'll continue to fight until the shadows abate.

I still feel strange doing this at 40.  I know there are a lot of people proud of me for returning and finishing, it's not something everyone gets to accomplish.  My time in the military came back to serve me and it will serve my daughter next fall as well.  It's not a lot, but a years worth of paid tuition is a big help.  She's ready to fly the nest and take on her next steps in life, I'm not sure that I'm entirely ready for it.  I hope I've prepared her enough for what's coming, I hope she has enough armor to combat the world around her.  I was watching the most recent episode of the Handmaid's Tale last night, all I could think about was the character and her mother would be My Girl and myself should our country ever fall to extremism.  She'd want to live her life and hope for the best while I was raging against something that seemed invisible.  My greatest fear has always been that my issue, however far removed, would see martial law and possibly war in their own country.  I desperately fear oppression plaguing my intelligent girl.  All I can do is arm her and hope for the best.

When I was putting up my senior exhibition I felt somewhat out of place.  I've mentioned in the past that I often felt boorish and unrefined around my instructors and peers.  Peers being an odd word, given that my general life was in line with my instructors but my learning level was with that of the students.  Either way, 15 years in industry added some rough edges that are hard to shape down.  My work became very similar.  No matter how hard I tried to make it polished and perfect, I simply couldn't.  I wound up taking a steel forming class this last semester and that opened me up to a whole new world.  Our show was very female heavy, all the visual arts works were made by women and feminism was a constant theme.  Here I was with these heavy, overt, somewhat garish pieces in a room full of soft paintings, pictures, and etchings.  Tiara's of steel tools and items of trade embellished with metal leaf.  I liked what I made, I just felt out of I usually do.

Trying to maintain an air of humility as well as being proud of myself is another internal battle that continues to rage.  The last thing I want to do is give off an air of superiority.  Yes, I'm a university graduate, but I was blue collar way before I was bonafide.  All fears aside, I'm happy that I took this leap, I certainly never intended to.  All during my enlistment I said I would never go back to college, it was too much and I was never in love with school to begin with.  I went back in an effort to salvage my family's sticky financial situation, military housing pay is nice to have when paychecks from your job can't be counted on.  As with joining the military, and working in a warehouse, any action I've taken over the years has been for the preservation of my child's well being.  I rather like security.  Having a side bonus just makes the sacrifice that much better. 

So here we are.  A husband with a fresh look at life and business.  An 18 year old graduating high school, got her own car, about to leap into the world.
A 40 year old with an art degree, looking at new paths hoping to DO something with her life before it's too late. 

Contrary to popular belief, I do look before I leap....sometimes it's a glance, but that's still a look.

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