Well, I graduated high school tonight. Fuck, it sounds so bizarre just saying it. But before I get into tonight's happenings, perhaps I should recap the last couple weeks. It's been a while since I've written any sort of journal so it feels weird having such a huge gap here.
So, on the 13th I officially became a legal adult (woo!) which was honestly insanely terrifying. But I got through it and am now pretty much an adult, so there's that. The entire week of my birthday was pretty much absolute hell, though. In fact, the past couple weeks have honestly been absolute hell. The week of my birthday was the week I was burdened with senior exams. Monday was math, which I sort of bombed but passed the class anyways, Tuesday was marine science, and then Wednesday (my birthday) was the multiple choice portion of my English exam with Thursday being set aside for the essay. Now, I'm just going to say Wednesday morning went very, very...horribly? I found out that Messenger Bag Boy (who I rambled about in my last entry) has a girlfriend-- I saw them kissing against the lockers of our first period hallway-- and things didn't work out with the other dude. I sent him a friend request but I later chickened out and deleted it, whether he saw it or not. I realized I just wasn't ready for the possibility of another trip down this horrendous road called love. I was thinking way too much about Le Crushboy and how perhaps I still wasn't over him yet. Of course, after turning 18 and thinking things over a bit, I decided I needed to be mature and responsible and just completely cut things off, so I ripped apart the last little possible tie I had to him: deleting his Skype contact. Now I have absolutely no reason to contact him nor a reminder of him anywhere near me. It was a bit of a hard decision but I don't even care; now that I'm an adult, I need to be mature and responsible and do what's right, and if that means cutting all ties with him, then fuck yeah, that's what I'll have to do. I was terrified of seeing him at graduation, tonight, though, but I'll get back to that in a little bit.
Fortunately, the night of my birthday went much better. Because of exams, I didn't want anything too big and extravagant, so we just ordered Chinese takeout and my grandmom came over for dinner. I must admit, though, that even though I didn't even have a birthday cake or get many presents, 18 may have just been one of the best birthdays ever for the sole purpose of graduation not being very far behind. Because of this, I honestly cannot even explain how much money I've gotten in the past week or so. I had gotten so much, in fact, that I decided to finally do something I've been wanting to do for quite some time in regards to cosplaying. But I don't plan on telling anyone yet. It's a surprise! Let's just say I have (what I think are) some pretty great things planned for this summer in regards to my cosplaying that I'm very excited to share with you all soon! If you like my facebook page (www.facebook.com/supereilonwyc…
), you'd know I posted a hint for my little top secret plans this past Monday, but I still won't be telling what it is yet! You're all gonna have to guess! Mwahahahahaha!
On a more academically related note, though, once I got through my senior exams, things reached a bit of a standstill. I had four days left of school with nothing really left to do-- what kind of teacher would make seniors do work after having already taken their final exams? The only teacher who negated that question was my marine science teacher, though I don't think I can necessarily complain about that because we got to dissect a starfish and it was pretty fucking cool but, you know. Those last couple days were sort of emotiona torture, though-- lots of anticipation for graduation but also lots of boredom from having very few things to do in class. The last day of high school was incredibly bittersweet, though, no doubt. Me and Hawkeye had grown to be pretty good friends with our math teacher, so it was sad saying goodbye to her, but I think the most bittersweet of teacher/student goodbyes was that of my visual design teacher. I had been in his class for three whole years now and while I never really said much in his class, that place had become like my safety zone and my absolute favorite part of the day. My teacher was such a lighthearted, relaxed, humorous person who never failed to make me laugh, either, even when I felt really down-- he was pretty much a carbon copy of Kevin James, if that gives you any indication of what he was like (they looked and acted almost exactly the same). Without his class, I never would've had any idea of how to do any of the edits I make today or have had the great opportunity to delve into the world of digital painting a bit. There were times when I would dread going to school, going through those same motions, but his class would often be the only thing that got me up in the morning and I couldn't be sadder that I'll never be back in his class (even if he said I was welcome to pop my head into his class any time if I come back to visit). Regardless, though, things were going to become tougher still come graduation night.
I had been feeling a lot of pressure from my impending graduation, especially since my grandparents up north had flown down just for the occasion this past Tuesday night. Mind you, my grandmother is an eighty year old cancer survivor so yeah, that just made this all an even bigger deal. Knowing they came down here pretty much solely for that purpose, though, did not help to quell my anxiety at all. My discomfort towards the entire idea of graduating had reached such a fever pitch that all I ever felt anymore was fear, hunger, and exhaustion. If I wasn't hungry, I was tired. If I wasn't tired, I was hungry. And I was fearful all the while. It was a very crippling way to live, honestly. While Wednesday was my last day of school, that doesn't mean I didn't have to go back at all. Thursday we had a mandatory senior breakfast and graduation rehearsal which honestly made me feel more anxious than ever before.
It wasn't the breakfast that bothered me so much as what followed it. My grandmom drove me to school and dropped me off outside the cafeteria, where they had a buffet line of breakfast food like scrambled eggs (which I omitted from my plate, thank you very much), bacon, sausage, potatoes, and biscuits. I found my friends and we all sat around and conversed with one another, having a great time, in the cafeteria. Afterwards, though, came the anxiety. Once everyone was finished their breakfast, we crossed over into the auditorium where we were forced to watch two excruciatingly long photo/video montages for senior year. Of course, none of my friends and I were in any of the pictures except for one of Val and our other friend, who submitted it. Even though I certainly don't care very much about many of the people at this school save for my friends, watching those montages really opened my eyes up to the fact that this is real, that I'm actually, officially leaving high school. That realization just helped spike my anxiety even higher. Not to mention we were in the auditorium, which has always given me major anxiety. Unfortunately, things got ultimately worse. After the montages, the senior coordinating director began ushering us into the gym across campus for a very informal graduation rehearsal, sending us off in groups by the first letter of our last name. Fortunately, Val and I were able to walk down together but when I got inside, things started to get really real, as the SCD said they would. The gym was set up just like how the football field would be tonight, with enough chairs for all of the graduates. Nametags were taped onto the back of each chair so we'd know exactly where we sat, or at least who we were sitting next to. Of course, I was in the second row from the stage. The SCD started rambling on about some nonsensical procedures and the very methodical way we were supposed to walk to and from the stage with a few test runs from a couple of the rows (my own included). Now, the gym gives me anxiety even worse than the auditorium does, so being stuck in there forced to listen to the procedures of we'd be required to follow for the most nerve-wracking night of my life was pretty much torture. By the time I got home, I was so emotionally drained, I slept for six and a half hours, barely ate due to stomach cramps, and then stayed up until 4am panicking.
Come this morning, I was absolutely not prepared to go through with what was required of me. Part of me wanted to just skip graduation and pick up my diploma later but I knew I'd regret it later and end up disappointing not only my parents but my gradnparents, as well-- including my eighty year old grandmother. So instead, i just tried to stay asleep for as long as possible in an attempt to avoid reality. Unfortunately, that didn't work out too well. My anxiety got the best of me and forced me to wake up. I had a really late breakfast and decided to start getting ready around noon. The day before, I had made plans to carpool with Tigress so my parents wouldn't have to drive me to the school (we had to be there around 5ish) and then wait an hour and a half before the ceremony started, so even though I knew I had plenty of time before she'd come to pick me up, I knew enough about myself to get ready super early to allot time for anxiety. Which was definitely a choice well made. I love showers, but the one problem is that they let you get lost in your thoughts and when your anxiety is at such a level as this, the last thing you want to do is get lost in your thoughts because then you no doubt overthink things and then BAM! Anxiety attacks all around. And in today's case, it got so bad I broke down into tears in the shower and had to hold my mom's hand for a half an hour. Yeah. But eventually I powered through it and was ready to go by the time Tigress showed up! Her dad chauffered us to the school gym where we got there a half an hour early but fortuntely beat the rush and were able to get our complimentary pre-graduation pictures before the line spanned the entire length of the gym (which was what happened about fifteen minutes later). After we had gotten our pictures, we tracked down our friends and sort of separated but basically chilled in the gym for about an hour (and by "we" I mean Hawkeye, Val, Hiddles, Tsukino, and our other friend [who I feel really bad I still haven't come up with a good alias for yet. Hmph.]). Of course, I'm not sure if the hour we spent in the gym, for myself, was exactly defined as "chilling" considering my anxiety was on high the entire time. There were some moments when I was fine but at other times, it was just a big pile of nope. I'd feel shaky and nauseous and like I couldn't go through with any of this-- not a fun time. It didn't really hit it's peak until we were back in those godforsaken seats, though. About fifteen minutes before heading out to the football field for the ceremony, we all sauntered to the folding chairs set up in the gym to hear some more procedural and prepatory crap and basically all-around stall until we could head out. Not a good idea. The SCD kept telling us to "take it all in", to "remember the sounds, the sights, the smells" of graduation because it'll all be over before we know it. Well, at the time it didn't quite feel like that but I assure you, I was muttering "shut the fuck up" under my breath as he was rambling on about tapping into our senses because I was currently on sensory overload and there was a little red light flashing simultaneously with a blaring siren in my head. I just wanted to fucking get out of there and into the fresh air, regardless of how hot it might be out there-- even though the heat woudn't be the most pleasant, either. Not that it wasn't hot as balls in the gym, though (which, the worst part was that we weren't even allowed to take our gowns off-- they said if we took them off, they wouldn't know whether we were actually graduating or if we had just meandered in there). But fortunately, we eventually made our way outside and the fresh air greeted me with a tiny dose of sanity and things started to calm down considerably. The bleachers were absolutely packed but I didn't even think about the fact that everyone was staring at me or that this was actually it-- I was actually graduating. As soon as I stepped outside, everything else seemed to melt away. I couldn't find my parents in the stands, unfortunately, but with the vast amount of people sitting up there, I wasn't surprised. I walked out to my seat with the rest of the class and the ceremony began. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it would be and during the ceremony, I didn't have any semblance of an anxiety attack (I mean, okay, there were a few little spurts here and there but nothing at all major). Overall, the ceremony, quite frankly, was vaguely...boring. I mean, after I got my "diploma" (parentheses because we didn't actually get our physical diploma-- just the case. We have to come back next week for the actual diploma) things were pretty redundant. I mean, I cheered for my friends, of course, as well, but after a while I just started getting fairly anxious for the time when we could move our tassels and toss our caps up in the air, you know? But I had to try and be patient, and it wasn't like we were all necessarily dying out there anyways. The heat wasn't too bad and there was a nice breeze, too, which helped cool us all a bit. The school was even nice enough to give us graduates a few simple accomodations like a program and bottle of water under every seat on the field. There were a few very heartwarming moments I can't leave unrecognized from tonight, though. Of the five hundred some graduates walking at the ceremony tonight, three of them were special needs students who mainly use wheelchairs for transportation. One of them was this mega-sweetheart I had known but wasn't really friends with from my visual design class. I'm not sure what sort of disorder he has but he has an automated wheelchair he drives around school and has slurred, almost struggled-sounding speech. He's adorable and incredibly sweet, though, and everyone knows him. The day before, during the montages, he actually made an appearance in one of the videos with an answer to the question of "Was high school what you expected?", to which he replied, "Not really. I didn't expect to have so many friends" (which triggered the entire room to collectively "awww!!!"). Well, considering he's always in his automated wheelchair and such, I wasn't sure if he was going to actually walk across the stage like the other two wheelchair-bound students had. Well, two of the special ed teachers had rolled him up the wheelchair ramp in the back in a regular wheelchair and with a walker like Mr. Fredericksen's from UP in hand, he walked across that stage and got his diploma, slowly but surely. It was undoubtedly the most iconic moment of the entire ceremony. The entire audience stood up in resounding applause and cheers and as he neared the end of the line of distinguished guests seated on the stage, one of the school administrators turned his attention to the audience and the standing ovation he had received and the look on his face was absolutely priceless-- he looked like he was on the verge of tears. It was the absolute sweetest moment and I'll never forget it. Even my mother and grandmother's said they were getting a little choked up just watching it. It's definitely quite an amazing experience seeing someone so determined to defy their disability and walk across that stage for their diploma like that, though. And the best part? He did the majority of it all by himself. He had two aids nearby to help just in case but the majority of it, he did all by himself.
After the rest of the names were called, we were finally nearing the end. The very last name was called, we were all asked to rise as the band played our alma mater, and then we moved our tassels to the left, the principal gave his final announcement, and then the traditionally iconic hats-in-the-air scene played out as Imagine Dragon's "On Top of the World" played over the speakers. And then that was it. The ceremony was over. I had graduated. I was officially a high school graduate. Even now, at four in the morning, I still don't know if it's all officially sunk in yet. As soon as everyone started moving out, I caught Val's attention (who was sitting in the row behind me) and we waited until our friends found us. Much to my surprise, our graduating friends weren't the only ones who found us. Apparently Ed, Taylor, Padfoot, and Hiccup had all been up in the stands cheering us on the entire time and I had no idea until they came running towards us on the football field to hug us. I can't even explain how excited I was to see them there, especially Hiccup since he's been away at college and I haven't seen him much since. We all got pictures together and caught up and whatnot until my parents and grandparents all decided it was time to go and we muddled through the traffic towards my favorite restaurant for dinner. By now it was nearly 9:30pm so we were all insanely hungry but fortunately the wait in the traffic was well worth it. My dad and grandmom were in a separate car so they got to the restaurant faster than we did and were able to get a seat right in the front. Our waiter was incredibly nice and had congratulated me when he learned I had just graduated, but that wasn't all. He was so kind, he gave me a plate of celebratory cinnamon knots on the house with the words "Congratulations Class of 2015" written in raspberry topping around the rim of the bowl. Unfortunately I was so full, I couldn't really get any down but we got a to-go box for them and then headed home to crash after a long day.
Overall, I have to say it was a very successful day and I couldn't have been happier with the way everything played out, anxiety or not. While it may not have hit me that I'm officially a high school graduate yet, the entirety of the ceremony was bittersweet. After getting pictures with my friends and catching up with them a bit, I got some pictures with family and as we were leaving, found my visual design teacher talking to some parents. When he noticed me come over, he dropped the conversation and gave me a hug before taking a picture with me. It was bittersweet knowing that this was really the end and that I'd never be in his class again, even though he said I could drop by any time and say hello if I was on campus for something. As my family and I left the school once everything was over, I did feel a small pang of sentiment for this horrible institution I was leaving. I'd be lying if I said this year's ending wasn't a relief, since I worked myself straight to the bone, but knowing I'm finished here is definitely bittersweet. I hated a lot of the self-entitled bitches and the school was fairly fucked up, but there were a lot of memories made there and lots of lifelong friendships, too. I struggled a lot of hardships along the way and really changed as a person throughout the past four years. I know there have been times when I've claimed I couldn't wait to get out of this godforsaken school but to be honest, there is something I will always miss about it. Or perhaps multiple things. Either way, I'm finally done and nothing will change that. I am officially completely out of high school. Here's to freedom, adulthood, and the pursuit of happiness in this fucked up, crazy world.