**note** most times when i write personal stuff in here i end up taking it out but for some reason i think i want this one to stay up
I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to be Valedictorian. I knew it wouldn't happen, of course, because there were the Wades and the Claires and the Keegans and they were all in Science Olympiad and taking math classes over at the high school when they were in eighth grade and I did neither of those things. But still. I wanted it. I also wanted to be on the Honor Society, the Acadec team, take AP classes, and edit the yearbook. None of those things happened, though I jumped into them all ferociously in ninth grade. I took Acadec and was on yearbook staff and planned on the AP classes I would take later on, not knowing that later on I'd be quietly homeschooling.
But mostly my vision was this: I wanted to graduate from BR and I wanted to walk with Kelsey and Keegan and Lacey and all those other people I'd known forever. I wanted to smile and get my diploma and laugh and cry goodbyes. I wanted my family to have a party and celebrate my graduation and I really really really wanted someone to give me Dr. Suess' Oh The Places You'll Go. My family used to talk about having a party too; I kind of think that as I got older and kept on the same omg-she's-reading-before-kindergarten path I'd been on, my family started being really proud of me.
I mean not like they weren't proud of me before. But I always had - and in fact still have - this idea in my mind that I was somehow counted on to be something for my family. I was going to do more than just get by. And this is happening. My aunt Donna printed up my HuffPo article and sent it to my grandparents. I went back to visit after Red came out and everyone was so proud of me, saying congratulations and I could see in their eyes that they were kind of surprised. In their eyes I was still that five year old who loved to watch Barney but suddenly they realized that I was grown.... ish.
But there was no party. There was no Valedictorian, no Honor Society, no yearbook editor or Acadec team. Instead there was me, quietly doing my work, silently graduating a year early and not even bothering to go to the ceremony because it was two hours away and what did I care anyways? Those people I was supposedly graduating with weren't people I knew or cared about, weren't people I had spent the last decade with. They were strangers. So instead I graduated silently. My dad bought me a used car and I enrolled in community college, nobody ever gave me the Dr. Suess book, and quietly, dutifully, began the next step in my life.
The things I had wanted to happen though, hadn't. Most people didn't even know I had graduated or that I was going to college. My family knew but it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't like I had wanted it to be or like it would have been if things had gone according to plan. And now my friends I was supposed to graduate with are getting ready to graduate in a couple months and I won't be there. I helped a girl here with her humongo graduation party and never had one of my own.
And why? Because I just didn't see the point. Who would I invite? Why would it matter? Everyone I wanted to invite was a state away. Nothing had gone according to my master plan. And that's supposed to be okay, right? I mean, look at me. I'm ahead of the game. By the time my friends graduate I will be finishing up my first year of college. I have actual publishing credits and am shopping my novel. I'm way ahead and that should make me happier than it does. But the reality is that I look at my friends who are getting ready to graduate and having it be this whole hoopla - choosing their college, going to the graduation ceremony, saying goodbye to friends, and I miss that. I hate that I missed out on it, I hate that I care so much.
And I hate that, as with everything else about me and my life, that milestone of graduating high school completely flew in under the radar. Nobody even noticed. A few of my friend's friends graduated last year, same as me. And I was with her when she talked about not knowing what to get her friends who were graduating but she had to get them something. And I'm sure she did get them something. But she didn't even give me a card. Nobody did.