Friday, July 10, 2009


High school graduation (June 2005): There was a torrential downpour just before the ceremony, so we sat outside in lightening. 511 people in my class. I graduated as a junior, so while I knew a couple of people and knew of some, I felt completely out of place. I hated it, and I only went because my parents "had" to see me walk. Later that summer, I fought hard not to have a graduation party, but my mom really wanted to, so we kept it small. I hid as much as I could inside and had stopped talking less than halfway through it.

College graduation (May 2009): Inside a zillion-degree gymnasium because it rained outside. Afterward, while everyone went out and took pictures and enjoyed their friends, I hurried back to my room, packed up, and left within a few hours. I was in a horrible mood at my parents, who were in horrible moods at one another (parents = mom and stepdad, dad and stepmom). I have no pictures from that day, and I saw no friends. The few quasi-friends I had were much more interested in their "real" friends. I don't know that I talked to any of my peers all day. No party, no out to eat, not even a word of "congratulations" from anyone but my six and eight year old sisters.

Partial graduation (today): Fourteen patients, four us graduated today. I got to speak to the group and to any individuals I wanted to address. I was praised for my specific strengths and all the things I've worked so hard to improve. I laughed, some people cried. We have all grown together so much in the past weeks. There was a cake and ice cream, congratulations, and phone numbers and emails exchanged. I left with friends- the real kind, who have seen me at my worst, who wait so patiently when I try to get words out even when they're wobbly, who like me anyway. I got three texts when I left my first day of work asking how it was, telling me how proud of me they are. I earned my third diploma today, and you know what? I don't know which lessons were more valuable.

The cake from today... thanks to one amazing woman!


  1. Wow, that is so inspiring. Really shows you what matters most in life, doesn't it? Friends who accept you as you are and understand you. That is such a gift.

  2. Lovely. It must be a relief to find a group like that at last.