.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Blessed are you, Lord our God, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this day.
This is, as my grandfather put it, a “benediction of Thanksgiving.” You say it whenever you experience something new or unusual, including the first day of a holiday or tasting something for the first time. I can’t really imagine anything newer or more unusual to me than graduating and receiving my Master’s degree, which I will do today. And I can’t feel any more grateful than I do right now that I’ve been brought to this day. You may remember that I tried my hand at this before, almost twenty years ago, and I didn’t make it. So I know it’s easy to try and yet still fail or maybe just get distracted along the way. I can’t even begin to calculate all the things I did to make it through these two years: the all-nighters, the tracking down of sources, the thousands of pages of reading, the squinting at code, the month of 9-5 classes, the chronically burnt fingers from baking, the 12 hours straight in a convention booth, the walking up and down of aisles proctoring exams, the stand-offs with weird professors, and so forth. It has all been a blur, and a generally happy one.
If you wonder why I haven’t written these few weeks, it’s because I have been too emotional to get anything down. Sometimes I would just be washing dishes and it would overwhelm me and I would cry. Tonight, I got an email that meant something to me and I cried on the 116th St. platform. It’s not sadness, it’s just huge, crushingly strong emotion of all types. I can’t believe it’s all over. And I can’t sort it out enough to write about it and that’s just the way it is. Sometimes things can’t be articulated, like the people you say goodbye to and the life you leave behind and the fear of what’s to come and the hope for a new and better future.
I thank all those people who sustained me, because when it all overcomes me, it’s the loss of the people and the life we lived together that causes the rush of strong feeling. And when it comes down to it, I think that’s what I was missing in my before-life, feeling. Right now, I feel so many things that for once in my life, a textual medium isn’t the right one.
Back in January, when I bought Deftones tickets for smack-in-the-middle of the week between finishing and actual Commencement, I thought I would be the happiest girl in the world at the show. Instead, things were a bit more complicated. Still, as usual, it enabled me to let some of all this out, and so for that I am also grateful. I guess that one goes to God and the Deftones’ booking agent.
I wish I had some pithy words to sum this all up, but all I have is this: the school advises me to wear flats to Commencement and since it’s in all probability the last piece of advice they’ll ever give me, I think I’ll take it.
Title comes from the song that made me cry during the show (the big tattooed guys near me never seem to notice this, it’s very easy to cry at Deftones concerts). It’s the song I used to listen to on the way to student teaching.
Deftones – Risk
Note: Apologies for the false post… it’s been so long since I blogged that I inadvertently hit publish instead of save about 3 lines in. Oops.
Edited to add: Oh look, someone has posted a video of the exact performance of this song I mentioned. I doubt there is even one Deftones fan who reads this blog, but here’s the link anyway. I am not in it, which is good, because the only audience you see is the mosh pit, and that would have made me cry in a whole different way.