19 August 2006

DO THE HAPPY DANCE WITH ME!!! and then some...

last grade is FINALLY posted. i now have a total of 122 credit hours. AND it looks as if i will graduate with honors! a 3.96 gpa overall! it sure feels wonderful to end it all with three A's. 10 years ago, i never would've imagined this moment... I'am officially edumacated. dance, dance, DANCE!!!

now you get to stroll down memory lane with me. it's your lucky ducky day! you get to see how i ended up at the new school in the first place!
it was YEARS in the making.

so often during my 10 year hiatus from school i'd start kicking myself for not having finished (my folks helped a bit with the kicking too, of course). but now i can say that i'm glad i didn't then. i never would've found the new school on my own. and i just wasn't ready at that time. i had absolutely no idea what i wanted to pursue and i was merely going through the motions for everyone else but me.

ah, the dreamy-eyed delusions that i once held: first, i wanted to be a lawyer. a corporate lawyer, so's i could make a lot of money. i know! i had always assumed that money would fix everything beings how we didn't have any when i was small. that was at u.m.k.c - and i really didn't like u.m.k.c. so i basically stopped going.

next, i went to avila, where i met my dearest, most loviest bethy, who you will find permanantly in my #1 friends spot on myspace. we both wrote for the paper there and we hit it off immediately. she is a soul sister. we aren't always neccesarily born to our families i 've come to realize. we find them throughout our lives as well. but i digress...

avila found me pursuing a communications degree, with an emphasis in marketing. i had decided to take a weekend intensive course with a famous local advertising guru. that weekend, we broke into groups, and our group had to design an entire marketing campaign around selling a rock. yes. a rock. we sat in our little group for hours that weekend thinking about a rock. and how to sell it to pretty much everyone. the last day it hit me like a ton of bricks (no pun intended) - this path i'd chosen would someday find me trying to trick people out of their money for rocks. i walked away from avila and never returned. that was 1994.

i decided to go into the restuarant biz - i wanted to be a bartender. i love to talk. i did that for 10 years. same place. i was also a manager there. i'm not a very good manager. i have a hard time yelling at people and telling them what to do. i assumed that everyone knew what they were supposed to do and for the most part, everything ran relatively smoothly. corporate thought i wasn't mean enough. whatever.

this time was a huge transition for me. i found that i really loved, in every sense of the word, talking to people and listening to them. i wanted to know everything. i found myself at the receiving end of hundreds of people over their years, pouring out their souls to me. it struck me one night, that i was basically an untrained psychiatrist. i handed out the meds and listened, giving advice when asked. i found a box of letters in my cleaning spree the other night from patrons that had slowly become regulars, then later friends, that expressed gratitude for our conversations and how they had felt transformed. while i had forgotten about those letters, i realized that ii had found my calling way back then...

then there was a flurry of events - i was hired on as a d.j. for a station here. i was a part-timer, doing sunday night overnights, then moving to an earlier time slot. i was going to work in radio! i love music, so it was perfect! my first night on the job, my illusions were once again shattered. my p.d. told me that i could always drop a song to make up for time, but if i dropped a commercial spot, it would be my ass. the advertsing was haunting me. radio wasn't about the music, it was about what the listeners would buy. when the station changed formats, i decided to not stay on.

through all of this, my great friend charles would come in every week and talk to me about world/current events. i had no idea what he was talking about and to be honest, i didn't care half the time. nod and smile. but it was sinking in, lo and behold. he is intrumental in all of this. and i don't think that he ever had any idea...

in 1999, something else happened. the wto protests in seattle. i watched with absolute horror as people were being beaten in the streets. i had no idea what the wto was, much less why that many people would want to try and shut the meeting down. i began to dig deeper. the more i did, the more i realized i didn't really know anything. i had confined myself into a little comfy bubble and routine. i got up everyday, put on my make-up, did my hair, went shopping, went out drinking every night til i couldn't stand. worked in between. thing was, i was miserable with my life - something always never quite added up.

about this time, i found that one of my favorite musicians, ani difranco, had released a couple of albums with a man named utah phillips. in the liner notes of one, i found an intro by a man named howard zinn. she had written that if anyone wanted to knoww more about the history we weren't taught in school, we should read his book. i did. it changed me. i decided that all of the energy that i spent needed to be re-directed. some things had to go, some new things had to be invited in. for the first time, i actually became engaged with american history. people i never knew exisited, events i'd heard nothing about, jumped from the pages into my brain.

i cancelled my cable. i quit drinking. i cut out everything in my life that i didn't deem neccesary. the two hours that it took me to "get ready" when i got up could be better spent, i decided. bye-bye make-up mask, bye-bye perfectly coiffed hairs, bye bye sweatshop cool label clothes... (though i have to say, it was terribly traumtic the first time i left the house without make-up - i'd somehow gotten it in my head that as a woman i was required to look a certain way that was acceptable to society - whatever that means). i began painting. reading. writing. i embarked on a re-education, as i felt like i'd been slighted in my schooling. i began to examine what my place in the world meant.

suddenly, the holes were beginning to be filled - all of the 'off' feelings that had plagued me my whole life, the horrible depression that would come and go was quieting as i learned more and began to do something.

i found a kick ass used bookstore on 39th street where i found a TON of books for cheap. and just guess who i met there while gathering petition signatures on afternoon? go on, guess! ;)

then another one of my soul sisters, hallie, moved to nyc. she was going back to school to finish her degree. she told me all about the school. the history of it ... it was called the new school and she said that i must check it out. i ordered a catalogue. i could complete my degree online! the campus professors also taught online courses. perfect! i looked at my course options. the first one i found was a class about the zapatistas. this school was for me. through and through. but i was terrified after my previous attempts at school and how i could never seem to make grades. i was afraid i wasn't smart enough. my partner love convinced me to try. so i applied. i wrote one of my admission essays about howard zinn's book - a people's history - the other looked much like what i've written here.

during my interview, the interviewer (matt?) tells me that he was moved by my zinn essay, and that he had spoken there the year before - standing room only. i was offered acceptance. i began that fall. i designed my own degree program and took every psychology class i could. plus a bunch of others that were phenomenal.

and now. here i'am. finished at long last and in massive debt. but had i not taken a break from school, had my life not been full of what it has so far, i wouldn't be here right now. i wouldn't be who i'am. i probably wouldn't even know you. so be it. it is all worth it.

i just love me some synchronicity!


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