Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ceremonies and Me


Sometimes I get the graduation march and the bridal march confused. I mean, hey, they are both marches with considerable pomp and circumstance that people process to.  I’m starting to think that this confusion is pretty appropriate.

I have been thinking more and more about the wedding ceremony, and how I will feel during it.  Graduations have been the most significant ceremonies that I have been a part of thus far, and so I’m using them as my point of reference, and I’m a little concerned. I hear a lot about people feeling transcendent during their weddings, full of joy, totally present. What I remember about graduations is waiting for my name to be called in line. I remember being nervous. I remember worrying how it was going to go—would I smile at the right time, would I trip when I walked across the stage, would I manage the take diploma/shake hand maneuver correctly?

The actual ceremonial bit, the receiving of my diploma? Is a blur. Same for smaller ceremonies—inductions, awards, sorority functions. The part where eyes were on me has been blocked out.

This is obviously disconcerting because in a wedding where you yourself are getting married, eyes are on you pretty much the whole time. But I don’t want it to be a blur. I want to remember it, I want that transcendent, joyful, present experience. I am not sure I’m going to get it. I am who I am, after all, and I won’t stop being a self-conscious person in all-eyes-on-me situations. I am going to try though, maybe I can try to turn the audience into a blur so that I can stay clear.  

But even if that doesn’t happen, it’ll be okay. After all, I still graduated from high school and from college. I marked the occasion with celebration and with ritual. And moved on to bigger and better things because of both. And that’s what matters. 

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