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Monday, May 23, 2005Oh, Wise One
It was one year ago, today, that I was a commencement speaker at my old high school. I remember thinking what a fraud I was - I mean, what words of wisdom could I pass along? Truly, I still have a lot of living and learning to do - what advice could I possibly bestow on these 200 women? Not only that, but parents and friends would also be in the audience - how do I keep them entertained and not sound like a schmuck? Shouldn't someone who is older and who has actually accomplished something be given the honor to speak at a commencement ceremony? Why me?!?!
The thing is, I KNEW why. I was relatable. I was real. And that group of women liked me. I DID have something to say. Writing the speech was easy - even when I put the finishing touches on it that same morning. Delivering it was easy, too. I wasn't all that nervous, surprisingly. And when my 15-minute speech was done, I was applauded for being ME. That's who they wanted to hear and that's who they got.
I think we all left with something that day - those girls with their diplomas in hand, their parents with the pride of their daughter's accomplishments, and me - with the knowledge that I did have something to contribute. The best compliment came to me that very afternoon, when a much-older gentleman came up to me and said that he was a grandfather of five, that he had been to MANY graduations in his lifetime, and that my speech was the best he had ever heard. He didn't have to say it, hell, he may not have meant it. But it made an impact.
It's the times like these that I feel so great (SO LUCKY) to be the woman I am: a woman with her own history, her own story, her own support network, her own day-to-day, her own SELF, her own life, her own future...
It's each of us that make this world interesting and remarkable. I'm just glad that I can be part of it. All that I am, and all that I will continue to be, is my gift to this world.