My period of enjoying things for what they were only lasted the eight hours I slept early Friday morning.
As soon as I woke up Friday morning I had but one emotion on my mind: doom.
It was as if every worry and anxiety decided to appear simultaneously. I felt paralyzed by my own paranoia, unable to work or think straight.
It had grown to such a degree that I decided not to go out to the end-of-the-semester party that evening at NYU. Mind you, I had looked forward to it for weeks in order to unwind and dance, eat, and drink with many acquaintances I had not seen in ages. Moreover, it would give me the opportunity to thank the many people that have helped me since I started grad school in January 2003. If I were lucky, I might have even had the chance to go out for an hour or so for drinks with my peers.
Instead I have been home since Thursday and incommunicado with all my friends except for a brief conversation with Junior, one of my best friends from high school.
I really ought to heed to what I mentioned in the post I wrote shortly before falling asleep at 2 on Friday- the happiness of accomplishing a major step in my life and a dream of mine ever since I was a piglet. But I’ve allowed myself to cower under my blanket of stress; hence my paranoia.
To compound my craziness, my mom has been acting rather nutty over the weekend. Much like me, she wants to make sure that everything runs smoothly and correctly when we all go out for the Convocation ceremony Monday afternoon. Unlike me bottling up all my stress, however, she is exerting a lot of foolish energy in nagging, haggling, and disturbing my brothers and me. Normally it would be fine, perhaps healthy, to let one’s emotions run free and not keep it cramped inside one’s body. Yet is has been very annoying hearing her comments and scolding on how to behave and how to be prepared for Monday.
It was almost 1am Sunday morning and I was about to collapse from exhaustion when she unexpectedly blurted the following:
“Now I want you all to listen to me and listen to me clearly. Are you listening? Good. I want you all to wake up early and get you clothes sorted out. No waking up at 11 or forcing me to iron at 10 at night.”
“Okay mom; no problem.”
“Wait, don’t interrupt me. I haven’t finished. We are going to eat early today and you have to be in bed early, not at 2 o’clock with the computer on chatting with your friends.”
She continued repeating the same nagging points for a few minutes until she unfurled this gem:
“Oh if only your father where here to see this. He always dreamed of seeing you graduate. He always made plans for it; what days to take off from work, getting the camcorder set up to tape you. I am going to be so sad on Monday when you are up on stage and he is not here to see you. He should have been sitting by my side. It's not fair that he was taken away so early. At least he will be there in spirit.”
Now I don’t mind hearing my mom talk about dad since I’ve missed him every day since he passed away and Monday shall be no exception. But the notion that Monday’s convocation will be more a time to mourn rather than a time to celebrate drives me up the bleedin’ wall. Convocation will not only represent a moment of personal accomplishment but also for my entire family as well as friends and well-wishers. It should be a time of joy, pride, and moving forward instead of being morose and somber. I will remember him the moment I am on stage robed and with my hands touching my “diploma,” and I will most certainly dedicate this triumph to him and his guidance, help, and sacrifice. Nevertheless, I will also think of those that have had a part in me getting to where I am. And these thoughts will be positive and of celebration. Maybe I’ll weep, maybe I’ll smile, and maybe I’ll dance. There’s no doubt that I’ll be overjoyed and I would expect the same from my mom.
My mom has asked me a few times today if I am doing well. Every time is the same answer: “I’m just stressed. I want to make sure everything’s okay tomorrow.” But I don’t have the guts to snap and tell her why I’m so uptight. I really wish I could but doing so would just break her heart and would make an easy situation infinitely worse. So for now I’ll keep my paranoia bottled inside me. Hopefully I will have let it go by this time tomorrow in a positive, blissful, and unrestrained manner.
Besides, I have a hunch dad agrees with me.