June 17, 2014 - 7:26 AM
Nine years ago, I teetered across a stage filled with my hooting and hollering peers in a pair of strappy silver stilettos and my mother assured me I would fall.
The voice of my principal boomed over everyone in the crowd and said I was going on to pursue a bachelor’s degree, that I had grand intentions of exploring the world and even grander intentions of taking it over.
Ruling the world was a very Madonna thing for me to aspire to at the age of 16 and, because I have always placed the two of us in the same league, I felt it was fitting. My parents just rolled their eyes and hooted and hollered with the rest of the class of 2005.
“I just thought it was so funny,” I remember my mother saying, “watching all you girls try to walk in your high heels.”
Yes, like little kids playing dress-up in our parents’ closets, we waddled uncomfortably in shoes we had yet to grow into, our cheeks still puffy with baby fat as we grinned into the camera lens of our future.
Every milestone occasion has a similar speech: Your potential is out there for you to realize, regret should be nipped in the bud, the truth should be spoken even when it’s hard, feelings should be shared, moments savoured, dreams followed....
They inspire you for a brief moment — until the quarterback looks at you or until you see your grad present parked outside — and then life resumes, if not faster than before.
On Friday morning, I stepped onto the carpeted stage at the Tournament Capital Centre to receive my bachelor of arts degree in a pair of five-inch black pumps.
“Don’t trip,” my mother warned me.
As I sat in the seats next to all the other BA graduates at Thompson Rivers University, I settled in to listen to another speech — to another list of things I should keep in mind when paddling the pools of my proverbial oyster. I thought about what I figured would be different by now and I thought about why it wasn’t. I thought about that dreaded question “what now?” that I have been asked so many times.
And then I heard the word “uncertainty” pierce the clatter of my thoughts. I tuned in.
Instead of telling me to figure it out, to follow my bliss, to reach for the stars, to do some bullshit thing that isn’t tangible as far as paycheques are concerned, I was being told to relish in my uncertainty — to enjoy it, to flip and flop with it, to allow it.
Why is it that “I don’t know” isn’t a good enough answer? Why do we think freedom lies in figuring it out? What isn’t there to enjoy about waking up and not knowing where the day will take you? Should we not take pride in our ability to surrender to the unknown and adapt when necessary?
Yes, I wanted to scream out. Yes! Uncertainty is my new five-year plan and it is good enough.
I left the ceremony feeling sure. Not sure of where I was going, not even sure of where I’ve been — but sure that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
“Great job!” my mother said as she came to kiss me. “We’re so proud of you!”
Even if we haven’t taken over the world, at least we’ve finally learned how to walk in our heels.
— Andria is a twenty-something blogger living in Kamloops with her 100 pairs of heels and 200 paperback Penguin Classics.
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