Had a good weekend with friends. Two friends stayed with me on separate nights and each of those nights I was up late with them reminiscing on old times and talking about our present lives. It always makes me feel good to be able to verbalize things with a trusted confidant.

One thing I vocalized with one of the friends that I've not ever talked about, except maybe for a brief rant on Twitter, was about how I feel about my upcoming graduation. I've downplayed the accomplishment of getting a Master's degree. Some of that has been because I've come to realize that though it shouldn't be, my education can be intimidating to some. Some of the reasoning has been also because I don't think I've really understood what a big deal it is for me to (practically) have this, Not everyone graduates from college and even fewer go on to get post-graduate degrees so me being here is no laughing or unimportant matter.

In my mind, this M.Ed is happening because in order to do what I want to do I need it and, to be honest, was there ever a question that I could get it done? Of course not. So why would we get excited about the inevitable?

The general sentiment about my upcoming graduation can be summed up by a quote from my mother: "folks are tired of you graduating..."

My mother is proud of me, she tells me that all the time. There are others in my family who are proud as well and have told me, but I can't shake that statement. This thought that because I've graduated before, because I've proven to be the type of person to do well in school and accomplish things of this nature that it's not an important enough happening for people to just care about is starting to hurt.

So as I processed this with my friend, I began to realize that whether I recognized it or not, I've worked my ass off for this degree. Real blood, real sweat and definitely real tears. One of my professors warned us that we would do a lot of growth and changing and I did not believe him. I did not think I had a lot of growing to do that wasn't professionally. I was self-assured that as a self-aware black woman, I had done all the growing I was going to do for this period of my life. I was epicly wrong.

I also don't think I really became aware of how wrong I was to think that until lately. Not just my time in this program, but my time not in the working world and back in school has been so eye-opening. I have grown. I am more selfish and more worried about my own well-being, specifically mentally, than I was before. I am more apt to tell someone no. I do think about the long term mental/emotional effects of the things I take on and the things I agree to do. I am more cognizant of who has unfiltered access to me and who I'm willing to go that extra mile for. I'm not perfect and I know it and I'm not worried that my imperfections make me an unworthy person. I still have people in my life that I wish I could get rid of but I trust myself more to do a better job of not letting those types back in.

Basically, I was pretty damn awesome 2 years ago, but this process has made me, incredibly, even more awesome than that and I get it and I respect it and I want to protect it.

2 years ago a friend of mine told me I had a gift that was God-given and that I needed to be careful with it, take care of it, not misuse it. I have the ability to do that now; I can and do believe I was given a set of skills that few are given and that whether I can exactly explain them or how I use them I must be careful with them. Being careful with them has meant being careful with myself.

So now that I'm about to celebrate these last 2 years and all this work I've done and all of the growth I've undergone and the way I think I like myself, but more than that, believe in myself more today than I did 2 years ago it hurts to know that there are those who I thought had been behind me these last 48 months that really haven't. Folks who don't get it, who don't see the change and/or don't care about the change. I wish more of my friends and family were congratulating me, that's true. I'd love for them to be here for the ceremony but honestly all I want is a congratulations... text me, email me, smoke signal me... just acknowledge that I worked my ass off, that I went through a rough time for almost a full two years and I made it out the other side.

And you know, even though I'm hurting because of how I've been ignored so far, I see this as a potential blessing in disguise. Whatever cuts need to be made need to happen now because it's time for me to step into whatever it is that's gonna make me great and somebody everyone remembers.