Graduation.

Rebecca Ann Laird. Psychological Sciences.

That’s what they said.  They read it off my little green card.  As I stood on the marker, waiting to hear my name before I could walk across the stage and accept my diploma folder, I could feel my blood rushing.  I know that’s what they said because it was on the card, but all I heard was “Rebecca,”

I couldn’t stop smiling.  Earlier in the week I was making remarks about how I wish my parents didn’t insist on me participating in the ceremony, but in that moment of being handed a fancy folder that didn’t actually contain anything of value, I felt so proud of myself.

I still am.  I am proud of myself.  I am inspired by what I actually overcame to get to this point.  I teared up when one of the speakers mentioned overcoming personal obstacles to reach this point. I wasn’t expecting that to be mentioned, and I had this moment of, Oh yeah.

Five years isn’t that long.  It’s flown by.  But if you go back to when I was 19-21, camped out at rock bottom, trying to find happiness at the bottom of a bottle, and then look at who I am now, it doesn’t even look like the same person.

I am inspired. To be better. To do more. To try new things.

Even after I began to start over, I still held myself back because I felt ashamed of my experience. I’m done with that. I have finally forgiven myself for my actions during that time period.  I’m not proud, but I did the best I could at the time.  The details really do not matter anymore.  The only thing that matters is that I am alive.

I’m not going to settle because I’m afraid or because I feel like I don’t deserve to be happy or achieve great things.

I hope the memory of walking across that stage remains as vivid as it is in my mind right now.  It was this moment of clarity, where everything fell into place, and I felt it. This is just the beginning.

I held my empty diploma folder above my head as I walked off that stage and out of the gymnasium, and even though my feet were KILLING me, I couldn’t stop smiling and I felt like I was on top of the god damn world.

What’s next?

Well, let’s find out.

Spheres.

I’m always trying to find new ways of looking at things.  More often than not, I’m the one in conversations to suggest a new viewpoint that the others hadn’t thought of. So many people want to look at things in two dimensions. There’s one side, and there’s the other. But what if there’s a whole other dimension to it? What if, instead of the situation being circular, it’s spherical?

This all comes from a conversation I had yesterday that I have not been able to get out of my mind (if you’re reading this, thanks, N), because someone that I haven’t even known for that long made me realize why I think differently than so many people that I know.  I don’t think they meant to do that, but the more I thought about the question, the more it made sense.  And I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to explain this well, so if you’re thoroughly confused, I apologize. This also isn’t exactly what we were talking about, but it inspired it, so oh well.

I think a lot of people assume I chose psychology because I wanted to help people going through what I went through, but it’s actually way more selfish than that.  I wanted answers.  I needed answers, desperately.  I needed to know what the hell happened to me, because it didn’t make sense. I had a semi-normal life, and then it all just spiraled out of control and I truly felt like I was going insane.  So when I chose psych, I was determined to find closure through knowledge. I read every chapter in every textbook and read countless research studies.  I asked my professors oddly vague questions in an attempt to get answers without tipping them off that I was once diagnosed with the disorder.  I learned a lot.

However, while I did find answers and theories that applied to myself and my life, I also gained knowledge that allowed me to understand others.  It’s not that I shrink people unintentionally, but I care more about their perspective and their experience.  I try to understand where they are coming from with their actions and behaviors.  There’s what they are doing (x) and who they are doing it to (y) but there’s also why they are doing it (z).  The why is the third dimension.

It’s weird for me to be so non-judgmental when once upon a time I was the Queen of Judgment.  When you start looking at all the aspects of someone’s behavior, it’s really hard to take it personally.  And let’s be real, not taking things personally just makes life a hell of a lot easier.

Being able to examine situations from someone else’s point of view is the final development stage, and apparently like almost half of the population never reaches that point, so maybe that’s why our world is currently the way it is.  Everything is too circular. We need more spheres.