here's the thing about graduating at my school. you wear white. pure, crisp, blinding white. or, at least, that's what you're supposed to wear. commencement is a big deal for obvious reasons: it's a nod at our efforts to succeed at school for the past 13 years and it's a celebration of our last moments of being a teenager in high school. like a lot of other schools, we honor our graduation with diplomas, singing, and our families and close friends in front of us while we grin onstage. we are being championed for us. i am being championed for me.
the symbolic purity of white dresses is something i've only found at my school, (though i know others do it as well in the city). i wasn't exactly white though.
on graduation day, i knew it was coming-- looks (greatly disapproving) and comments towards my dress. i acknowledged that i was pushing white. even though i had expected some pushback before i came to school, i was still so excited to feel beautiful on a day that celebrates me for me, because that's what commencement is all about, right?
someone had approached me before we walked on stage and told me that the color of my dress would ruin pictures. i kind of spiraled into a whirlpool of self-deprecating and self-conscious mind junk after that.
i did not feel beautiful, i was insecure. i felt ashamed. i didn't smile wholeheartedly until i realized that people didn't have to look me up and down anymore. the biggest day of our entire upper school life and i showed up looking abnormal.
but eventually i sucked it up.
i am me for me. maybe my dress wasn't white, but it was me. "irrefutably you" is what one of my friends told me.
and that was it.
i was grey.