11 June 2005

Rejecting Ceremony

Ceremony is ingrained in our culture. Ceremony acts as a public recognition of completion of rites of passage or goals, such as graduation. Appearing in front of some audience, we declare our successes or the mere passage of time. "Look at me; I did it!" Why do we find this a necessary step in our particular paths? By not partaking in the ceremonies, are we guilty of not completing said tasks? I think not.

Today, my younger son and I had seperate ceremonies to attend. Baylin expressed a desire to forgo the closing ceremonies for his pony baseball team. "All we're going to do is hear some grown ups talk and throw our hats in the air." Exactly my point. Why sit through a near four hour speech to spend twenty seconds on stage to shake some stranger's hand and collect a blank rolled-up piece paper?

I earned my degree, I can use it to secure employment, and that works for me. Who remembers their commencement ceremony? I remember my high school graduation as a bunch of sitting while listening to the Charlie-Brown's-teacher speeches. How is that memorable?

I received such disbelief when I told people I wasn't walking. Many told me I had to walk. My reply was simple and practiced: "I came to learn how to write better, not to spend four hours in front of strangers I'll never know." I'm sure this hurt the feelings of some of those who consider themselves my friends, but who would I be walking for if I went to avoid hurting their feelings?

Rejecting the dominate culture's practice exemplifies my attitude. For me to walk would mean to propagate an otherwise archane practice. For me to walk would mean to satisfy someone else's wishes. My wish was fulfilled. I accelerated my writing. Now, I have a path to explore. Now, I have a community of other writers to call on. Now, I have a life of writing ahead of me.

1 comment:

Adam said...

It's a good decision. My friend Spencer walked and was stuck next to an obese woman who kept elbowing him for hours, and also caught himself a royal sunburn.

My other friends have opted for a different, but probably just as traditional means of celebration. I received a call at noon today: "Adam! When are we gettin' stinko tonight?"