For the past month, whenever someone congratulated me on my impending college graduation, it was almost like I couldn’t let myself accept their well wishes. I’d wave off their congratulations humbly, and pretend like nothing of importance was happening. But I don’t want to do that. I fucking graduated. I got in a car accident four days after turning 18 on my way to a school I hated, and have been figuring it out ever since. But now that I’m here, I am going to appreciate it. I want to feel it fully.
On Friday, June 1st, I graduated college. It was more emotional than I expected, though now that I think about it, I really should have expected it. As I walked in to the arena with the pomp and circumstance playing, I found myself getting teary eyed. Fuck no, I thought, you are not going to cry dude. Then another part of me chimed in, the part that has been to therapy. Hey man, it’s okay to cry. I settled somewhere in the middle. One thing I didn’t expect about the whole experience was how happy I’d be. I’ve said from the beginning that I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t on my terms. I don’t care about the degree. I know that I am a real live person worthy of love and happiness without it. I made peace with that when I made Overdue three years ago.
I never thought I’d make it here. I’ve worked so hard for so long, and have never really gotten recognition for that work. So I started to think that the work is just…what is expected of me. So it felt good to get that paper, because it wasn’t about the degree, it was about the recognition and validation of my work. I work my ass off pretty constantly. Whatever I do, I put my all into. That’s why I’m so particular about what I do. Before I commit to something new I have to ask myself- are you willing to put your heart and soul into this for the duration of this project? If the answer is no, I don’t do it.
I know a lot of college graduates are left feeling like- now what? after graduation. I won’t lie, there’s a little bit of that swirling around in my head right now. But when I allow myself a moment to think about it, I know exactly what. I’m going to do what I’ve always done. Work my ass off because I’m committed to the work. Write. Make videos. I can already see that the hardest part is going to be releasing myself from the pressure to constantly be ON and make amazing work. I want to allow myself to create, rather than force myself, without pressure or consequence or anxiety. Just doing. That’s what. I’m already prepared to be asked “so, what’s next?” I don’t know why our culture is programmed this way. We don't let ourselves breathe before a tinny, annoying little voice, internal or external, asks what’s next? But my answer is the same. What I’ve always done. Because I’ve always been enough.
I’m not afraid for the future, because I know that my life is entirely within my control. I am incredibly grateful for that. I’m not afraid, because I am surrounded by amazing people who make their dreams happen at any and every age. I am constantly inspired by my peers- who have started coffee roasteries and bakeries and yoga studios and are generally making their dreams HAPPEN. I’m not afraid, because I know that the second my life doesn’t feel full enough, I will move my ass and change it. I don't feel like I'm quite doing this whole thing justice. Graduating, and the enormous transition I'm about to undergo. But I wanted to at least try to document this moment, and knew that I'd regret it if I didn't.
Having said all that, I release the first episode of my new web series, Awkward & Weirder & Better, this coming Friday, June 8th. It feels surreal to release such a deeply personal part of myself on the Internet, and I don't think I've quite come to terms with it yet. With what I've created, with how people will receive it, with what I've done over the past six months. I'm terrified, but I'm excited. I know sometimes people don't understand how I can be so honest on the Internet. The answer is: I can't not be. Because I'm the same here as I am in person. (At least I hope I am.) Blazingly, brutally honest. After all, the truth is out there. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, it's out there. My thinking is, then why not just speak it from the start? I hope you tune in to the first episode, and I hope you like it.