That’s me and Manito D in the photo. Last weekend, my abuelita threw a giant graduation party for my prim@s, Manito D and I in Taos. She invited 250 of our closest relatives and friends to celebrate at the Taoseño. The Taoseño is an important building in our family because back in the day, it was a bowling alley, and my abuelit@s owned it for a short time during the 1950s. Now it’s a favorite gathering place for family functions because the bar area (where the bowling lanes used to be) is big enough to host large parties. They also have pretty tasty enchiladas. Can’t go wrong there!
Anyway, I hadn’t had a chance to *really* celebrate finishing the pinche ph.d. I’d gone out for drinks after my defense, and friends treated me to nice dinners here and there, which was great! And I love them — I have great friends. But I pretty much spent the next few months mulling over the mean things some profes said about me and my work. Critique on your work is one thing, but critique on your integrity is another. Yeah, still getting over that.
So the celebration was soul lifting because it was my family, my elders, who told me over and over how proud of me they are, how big an achievement it is for me, for us. I definitely could not have done it without the hard work of those who came before me, or without the love and support of friends and family. The degree isn’t about me, it’s about all of us.
Until a couple days ago, I hadn’t had a chance to read all of the beautiful cards I received that day. Two, in particular, got me all teary-eyed. One was from my older primo David, who is a healer. At the party he came up to me, hugged me and told me that my grandpa is proud of me and watching down from heaven. And he gave me a bendición. I wish I had been able to talk to him more that day. The other was from my good, good amiga, Nicole. She has an amazing gift for words that I can only hope to emulate:
“What I wish for you on this day of family celebration is that the difficulties lift for a moment so you can truly see/feel, as I do, just how much you have accomplished, how your life and work honors your family, your elders, your community. Be proud of yourself, and everything you have done to get to this place. You lift all of us with you.”
I will be forever thankful.