Musings of destructing ivory towers with quotes & cackles

My graduation cap is not simple and elegant. It is extra as fuq just like me. I wanted to cover it in so many quotes, but I narrowed it down to about fifteen. I wanted my cap to be meaningful to me and that’s exactly what it became. In seventh grade I had one of the best teachers I’ve ever had in my life, Ms. Lumpkin. She was the epitome of what I wanted to be. This strong Black woman elevated my mind to heights and depths that no one else probably thought we could reach. In seventh grade before I was even a teenager, I read ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou & Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart,’ a book that has stayed with me and continues to give me insight about the world around me. However, the one thing she gave me that I think about damn near everyday is TuPac’s book of poetry, ‘The Rose That Grew from Concrete.’

Growing up an awkward Black girl before being awkward was cool wasn’t the easiest portion of my life but, in the midst of being bullied by other students because I kind of enjoyed making good grades, TuPac’s poetry became solace for me. Since the day I read that book I have always felt like I was the rose that grew from the concrete. So my graduation cap became a testament to all these things that have influenced me since grammar school to the end of my collegiate career.

I decided to make the base of the cap a kite. My freshman year, which was spent at Ball State University, I was exposed to Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys. It changed my life and has stuck with me for the last four years. The kite in the play is a symbol of hope, and I made mine a symbol of my own hope for the future-both the future of the University of Oklahoma as well as hope for our country and the world. On top of the kite are quotes. Words have been incredibly important to me for as long as I can remember. The quotes are from some of my favorite theatrical geniuses like George C. Wolfe, Audra McDonald, Moises Kaufman, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s The Hamilton mixtape. Some of these quotes are quite personal, things they said to me when I met them and things that they said to someone else that truly resonated with me. All these things that helped shape me and forced me to persevere. Then there are the quotes from Audre Lorde and Sylvia Plath, these incredible women who have inspired me so much.

There was however one small flub I made that was subconscious, but it makes sense nonetheless. I repeated a quote from a play called Luminesce Dating. The quote says this, “Passion hurts. Every time. Hurts like hell. And then it passes. And we forget. Like childbirth. So we try again. Fools.” I think this is the most accurate description of my life that I will ever come across. My passion is pain. I have never walked away from a show or a theatrical experience unscathed and college was no different. Maybe that’s why I do theatre. I just want to feel something. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure this all out. I think a lot of us are trying to figure out life too, but for some strange reason I feel like I’m on the right path.