A Master of Disguise

Graduation Day.

I feel silly, dressed up in this robe. A cloak draped over my small frame, hiding any signs of womanhood underneath yards and yards of black fabric. My limbs swim to the surface for air.

“Congratulations,” the university bookstore clerk said. “Your total is $87.”

Cap, gown, hood. It’s an expensive rental costume, to celebrate me and my $60,000 achievement. Eighty-seven dollars in the name of tradition.

“Gown” is misleading and makes me dream of names like Dior, McQueen, and de la Renta. But my imagination won’t drift too far, not with this stifling cap on.

Tradition. I’ve never been any good at it. And this one — dressed like a forgotten Hogwarts employee — feels especially archaic. Overly masculine. Suffocated in sameness. My feminity retreats from plain sight under a glorified poncho.

It’s hard not to feel like a fraud, in the name of tradition.

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