On June 11th, 2005, my world changed forever. Two days before I graduate from high school will mark the 10th anniversary of my grandma's death. My grammy was my world. She was my everything. She made me feel so safe, so loved, so indescribably happy. She would let me brush her curly hair and paint her nails whatever color I wanted. She would let me sleep in between my grandpa and her in their big bed when my mom was out of town. She would hold me in her arms when my feelings were hurt or when I was upset. Her sweet voice sang out old Irish tunes and The Three Tenors when I came home from school. I think about her everyday. I love her so much that sometimes I think my heart will burst.
On my last day of high school, many of my classmates cried. They cried about leaving friends and school. They cried because ending high school is emotional. It means you are no longer a child; you're an adult. I too cried on the last day of school but privately. I cried because all I wanted was to have my grandma there. I wanted her to see me graduate in June. I wanted her to give me one of her amazing hugs and tell me how proud she was that I made it through the most difficult four years of my life thus far. I wanted to be able to look out at the crowd when I was getting my diploma, and more than anyone else, I wanted to see her smile.
Abbreviated version originally published in The Mainsheet: Volume 65 Number 6
Over Spring Break, I took five of my little cousins to see Disney’s new live action movie, Cinderella. I am not afraid to admit that I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for months. Cinderella had always been my second favorite princess, behind Mulan.
Cinderella’s rags to riches romance has always captivated and bewildered me. In Disney’s animated 1950 classic, Cinderella is hardworking, genuine, but helpless. As the girl group the Cheetah Girls put so perfectly: “I don’t want to be like Cinderella sittin’ in a dark cold dusty cellar waitin’ for somebody to come and set me free. I don’t want to be like someone waiting for a handsome prince to come and save me... I’d rather rescue myself.” I always loved Cinderella, but as I got older, I wanted her to take charge of her own fate. I wanted her to know that she was strong enough to rescue herself, to be the heroine of her own story.
So when I walked into the movie theater holding the hands of excited little people who were seeing a Cinderella movie for the first time, they had read the story but never seen the original movie, I hoped that they wouldn’t subconsciously absorb the message that I had 15 years earlier: you need someone to make you whole.