The Day I Don’t Look Like Me

Once a year, for two hours, I lose my bangs, my trademark. My whole body is swathed in black, making me look obese.
I literally and figuratively lose myself. But that’s a small price to pay for one special ritual of my life as a part-time college teacher.

On graduation day, my former students—those whom I tried hard to discipline and train in the classroom on ways of their future workplaces—take center stage and I couldn’t be prouder.

Before the ceremonies, they arrive one by one, all dolled up, perfumed, and unrecognizable. Out of their school uniforms, the girls look like beauty queens: accessorized dresses, made-up faces, coiffed hair, and stockinged feet tottering on six-inch heels.  The boys look like young CEOs, dapper in new dark suits, gelled hair, and polished pair of shoes.

And their parents! Likewise in designer party clothes, they don permanent grins as they put hoods on their children and medals on the outstanding ones.

And I muse, These are the people who worked hard, paid through the nose, and, pardon the melodramatic word—sacrificed—so they could enroll their children in a transnational university. They deserve their five minutes of fame and their lifetime of pride for their achievement.     

It’s a yearly ritual, with a similar cast, but with new excitement each time. Applauding my former wards—queuing up on stage, receiving that piece of paper from the Chairman of the Board, President, and Dean, donned in the same costume as their professors—levels our playing field.

Seated in one row, my colleagues and I gasp on cue and we gush into each other’s ears, reminiscing incidents in classrooms of years past.

One day in a year, in my humongous costume that hides my new dress, and cap that hides my old bangs, grace colors my heart with all shades of feel-good emotions for having been a part of these kids’ growing up into formidable human beings—ready to take on the global stage.


Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Oops, you beat me to it. I was going to write about the same topic. But you said it all, and ever so nicely, so that should do it.

Grace D. Chong said...

The topic is inexhaustible, Yay. I'd love to read your version!