Wellesley College, only to be there…
When I was
an asshole younger woman, about to graduate Wellesley College, and the visiting alumnae, struck by nostalgia, would get teary-eyed and say “Oh Wellesley College, only to be there,” my friends and I, hard-hearted and cynical as only 21 year olds can be, would giggle and roll our eyes. Yes, yes I know: WE. WERE. MORONS. We did not understand how damn good we had it. We seriously complained about “having” to spend 8 hours a day reading Russian literature, and writing history papers. Today, as a successful entrepreneur (…or, wait, is a contradiction-in-terms…?), I think back to days when my biggest responsibility was to read Nabokov, or Dostoevsky…and hold on, while I go curl up under my desk, and breathe into this paper bag. What’s the expression? Life is lived forward and understood backwards? That works. Oh my lord, if I could somehow travel back in time to my younger self, oh sh*t, that b*tch and I would get into it. Damn. And don’t even get me started on my unfortunate taste in men at the time.
Anyhoo, all of that rant to say that this past week, I was privileged enough to return to Wellesley College to give the Latina Month Events April 2016 Keynote Speech: “The Myth of Success, the
Privilege Routine of Failure: Your (Social Media) Life of Second Chances and Third Acts.” How’d it go? Oh, well you know: “…thank you for coming yesterday and speaking with us. It’s so refreshing to have such a relatable, hilarious and transparent role model.”- L. (#HowYaLikeMeNow #ThatsWhatIThought)
Considering I went there to break the news to our young people that hey failure is totally normal, so get used to it, as you embark on your unique, amazing, frightening journey to change the world. Considering I encouraged them to do the great things within their hearts, as long as they also learned to make their peace with themselves, and the reality of failure, and death and taxes and cathair (#details)…basically, considering I went there to lay this heavy trip on them, and still(!), the house was packed, and the students were fun, and passionate and enthusiastic …no, no, don’t worry, I’m not crying, just, whew, suddenly so dusty in here.
Immediately after the speech, I found myself thinking, in Cartman’s voice, “I reached those keeds!” (The eight year old boy in my brain is frequently hilarious, if not super helpful.) Anyway, if I did “reach” the “kids” (they’re all young adults, after all), it’s only because they were exceptionally receptive, welcoming, patient and gracious. Since returning to NYC, I’ve been blessed enough to receive a number of emails and texts from these young Wellesley women thanking me, but as we all know, I’m the one who should be thanking them.
Speaking of thanking people: THANK YOU MOM AND DAD FOR ALL YOUR SACRIFICES!
(Photos courtesy Linda Schwartz.)
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