Hats Off: Finding Closure Amid Uncertainty


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Hats Off: Finding Closure Amid Uncertainty

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This screen recording, a small snippet taken from a live video posted on the Richardson High School Eaglettes Facebook page on June 25,2020, takes place in the back parking lot of my former high school. The fixture in the middle of the video is a "stick chick", and just beyond the stick chick is the stadium where I performed at every football game for the last three years as a member of the Richardson High School Eaglettes, a Texas style dance team. What you witnessed was the senior hat-hanging ceremony, meant to be performed in our big auditorium at the end of our final show that is usually held in April. This moment is meant to be the pinnacle of the drill team experience, a last bow in front of your teammates, family, and friends as they celebrate and applaud you for your hard work and dedication. Every early morning, every sore muscle, every tear of frustration was meant to be justified in this moment, when I could finally hang the heavily sequined hat that carried the makeup, sweat and troubles of my three-year experience and inwardly declare "I did it". But that moment never came. When school closed indefinitely in March amidst the raging global pandemic, our final show was the first event to be cancelled, followed shortly after by prom and graduation. The disappointment was crippling. I felt my world cave in as every important moment I had waited months for was stripped from me, and soon sadness made way for anger. Then one day I received an email, announcing the date of an outdoor and socially distanced closing Eaglette ceremony. And funny enough, the moment you see here almost didn't happen. I was so content with my anger that I contemplated not attending the ceremony, controlled by the belief that denying myself of this moment would show the pandemic that it could no longer hurt me. But with some motherly encouragement I gathered myself up at the last minute, making it just in time to hang my hat. I recieved honks instead of cheers, headlights instead of stage lights, and the ages old concrete of the parking lot as my stage. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. What you witnessed was my moment of victory, my realization that good can spring forth amid bad, and the moment that I decided I would not let the pandemic defeat me.

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This item was submitted on September 16, 2021 by Grace Kevin-Aligah using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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