Alma Mater:
Where I learned to be
the true Chrissie,
not the Chrissie
everyone else
wanted me to be.
Where I learned to say yes
to parties and Bacardi,
where I learned to say yes
to good times and
goofing off,
where I learned to say yes
to joining a Sorority,
Unity Through
Purple and Gold,
and all the realities
of Greek family life;
where I learned my place,
where I learned my identity,
where I learned to love
others, but mostly myself;
where I learned how to live life
on my own terms,
facing the consequences of doing so,
facing the music,
the sweet, sweet music,
singing “Closer to Fine”
in three-part harmony
with Traci and Mykee,
Mykee, who’s gone now,
two years ago this month,
succumbing to cancer,
still in her prime.
And where I learned to say no,
no to being one-dimensional,
no to being undefinable,
no to being inexpressible,
no to being only what
my mother dictated,
in the ways that she wanted,
when and how she demanded
that I behave;
no to boys who thought
they were men in fine clothing,
no to boys who thought
they had rights they did not;
no to ideas I’d never had
the audacity to challenge
until I learned to think for myself,
to do for myself,
to have the love and support
of people who knew me
for whom I was,
not who they wanted me to be,
for whom they supported me in being,
celebrated me being,
just because I was Chrissie;
a place I go back to thirty years later,
and still feel the love,
still feel the acceptance,
still feel the successes
and relive all those glories,
the pain and losses, too,
because it’s all part and parcel
of who I am, who I became
when I walked those
hallowed hills
and sideways sidewalks
at Emory & Henry College.