bradley afroilan
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The Last Semester

5.22.16

thank you to the spirits, the aunties, the uncles, and all th cousins for making sure a brown boy with the twitchng nose stayed out of trouble.
thank you to my nieces and nephews: Jocelyn, Tyler, Ari, Ev, Zeke, Cassia, Tristan, Sammy, and Isiah for letting me revisit childhood
sorry auntie val and i set the bar hela high, but i better see y'all graduate in 10-15 years
thank you to the down 2 chill barkada
benny 4 senny campaign team
art for social change
APASD
for holding space for a UCSB transfer
biggest thank you's to Manang and Pops
Manang for influencing my artistry and teaching me most things i know
Pops for immigrating with barely anything in your pockets, working at walmart, juggling roles as father and mother so that manang and i could go to college
this degree is for you

to my mother
who i wish was here today because her dream was to see me graduate
but she passed away 13 years ago from
on the day before she passed in the hospital while recovering from brain surgery, she was more concerned about me passsing the 3rd grade reading exam than her own health

i'm here to say
that little boy does pass the reading exam
your little boy does pass the third grade
your little boy does graduate college
and with honors

momma we made it

today is the last day.
as i ran today up a hill, i stopped and i asked myself
what if the societal definition of happiness was the societal definition of depression.
it changed my way of thinking.
just because depression is defined to be one way, i can experience it completely differently.
what if i am happy just the way i am.
what if the names of these emotions are just made up.
i experience happiness and depression in very different ways than other people.
this is my last thought.
the world is up to me to define.
yes there are certain things i agree with when it comes to social justice.
but when i am able to have a say and control over what i feel, 
i'm going to define it
i'm going to live it.
because that's what feels right.

 

Bradley Afroilan