And thank you to all the graduating class of 2009, Irealize most of you are hungover and have splittingheadaches and haven't slept since Fat Tuesday, butyou can't graduate 'til I finish, so listen up.
When I was asked to make the commencement speech, I immediately said yes. Then I went tolook up what commencement meant. Which would have been easy if I had a dictionary, butmost of the books in our house are Portia's, and they're all written in Australian. So I had tobreak the word down myself, to find out the meaning.
Commencement: common, and cement. Common cement. You commonly see cement onsidewalks. Sidewalks have cracks, and if you step on a crack, you break your mother's back. Sothere's that. But I'm honored that you've asked me here to speak at your common cement.
I thought that you had to be a famous alumnus - alumini - aluminum - alumis - you had tograduate from this school. And I didn't go to college here, and I don't know if President Cowanknows, I didn't go to any college at all. Any college. And I'm not saying you wasted your time,or money, but look at me, I"m a huge celebrity.
Although I did graduate from the school of hard knocks, our mascot was the knockers. I spenta lot of time here growing up. My mom worked at (? 估计是某家商店的名字) and I would go thereevery time I needed to steal something out of her purse. But why am I here today? Clearly notto steal, you're too far away and I'd never get away with it.
I'm here because of you. Because I can't think of a more tenacious, more courageousgraduating class. I mean, look at you all, wearing your robes. Usually when you're wearing arobe at 10 in the morning, it means you've given up. I'm here because I love New Orleans. I wasborn and raised here, I spent my formative years here, and like you, while I was living here Ionly did laundry six times.
When I finished school, I was completely lost. And by school, I mean middle school, but I wentahead and finished high school anyway. And I - I really, I had no ambition, I didn't know what Iwanted to do. I did everything from - I shucked oysters, I was a hostess, I was a bartender, Iwas a waitress, I painted houses, I sold vaccuum cleaners, I had no idea. And I thought I'd justfinally settle in some job, and I would make enough money to pay my rent, maybe have basiccable, maybe not, I didn't really have a plan, my point is that, by the time I was your age, Ireally thought I knew who I was, but I had no idea. Like for example, when I was your age, Iwas dating men. So what I'm saying is, when you're older, most of you will be gay. Anyonewriting this stuff down? Parents?
Anyway, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and the way I ended up on this pathwas from a very tragic event. I was maybe 19, and my girlfriend at the time was killed in a caraccident. And I passed the accident, and I didn't know it was her and I kept going, and I foundout shortly after that, it was her. And I was living in a basement apartment, I had no money, Ihad no heat, no air, I had a mattress on the floor and the apartment was infested with fleas.And I was soul-searching, I was like, why is she suddenly gone, and there are fleas here? Idon't understand, there must be a purpose, and wouldn't it be so convenient if we could pickup the phone and call God, and ask these questions.
And I started writing and what poured out of me was an imaginary conversation with God,which was one-sided, and I finished writing it and I looked at it and I said to myself, and Ihadn't even been doing stand-up, ever, there was no club in town. I said, "I'm gonna do this onthe Tonight Show With Johnny Carson"- at the time he was the king - "and I'm gonna be thefirst woman in the history of the show to be called over to sit down." And several years later, Iwas the first woman in the history of the show, and only woman in the history of the show tosit down, because of that phone conversation with God that I wrote.
And I started this path of stand-up and it was successful and it was great, but it was hard,because I was trying to please everybody and I had this secret that I was keeping, that I wasgay. And I thought if people found out they wouldn't like me, they wouldn't laugh at me.
Then my career turned into - I got my own sitcom, and that was very successful, another levelof success. And I thought, what if they find out I'm gay, then they'll never watch, and this wasa long time ago, this was when we just had white presidents - this was back, many years ago -and I finally decided that I was living with so much shame, and so much fear, that I just couldn'tlive that way anymore, and I decided to come out and make it creative. And my characterwould come out at the same time, and it wasn't to make a political statement, it wasn't to doanything other than to free myself up from this heaviness that I was carrying around, and I justwanted to be honest. And I thought, "What's the worst that could happen? I can lose mycareer". I did. I lost my career. The show was cancelled after six years, without even telling me, Iread it in the paper. The phone didn't ring for three years. I had no offers. Nobody wanted totouch me at all.
Yet, I was getting letters from kids that almost committed suicide, but didn't, because of whatI did. And I realised that I had a purpose. And it wasn't just about me and it wasn't aboutcelebrity, but I felt like I was being punished... it was a bad time, I was angry, I was sad, andthen I was offered a talkshow. And the people that offered me the talkshow tried to sell it. Andmost stations didn't want to pick it up. Most people didn't want to buy it because they thoughtnobody would watch me.
Really when I look back on it, I wouldn't change a thing. I mean, it was so important for me tolose everything because I found out what the most important thing is, is to be true to yourself.Ultimately, that's what's gotten me to this place. I don't live in fear, I'm free, I have no secrets.and I know I'll always be ok, because no matter what, I know who I am.
So In conclusion, when I was younger I thought success was something different. I thoughtwhen I grow up, I want to be famous. I want to be a star. I want to be in movies. When I growup I want to see the world, drive nice cars, I want to have groupies. To quote the PussycatDolls. How many people thought it was "boobies", by the way? It's not, it's "groupies".
But my idea of success is different today. And as you grow, you'll realise the definition ofsuccess changes. For many of you, today, success is being able to hold down 20 shots oftequila. For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity, and notto give into peer pressure. to try to be something that you're not. To live your life as anhonest and compassionate person. to contribute in some way.
So to conclude my conclusion: follow your passion, stay true to yourself. Never followanyone else's path, unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path, and by allmeans you should follow that. Don't give advice, it will come back and bite you in the ass. Don'ttake anyone's advice. So my advice to you is to be true to yourself and everything will be fine.
And I know that a lot of you are concerned about your future, but there's no need to worry.The economy is booming, the job market is wide open, the planet is just fine. It's gonna begreat. You've already survived a hurricane. What else can happen to you? And as I mentionedbefore, some of the most devastating things that happen to you will teach you the most. Andnow you know the right questions to ask in your first job interview. Like, "Is it above sealevel?" .
So to conclude my conclusion that I've previously concluded, in the common cementspeech, I guess what I'm trying to say is life is like one big Mardi Gras. But instead of showingyour boobs, show people your brain, and if they like what they see, you'll have more beads thanyou know what to do with. And you'll be drunk, most of the time. So the Katrina class of 2009,I say congratulations and if you don't remember a thing I said today, remember this: you'regonna be ok, dum de dum dum dum, just dance.
因此……总结一下我刚才做的我的“常见的水泥”演讲的结论(大家笑)，我猜我想说的是，人生犹如一场狂欢嘉年华，记得展现你的头脑，而不是胸部。……2009年的毕业生们，我说祝贺大家了!若你不记得我今天说的任何话，就请记住这一句：you’re going to be ok，dun-doom-doom-doom(大家愣)，just dance!(所有人大笑欢呼)