By my bedroom door, there’s a big porcelain cat that my parents gave me years ago. I’ve blogged about it before.

Next to it, there’s a stack of framed diplomas. They’re my diplomas. I’m quite proud of the degrees they represent. It was hard to get into MIT and into the graduate school program I attended, and also hard to get through to the other side.

My dad had the three diplomas framed. I didn’t ask him to do it, and ever since, I’ve been pretty uncomfortable about them. I suppose I should hang them somewhere.

But anywhere I think of hanging them feels wrong. At work, our office is open-plan, with 8 or more of us working at tables grouped together, all communal and shared. I wince to even think of hanging them there. And I don’t have a home office.

Could I hang them in my kitchen? No, that would be odd. I have a little living room in my apartment, but I don’t want to weigh that area down with the ponderousness of my educational credentials.

The bathroom has some wall space. But no, it would be insulting my school and myself to hang them there. Hanging them in my bedroom feels odd too. So much pressure. Maybe the hallway? Mmm, no.

So there they sit, stacked on the floor against a bookshelf. Next to the ceramic cat.

I’m proud of my schooling, yet I’m embarrassed about being proud of it.  And I love the big, awkward porcelain cat my parents gave me, full of memories and sweetness, guileless. But I hide all of them away where I hope no one sees them but me.