Well, well, well.
Oasis is back. I'm glad it is now so my first entry can be about my CloseUp trip which has been pivotal in my own mind and in the actions and positions I've fought for outside of myself.
Closeup is an organization that takes high school students to Washington D.C. for a week to learn about the government. Having an interest in politics (and a desire to be gone for a week) I participated from the 19th until the 25th residing in room 807 at the Holiday Inn in Silver Springs, Maryland.
California, Louisiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Texas were the states represented this particular week. 189 students, and by a twist of fate, 150 were girls. There were two co-ed school there, most of the boys were from Valley Forge Military School. The vast majority were all girls Catholic schools much like my own.
I'm not shy, so I spoke quite often throughout the trip. In debates, in speaches, in asking questions of speakers, and involvement in workshops and seminars. Basicly, everyone on the trip knew my name. With my name, there was also a great deal of respect. New Orleans decided I was going to be the first lady president and many agreed. This is all becuase I spoke up and often and did so as articulately and knowledgeably as I could.
Not to mention the fact I was unebashedly out as a lesbian.
It made the respect I had worth so much more. It also meant coming out to my school to the people I know at school, but not having the fear about doing so.
You get used to having to defend yourself and your life everyday, or hiding for fear of the real repercussions we face everyday. People who worked with me saw me as the strong fighter that I am first and saw my sexual preference as merely an attribute that has nothing to do with how I work or what kind of a leader I can be. This is one of the greatest victories I've had.
Inside myself, I finally grabbed that last piece of being a leader and having total unknockable strength in who I am. That too is a great victory. I've always been confident, but now it's a confidence in every aspect of myself, not just a knowledge of a skill or talent.
It's empowerment. And for the time being, empowerment is one of my favorite words because it has the potential to do anything and everything it sets out to do.