Friday, February 6, 2009

I'm bonkers - I know.

I think it all started in 5th grade with a letter and social studies lesson. Regan was seated and Mrs. Walden (the best 5th grade teacher in the solar system) had us all write him letters and taught us in depth about our amazing American Government.

That night was the first time my uncorrupted and wide eyed self started to see things beyond my neighborhood and purple unicorn bike. It was the first time I kept myself awake all night without a book. I was enamored with what I had learned at school and the question and possibilities associated with those golden questions that kept my little mind sparking, wheeling, and whistling all night.

"What would I do if I were President, if I were in Politics? What kind of difference could I make?"

I ran for my first position when I was in 6th grade. I can't remember what it was but I lost. It wasn't a defeat though because I got appointed to another position that was available. Something about selling suckers at lunch. I distinctly remember Mickey Valentines pops - a lot of them.

In 7th grade I was at a new school and I went at it again. This time for class president. My campaign colors were black and gold. I wore black and gold everyday for 2 weeks. I painted black poster board with gold paint, read a very clever speech, but I lost and got appointed to something else again.

I gravitated towards speech and debate. My first debate on point was in 8th grade at a school wide event. It was on Abortion. I went Pro-Life. We got trampled but I had the time of my life. No Swayze required.

High school and college brought on a whole bunch of other opportunities. I've volunteered for every kind of committee from Accreditation to Budgets through whatever student government was closest. I'm addicted to Policy. I feel alive when I feel like I'm causing change, when I'm involved, when I'm attached and responsible for something bigger and more important than me.

Pre-Mission college was particularly busy. I was slathered in meetings and agendas all the time and I lurved it! President of the Institute, President of the LDSSA, Student Government, Academic Senate and on and on and on. My church callings growing up was the same story; Beehive President, Mia Maid President, Laurel President, Stake Youth Rep, Stake Young Adult rep etc etc etc.

In my meager years as a register voter I have sat on 3 different juries two of which I have been asked to chair. As a matter of fact one of the first things I did on my 18th Birthday was register to vote.

This is just a part of my personality that comes out no matter where I am or how much I try and hide it. It's what I do. It's how I work. I'm a Red, a type A, and an ENFJ. People default to me and I don't mind. Leadership is easy and reflexive.

I don't regurgitate this to peacock about, just to background and foreground my recent mental landscape which I will get on with now -

Politics is second nature in my house. Mom was an activist (and still is in her heart. I catch her singing her Protest-folk music when no one is looking), Grandpa is a Vet, I was born with NPR in my ear and my hand over my heart.

With every history class I took and book I read that taught me more about this country my feelings went from the default, obligatory, conditioned, patriotism to a deep, personal and fervent conviction to my country.

Then the time came for my mission and where did I go - out of anywhere in the known world? None other than Washington D.C.
hmmmm -

Confession: I love politics. I've wanted to go into politics since I knew what the stuff was. I know its a dirty and mine fielded game that there is little room for women it, but its the lover I cannot leave behind. Its gnawed at me since I can remember.

I promised one of my besties Ms.Emsy Marvy Lady that as soon as I was finished Netflixing How I Met Your Mother I'd devote my red envelope attentions to The West Wing. This show, its brilliance, amazing wardrobe, and its depth hasn't helped sequester my inner Lobbyist.

So being at this career and logistical crossroads right now I have a lot of options and my imagination has had some elbow room for the first time in years, but Politics??!

My inner dialogue on the matter has been something like this:

Realistic Liz: This is crazy.
Wistful Liz: I love crazy. Its all I really know.
RL: That's not true.
WL: This is what I'm made for
RL: Nay. You're not tough enough to survive. Those people have no shame, a lot of money and a sense of entitlement that could blow over a semi. You're not even close to the Ivy League grad degree you'd need just to get some one's attention. That requires a number of things you don't have; grades, money, time, and a relation named Kennedy. Besides, what would you do? You can't just walk up to the White House in a cute suit with an honest heart. You're getting into the game like 12 years too late. People are half way through their political career by your age. Obama's speech writer is two years younger than you!! People who work in the White House are Rhodes scholars and valedictorians and all those smart people that you hang around but really aren't. This is folly. You're way out of your league and you know it.
WL: I don't care. Its what I love.

Law school seems horribly daunting. I'm the daughter of a lawyer and the granddaughter of a lawyer and its never occurred to me ONCE to look at it.

I was floored when my favorite professor at CalPoly took me aside once an suggested it as a grad school option. I'm still stammering at the idea honestly but the words fell hard and true and haven't left me.

I'm not sewing on any patches, thinking I could be president, or catching Potomac Fever by any means. I'm just articulating something that I've never really aired out before. That's all.

I'm bonkers - I know...


Nicole said...

I'm a yellow, borderline type A, and an ENFP. In HS, I was voted most likely to go into a congresswoman. I understand all the campaigning, not getting elected, and being appointed to committees. I'm just not sure I have the guts to be battered by the public and media on hot button topics. But good on you! I'll make sure I register to vote in whatever district I could vote for you ;)

Liz W. said...

I've always wanted to be a Constitutional lawyer.

So, I say, if it's in your heart, go for it!

You'll never regret it if it doesn't work out. But, you'll always regret it if you never try...

Quixotic Healer said...

Wow Liz, WOW! I'm thinking of that long line of English majors on your mom's side, and that long line of Lawyers on your dad's.....

I'm interested to see where your thoughts take you.

Anonymous said...

West Wing rocks all. Lots of rocks. I feel dumber since I finished the show. How's your journey with it going even??