One year ago, the floor vanished beneath me. Everything I thought I loved fell for what seemed like forever. The seeds I planted, the framework I built, the confidence I accumulated -- all of it, gone.
And for what? Why?
Because I stood up for what I believed in. The environment in which I immersed myself was poisonous. I would lose sleep at night imagining how I could make Student Senate the best voice for students, as well as a tolerable atmosphere for the people involved. I had the solution, I offered it, and my peers and fellow senators accepted it.
But when you aim for the top, you knock others away. The problem with politics is that those people aren't people. They're flies. They don't disappear when you swat at them. They stick around, and they lay their maggots on your skin. These people whom I thought were my friends-- they became maggots, and they decomposed my confidence. They were promised things by the flies in charge, enjoying the shit that they were fed, digesting it on my plate... a plate that they themselves served to me by originally choosing me as candidate for president. My promising "no bullshit" wasn't appealing to them any longer; there was a heaping pile of manure to be offered by another.
But Senate wasn't really important to me. I thought it was. What was important were the friendships. Senate was all I knew at KU. I had been a senator since week 3 of college. As a sophomore and student body president nominee, things were moving fast.
So when I defeated my friends for the presidential nomination, I was ignorant on many levels. I was ignorant to think that they would follow my lead. I was ignorant to think that they had better things to do with their time, backup plans that were equally exciting. I was ignorant to think that they were even my real friends. These friendships I thought I had built were based on power struggles and bending over for one another. Well, I was the one who got fucked. And when I didn't sleep all of finals week, when I wanted to quit every day, people called me a coward... the same people who left a knife in my back.
And I did quit. I never wanted to be Student Body President for the power and glory and title. My resume didn't need that to sell me as a hard worker and honest human being. I wanted to help an organization to which I passionately devoted my time. I saw my friends fighting with one another, all wanting to enjoy Senate but never finding common ground. I realize now that it was because they all hoped to benefit from the power. And thus the problem I sought to fix ended up fixing me.
And it did fix me. As soon as those "friends" were out of my life, the best moments of that life unveiled themselves. I wrote my own screenplay and taught myself the craft. My characters were human beings. One was abandoned by those she trusted. She had to redefine "trust" and "friendship" and now lives cautiously; but she's real and honest and truly alive. She is me.
I went to the Telluride Film Festival. I made contacts with 4 dozen film students from across the nation. I met world-renowned filmmakers, Academy Award winners, and saw 2007's best films 3 months before anybody else.
I got accepted into a European study abroad program. You've already read about that.
I'm interning next summer with the San Francisco Film Society, as well as a yet-undetermined second internship. I've promised more on this topic before... it's coming soon.
I stopped treating people like voters, and although I've always acted like myself, I no longer feel like I'm acting. I am naturally polite and cordial and motivated. I'm the perfect politician, except that I can't treat other human beings like doormats.
When the floor fell beneath me, I stopped breathing. But I didn't fall. Months passed before I found solid ground, but nothing truly valuable had disappeared. My real friends remained. Advisors, family, and friends were my rock. They helped me rebuild my confidence. Senate is beneath me, along with the worms who dwell in its muddy water. I feel so empowered now, and not because of a business card or a gold parking pass.
You don't know happiness until you've endured pain.
I am happy.
My mom sent me this a year ago for reassurance. It has defined 2007:
"The minute you begin to do what you really want to do, it's really a different kind of life."
-R. Buckminster Fuller