Sunday, March 25, 2012
It's the first day back in St. Paul and the disparities between the past week and my normal routine are already creeping up. There was something majestic about San Francisco: its constant noise, its vivacious people, and its flagrant diversity. While the Cities offer all of that, coming back to the slightly quieter Midway neighborhood has been both calming and disjointing. Even though we just returned, reflecting on the last days of the trip is already a challenge.
This blog has been a great tool for exploring our respective experiences as members of Queer in the Community; it has also served the same purpose as a diary. All of my posts, at least, are tinged with either euphoria or a form of despair, reading them over its easy to see when I was in a particular mood or mindset. I tried to avoid posting during the final portion of the trip simply because those emotions were only going to be hyperbolized-especially the final day. Returning to St. Paul I've already had to summarize a weeks worth of growth into a single sentence, or if I'm lucky, a paragraph. So, for what may be my final post, I want to attempt to do that in a forum where I feel most comfortable and collected. Singling out even one profound thought is a challenge, so bear with me.
There's so much that each of us have taken from this trip, to the extent that even attempting to provide a collective commentary would be intrusive and rude. For me this trip reaffirmed and reinvigorated a lot of my beliefs, my identity, etc.; it also completely redefined certain elements. I've never been one to talk in a conversation unless directly addressed or infuriated to the point of outburst. It's something that was noted in a lot of the affirmations I received (all of which made cry, so thanks for that) and also a little bit on the trip. I don't enjoy talking just to talk, or furthering a dialogue unless I feel like my contributions are warranted. While that won't change, this trip forced me to recognize that my silence sometimes isn't productive. It lets me be comfortable where I should be challenged.
Every speaker, site, and situation we encountered on this trip emerged from individuals voicing their opinions, often in uncomfortable or potentially controversial settings. Queer history is saturated with stories of fortitude and bravery in the face of radical oppression and discrimination; it is a compilation of individual action that motorized a community. While that has always been evident to me from an intellectual standpoint, listening to Beth, Jason, Zoey, and many others divulge their personal histories to us completely reconstructed how I understand any history. The handful of individuals we met and conversed with are activists that have devoted their lives to divulging their stories and their passions essentially to complete strangers, and my inability to even expose my thoughts to peers or friends seems completely complacent in comparison.
This has turned into a monster post mostly because I can't summarize what this trip has done with words. I feel so connected to this group: these eleven fantastic people have all molded, melded, and meshed individually and collectively in such a short period of time. I may be leaving this trip relatively the same, but my comprehension of participation has altered dramatically. My privilege makes me ignorant in many scenarios, but the solution isn't always silence and listening. Each of us has the ability to make a tremendous impact and San Francisco reaffirmed that somewhat idealistic reality.
Until next time.
Posted by Catalyst Alternative Spring Breaks at 12:05 PM