July 4, 2011

Letter #3

Dear California Girls State and Staters 2011

I don’t think I can ever explain to anyone who wasn’t there what Girls State meant to me. I have tried, but it usually just ends up resulting in me tripping over my words and becoming overly excited about some small anecdote or just beaming from ear to ear while my audience looks at me as though I am clinically insane. I’m sure some of you have experienced the same phenomenon. For each of us, this last week is something special that we want to convey and explain to anyone with a working set of ears, but I’m realizing that it is something that you truly need to experience to understand. Words simply cannot do it justice. Words cannot explain how much fun I had and how much I learned while I was there. Words cannot express the way it changed my life. Words cannot describe how powerful and strong and independent I felt there. Words cannot communicate how I felt being a voice for the collective. Words cannot represent how Girls State gave me faith in the future and hope for a better tomorrow. Words cannot articulate the unconditional love I felt from everyone there. Words cannot convey the emotional bond I made with my city sisters, with my county, with my party, with my state.

So instead of trying to explain to others what this last week meant to me, I will explain it to you. After all, you deserve all of the praise and accolades in the world. I know this small letter will never be able to completely give you all of the thanks you deserve, but it's a start.

Girls State taught me to stand up for myself, to accept my own personal worth and value. I learned that, as a young woman, I have strength enough to handle anything. Girls State made me feel strong and proud and beautiful and independent. It took me less than a day from leaving to realize this in action. I oftentimes don’t treat myself as though I’m worth something. I let people walk over me because I cared about them or made excuses for them or simply didn’t have the guts to stand up for myself.

However, after my experience, I now know that I owe it to myself to guard my independence and advocate for my own future, my own happiness. I am stronger than I know, and Girls State helped me to realize that I do have worth and potential and that I am capable of making the change I want to see in the world. You all helped me to see this. I started last week feeling like just another girl about to get lost in the crowd. But over time, as I was elected and appointed and as I made new friends and was afforded opportunities I will never see again in this lifetime, you all made me feel like I had a voice. I cannot convey how honored I was to be elected to represent my city, or how touched I was at the sheer number of Staters that sought me out to congratulate me or simply reached out to be my friend. Girls State was one of the most welcoming and loving environments I have ever had the privilege to be part of. I hope I made you all feel as cared for as you did me. Know that if you every need anything – help, a confidante, advice, or just a friend – I am always here for all of you.

So while I may struggle and times may be difficult, I know that I have the 2011 Staters behind me. Even as my world may fall apart, I know that I have 473 beautiful girls who will help me to pick up the pieces (and use blue tape to try to put them back together). Your kindness is something I greatly admire, and right now, that thought alone calms the knots in my stomach and makes me feel like things are going to be okay. I love and admire each and every one of you, and I hope that one day in your time of need I can help give you the strength you have all given to me. For the rest of my life, Girls State will always be a memory that, when brought out of my pocket like a worn photograph and gingerly unfolded, will never fail to bring a smile to my face.

So, in short, thank you all. You are all in my heart and in my prayers, and I will never forget you.

Sparkle fingers for everyone,

No comments:

Post a Comment