“And We Danced…” -Brad Paisley #MAGA?

The past two months have been some of the most amazing, painful, and eventful times in my life. I look back at myself two months ago and I view a completely different person. I came to Washington, D.C. as a “straight” male student; afraid of what others might think of me if I were to truly be myself. I came with the wonder of what this miraculous city was like; what it had in store. I leave a person I can truly stare at in the mirror and be proud of; truly, me. I now know what Washington truly has to offer and why the “wonder” of the city resonates all throughout the country. Washington, D.C. is a magical place. I leave a new me; I leave with life-long friends, and a maturity I never presumed possible to inhabit my body. Alas, lets reflect back on the things I have learned during this journey…

6/7/17: “Lastly, one key trait that I have learned throughout this whole process—especially during this past week—is to be patient. Having difficulty finding an internship, I left Arizona with a sense of optimism and anxiety that I knew would only be filled if that void was sealed. After months of dead leads and communication channels, I finally found an outlet that was interested in me, as much as I was them. Looking back at what I thought was my ideal outlet, I can’t help but laugh. It is through this new appreciation for the patience that I find myself overjoyed and eager to see what the future holds. With the phrase, “Patience is a virtue” being ever-so personified and embodied, I now go forward with the mindset that this process—as hellish and exhausting as it may have been—happened for a higher reason. The word, “Yes”, has never sounded so great.”

6/14/17: “One thing I have learned this week is to never doubt yourself. Never give up—as cliché as that may sound—because if I would have—and trust me I was about to—I wouldn’t have the internship I do now; nor would I have made relationships with some amazing people. The phrase, “You are good enough” comes to mind simultaneously. Being confident in your own credentials and making sure outlets truly know how great you are. Everyone is faced with challenges, but what separates us is how we react/respond to those and continue forward. In the loving voice of Dory, “Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming”.”

6/21/17: “One thing I learned this week—and what a week it has been—is to truly be “myself”. I went into my internship with CAP stating that I am going to be my true self, and if my fellow interns don’t support me, then they shouldn’t be in my life. This is a thought that I have had since I can remember, and yet I just acted upon it—I finally listened to myself—this week. So this past week, that’s what I did. I didn’t hold anything back. Making, for the first time, my genuine self-vulnerable.  Throughout this past week I showed myself that I can still make/have great—long lasting—friends without having to “hide” or “hold back”. A perfect example of this was this past Friday, my intern friends at CAP and I went to a 18+ gay bar… some gay, some straight, some male, some female. Having never imagined I would be able to go to such a place with people—the gay bar, all of my once worry of judgement disappeared. They—my friends—didn’t care what we were doing, where we were or who I was with, but rather cared that we were all able to socialize and be with one another. This type of love, acceptance, and friendship is the kind that I used to dream about when coming to DC. All the time worrying that my dream was a far-fetched reality when really it was about to unfold in real life. Because of this openness and acceptance from my new friends at CAP, I have been spending a lot of time with my fellow interns more so than other groups, for spending time in a group that doesn’t accept you for who you are, and are having to put up a “front” in front of, is exhausting and no-longer. I’m blessed to have landed here at CAP with the amazing individuals who not only challenge me—on a day-to-day level—personally and professionally.”

6/29/17: “This past week has been a rollercoaster with reference to things I learned. The most pressing—and simply, kind of depressing—has been that in this dog-eat-dog world, you must be very careful in who you lay your trust with. This week has made me reflect on what I presumed—originally—was one of the best things to have happened to me; taking on D.C. with my fellow Sun Devils. This week has also made me reflect and be thankful for how lucky myself—and my family—are, to live the life we do. If it weren’t for the hard work of my parents, and grandparents, I would currently be stressing about legal duties and my economic situation. Thankfully, I could learn to openly trust my legal team; for, at one point in time, I presumed the whole world was against me. In short, this week has shown me how murky and complicated the legal system in our country is—even though I want to practice law one day. I am thankful for the people that have remained by my side through this whole process and lastly, the idea of “If something/someone is too good to be true, it/he/she probably isn’t real”. I am growing on a personal and emotional level, day after day. I continue to make amazing—I presume real, although I have been misled before—friends in the D.C. area. People I know will have my back through the thick-and-thin. I truly am blessed.”

7/8/17: “This week I learned how to properly vet phone calls. One of my on-going tasks for this week was to vet stories that CAP had reici3eved from constituents about their use of the governmental programs and the safety-net. Having to make nearly 300 different call—mind you each one is 15-30 minutes long—I was able to begin determining what stories would be appropriate for CAP to pursue, and which ones would not. This was a very humbling experience, for I was told by many people that if Trumps cuts are truly enacted—vis-à-vis health care repeal and replace—they will die. Yes, literally die. I learned how grateful I am for the current ACA program that we have and truly –in Mr. Trump’s words- “How complicated healthcare can be”; with that being said, I am only 20 years old and not the President of the United States…”

7/12/17: “One thing that I learned over the past week was that “less is more” when it comes to policy briefings. I had to write some policy briefing memos for the Vice President of my team this week and what I thought was “too short” was ultimately “way too long”. My direct report that I had screened the memos I wrote before they got into the hands of the VP had to cut more than half of the fluff that I had added into the briefing. For, I am used to having to reach a page number or word count during my academic writing, and presumably, more is always better. After this awkward encounter and discourse, I have now written more than 5 memos for other individuals in our departments—making sure I was keeping to the point—and I have received positive feedback from them. I have found that if each and every word in a sentence does not add to the substantial content of the piece, such words shall be deleted. This internship has made me a better writer and I look forward to learning, even more, ways on how I can be a better writer and further continue my policy field aspirations.”

In closing, I am beyond thankful for my friends and family that have supported me, loved me and cheered me on through this process. As I have stated throughout all of my blog posts, I have met some of the most amazing people; People I know I will have by my side in not just Washington and Arizona, but for the rest of my life. We have been through A LOT, and yet we still continue to move forward. Per one of my blog titles, in closing, I would like to further reiterate the statement of, “Nevertheless, she [he] persisted”. Forks up, everyone. God bless.

P.S. I taught Kara how to 2 step this week… if only I had brought my cowboy boots and 10-gallon hat with me! #blessed

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