Feeling tha Bern...A summer in Vermont
It's always interesting the places I find myself. Two years ago I don't think I could’ve pointed this hidden gem out on a map! Obviously, geographically- it's been here. I just doubt the rest of the country had it's eyes on this quaint town, until Bernie Sanders became the millennial favorite during the 2016 presidential campaign. Yet and still here I am.
I booked a sweet gig as the Campus Director for a performing arts camp and in exchange for my summer, I got the chance to learn more about the ins and outs of running my own program. (The Black LotUs project- more on that later.)
I wanted to make the most out of this opportunity professionally and playfully, here's how I dun it.
I bought a bike-and it makes me very happy. I named her Sarah Smile after the mid 70’s Rock hit and yes, if you're wondering, I did hear that song playing in my head and in my iTunes shuffle as I rolled down the Burlington hills. Not up them though, I mostly heard my thighs and heart rate swearing at me for buying a bike.
On the ride downtown one day-and yes it’s literally down town, Burlington is situated 200-328 ft above sea level on the side of a mountain. I rode to Battery Park in search of inspiration to journal. I stopped down by the Chief Grey Lock statue, read about the monument snapped some obligatory optics and rode on. Out the corner of my eye at a distance, I noticed a black man looking my way. As a black woman in Burlington, you notice every other black person. He was too far to acknowledge and I wasn't interested, so I rode on and got cozy on a park bench. Nose deep in my journal, a man sits next to me and pulls out his phone, jots down a note and hands it to me. It's the black guy I spotted earlier. His message reads "Hi I'm deaf, and I think you're very beautiful." Taken aback, I indulged him for what seemed like 2 hours, much longer than I would have had he not been deaf. He told me about his background, that english wasn’t his first language, which somehow turned into a conversation about love and his belief system- which is fundamentally different from my own. There was a time that I knew so well what I wanted that I wouldn’t have given this stranger a second glance. But some times life happens, slaps you around a bit and you grow up. I’m glad I did. This conversation shed a light that I was really in a vulnerable place relationally and now was the perfect opportunity to fall in love with me all the more. That way love won’t be a stranger when it does come wrapped in what I need. He was great, but not for me, I let him down easy.
I started doing even more things that fed me, inside and outside of my demanding work schedule. I had the chance to work with some amazing people, so I found myself being more invested and intentional with my co-workers, their needs, and even socially ( I have a tendency to keep co-worker engagement to a minimum.) I even took a quick trip to Montreal, Canada with the Dance Instructor, she's a gem and I now affectionately refer to her as my hashtag Socapa Bae :) I had the chance to do some stand up paddle boarding, hiking, and kayaking for the 1st time!
While our students made sure that I earned my keep, I found the cliche’ “Life is what you make it” to be true on a whole new level. Regardless of what I don’t have or what I do have for that matter; my perspective truly influences and can enrich the experiences, through them all I’ve learned it’s truly about the journey, the destination is only its by product.
So cheers to a beautiful summer of growth, self love, sexy legs, and beautiful people.
And if you live in Vermont re-elect Bernie in this year’s Senate ;) I’m sure he had something to do with why I had such a good summer.
P.s. Pardon the grammatical errors! Hopefully you read this in my voice and understand that I speak in run on sentences.