OutPower

Oh, The Places You’ll Go – Madelyn Eatley

OUT ON THE HILL is the official blog of the Victory Congressional Interns. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ Victory Institute. Learn more about the internship at victoryinstitute.org/vci

———————————–

Congratulations!

Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!

– Dr. Seuss

 

As I look ahead to the end of my Victory Congressional Internship, the completion of my bachelor’s degree, and my career ahead of me, I have also done a lot of thinking back to my childhood. Even though like every young adult, I have had my fair share of spats and arguments with my parents, I have been blessed with a family who has supported me in so many different ways over the years. My dad loves to tell me to “keep the faith” when things get especially hard, enough that I have started passing the same phrase on to my friends. My mom has always been scarily good at reading other people and has often given the best advice on situations with friends and coworkers. My parents have both gone through the experience of being a young adult making their way through college, but as I move forwards to my career in politics and advocacy, and my adult life as a queer person, I have had to step into the shoes of trusting my own gut and making my own decisions about my future.

This is, of course, quite possibly the scariest thing I have done so far. Although I can still call my dad on a cold day in November and ask the best way to make gumbo, it is a lot harder to call and ask him how to secure a job in a Congressman’s office on Capitol Hill or ask for advice on addressing my fears as the Supreme Court and state legislatures start to target my right to get married or exist as openly queer. My mom can sympathize with me on our collective frustrations with coworkers, but less so with the subtle prejudice that I have experienced based on the people I love and the way that I present myself.

As I carve my own path into the field of politics, I can sometimes be overwhelmed by the number of possibilities, interests, and directions that I can take. Will I return to Capitol Hill? I have loved working here during the internship, and I feel that my work has been important, but has it been direct enough to make the changes I want to? Will I stay back home in Texas and work in local government, enabling me to help my hometown community quicker and more efficiently? Will I run for office one day? Will I become an advocate who lobbies for support of bills on Capitol Hill?

Luckily throughout our internship, we have been told time and again that career changes are not rare, that you honestly never truly know where you will be in ten years, and that picking a job in your twenties does not dictate where you will be for the rest of your career.

I am sure I will make plenty of mistakes as I grow up, but I am also sure that having the support system that I do is a huge part of my ability to keep pushing, keep growing and keep working toward the life that I want. Wherever I am in one, five, or ten years, I know that I have gained so many skills over the past ten weeks that will prepare me to advocate for myself and make the best decisions I can in my work and the rest of my life.

As Dr. Seuss once said, my mountain is waiting, and I am on my way!