Vignettes in Silence: Learning a New Language

Vignettes in Silence:

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The Flood (Inundar)

What do you do when you don't speak the native language of the country you're living in but you're apartment is flooding? I had to Google translate the word "flood" before I ran downstairs to tell the guard...that's when another kind of flood took over. Six people immediately rushed to my kitchen to find the source of the leak. I could talk to none of them but everything got cleaned and soaked up and fixed without one word from me.

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Migration Office

At the migration office collecting all the records of Pedro and I's travels in and out of Ecuador, documents we were tasked to collect in order to apply for a common law marriage license, I was overwhelmed with this feeling that I couldn't speak. Or shouldn't speak. Not even to Pedro. I was suddenly terrified of people knowing I didn't speak Spanish. I thought it better to not speak at all. Pedro tried to comfort me but it only made me start crying. Crying forced me to talk so that Pedro would know my tears weren't his fault. So there I was, a crying white lady explaining myself in English, my fears becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

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Clown Car to Ibarra

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On our way to Ibarra for the rugby team's first away game, the van carrying the bulk of the team, that the coach had rented for the trip, broke down. Pedro and I were behind the van, driving his mother's car and carrying one other team mate. After a few quick calculations, 3 additional ruggers climbed into the back of our car. Two of them were skinny enough to weight 1 actual person. I experienced 2 solid hours of picking out the few Spanish words I knew (none of them spoke English or at least didn't address me the whole ride) and trying to piece together their sentiments. Two hours of what felt like code-breaking with only 5 pieces of a 100 piece puzzle left me mentally exhausted. We reached the stadium in which the game took place, and I instantly found a quiet corner of the stands to piece myself back together. I hope the rest of the team doesn't find me aloof or rude or anti-social - I just can't broken-Spanish/hand gesture my way through poor attempts at communication right now. I need to recharge in a manner that doesn't require deciphering.

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Taking Up Space

In the States, in all the cities I lived in, I always wanted to take up less space. As a bigger girl growing up and an average sized woman who still feels overweight, I always strive to take up as little space as possible. I never want to be the in way, or in other words, perhaps I didn't want to be noticed because to me, being noticed equaled being judged negatively. I didn't want to to be seen, yet I also wanted a massive amount of personal space. I think most Americans, perhaps not New Yorkers who regularly use the subway, can say the same. However, boundaries I became used to on Philadelphia are less important in Ecuador, or at least seem to be. Here, you're allowed, as a human being, to exist in whatever physical capacity you deem fit. Young or old, upper class, well dressed business persons or a vendor on the street, wherever you are, wherever you're walking or going, that space is yours and others seem to respect it.

Here, I think, I can be someone who takes up a bit more space .... and not feel guilty about it.

Exhausted and Rushed (But Necessary)

Hi everyone! 

For those who know me and my recent travels, you know I'm living in Quito, Ecuador now with my fiancé, Pedro. Move to Ecuador they said. Move to Ecuador I told myself. It'll be an adventure they said. It'll be an adventure, I kept telling myself...and an adventure it is. For this past month, it's been an anxiety provoking adventure. The word "adventure" isn't inherently good or bad, is it? Dictionary.com defines it as an "exciting or very unusual experience."

This is the "Ecuador Me" y'all see on facebook. I try to hide the anxiety as not to worry or put a spotlight on myself.

This is the "Ecuador Me" y'all see on facebook. I try to hide the anxiety as not to worry or put a spotlight on myself.

Maybe I haven't reached the "exciting" part yet, but unusual? Yes. An American in South America! Folks back home think I'm in a completely different time zone. (Hint: it's the same time zone as Eastern Standard Time.)

If you know me, you know I'm not the most daring or brave person. People creep me out. I abhor feeling out of place or in the way. I feel judged the minute I walk out my door. For context, when I moved to Philly by myself back in 2009 for graduate school, I thought I'd take the city by storm the second I arrived. Well...nope. It took me a solid month before I started exploring the city. I told myself I needed to "nest" first and get to know the neighborhood (as West Philadelphia has a certain reputation..... y'all know.)

First, in a nutshell, the past 45 days has felt exhausting and rushed. As the future wife of an Ecuadorian, we will live here for 3+ years while Pedro is teaching at his alma mater and a lot of things need to be put into place for me to live and work here legally. Such as, I had to get my ECU and Drexel degrees legalized in Ecuador so that I can potentially get a job in the arts sector. I have to find new doctors (granted...I never really found new doctors in Philly....my body needs a lot of work but Philly doctors were too expensive and my US health care had a crazy high deductible). We have to contact a lawyer about getting "common law" married so we can get a health care plan that I can actually use. We wanted to get a joint checking account so we can stop venmoing each other from our US bank accounts that all charge us a fee to use internationally after we buy groceries or dog food. But wait! We can't because the bank requires that I have a work or tourist visa first. The reason I don't have one yet is because anyone can be in Ecuador for 3 months before needing to have any "papers," but I can't GET that visa until I figure out how to get my Pennsylvania Criminal Records notarized and apostiled without me needing to be present (I'm not sure I can do that, legally). And I only have 3 months to get this all done, which sounds like a long time, but it's half gone!

And the pets. Oh the pets, the puppy and cat. They need new vets, new medications, new schedules and new tags (they're microchips are updated though). 

So, all of that legal, logistical stuff. That's one reason moving here hasn't reached "excitement" level. Imagine...all the work it takes to move to a foreign country, and as an American, feeling so entitled because I've never had to have my papers proven accurate or legal. Some of us are free to move about our HUGE country without a care in the world. (I say "some of us" for those Americans who don't "look" American and get stopped constantly.) I'm definitely learning my privilege quickly, and on some days it feels like I'm in shock. I can't even imagine what it feels like for the reverse, someone trying to move to the States. If I ever minimized it for anyone, I profusely apologize.

Second, the language barrier is the worst, debilitating part of this move for an introvert like myself. I haven't yet braved going somewhere on my own for fear of not understanding, for not being understood and looking foolish. I had 9 years in Philadelphia of essentially doing everything by myself. (I moved to Philly in 2008...met Pedro in 2015 and still insisted I do things myself even after we got serious.) I was and am still very much trying be the most self sufficient human being I can be and REALLY took that shit for granted. These days, going to the corner store for a loaf of bread sends me into a tailspin of insecurity.

You said it, Charlie Brown.

You said it, Charlie Brown.

I depend on Pedro and his mom for EVERYTHING. Like...EVERYTHING. It was ok in the beginning but you start feeling like an invalid and I beat myself up for not knowing more or doing more. Perhaps I thought that after a month I'd be more daring, more adventurous...or you know...know more Spanish. My future mother-in-law says I need to just "dive in" and I see her point, but she's an extrovert (though she doesn't think she is...compared to Pedro and I she might a well be a Broadway actress) and maybe doesn't understand how a person can completely shut down in situations that they aren't prepared for. Pedro reminded me that simply MOVING here was the "dive" and now I'm just trying to not drown. 

We did find a Spanish tutor (thanks to my extrovert mother-in-law), so that will help immensely. He's a very patient man and a fellow artist who reminded me that a lot of Ecuadorians don't care what your level of Spanish is, they'll help you communicate in any way that they can, with gestures paired with whatever level of English they've gotten to. I've just never felt so timid. And all my friends and family back home said I was brave for moving...but that was the easiest part.

My mother-in-law said my accent is good when I say "hola" and "como esta?" so I think that bodes well, because I'm also terrified of "country-fying" my Spanish with my southern drawl. Taking on an accent never felt good to me, even when just playing around because I think I make it sound so forced but the Spanish I'm learning now feels good as it's rolling off my tongue. 

Confidence. Confidence in the words I'm saying, how I'm saying them, in what order and what they mean, is what I'm striving for with my Spanish lessons and that will only come with time. My cousin, who is learning Japanese, set me at ease earlier this week, telling me to be patient with myself, as it's a 4 - 6 month process, even feeling comfortable with another language. And when I think back to Americans demanding all immigrants speak English....Oooof, I'll never demand anything from an non-English speaker as long as I live because NOW I know it's not just knowing the words, it's every other emotion that wells up when you're learning to speak it. I've never felt more "other" until I'm trying to speak to someone that doesn't feel empathy for my path or how I got where I am and how hard it was/still is. 

All that being said, as "other" as I feel here on a daily basis, I have Pedro, who gives me strength and support and patience and translates when I need him to. But that doesn't keep me from feeling completely out of my element. I am so totally and completely out of my element but I'm looking at it now as exposure therapy. It's something I need to do, and another 45 days from now, I'll be proud of the progress I've made. And I will make my family and future husband proud in the process.

REMEMBER: Be kinder to yourself. Nothing happens overnight.

-Amy

Intention and Ethics in Art Making: An Interview with Photojournalist Justin Cook

Photojournalist, Justin Cook, has been exploring homicide, incarceration and urban renewal in Durham, North Carolina for over a decade.

Joslin Simms poses with politicians and gun-control advocates after speaking at a Mayors Against Illegal Guns rally in Chapel Hill in 2014. Increasingly isolated by depression and grief, Joslin found companionship and community in organizations like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. She and other mothers who have lost their children to violence don’t want them to have died in vain, so they have organized with the hope of influencing national and local gun, education and anti-poverty policies. Photo by Justin Cook.

Joslin Simms poses with politicians and gun-control advocates after speaking at a Mayors Against Illegal Guns rally in Chapel Hill in 2014. Increasingly isolated by depression and grief, Joslin found companionship and community in organizations like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. She and other mothers who have lost their children to violence don’t want them to have died in vain, so they have organized with the hope of influencing national and local gun, education and anti-poverty policies. Photo by Justin Cook.

Artistic Rebuttal Project: Do you consider yourself an artist?

Justin Cook: I guess so, haha. Labels are interesting to me, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately...Some have even called me an activist since my work has a point of view. My background is journalism, but I’m a storyteller that uses multiple mediums to tell those stories. If the journalism world, the documentary world and activist world all want to claim me, that’s great. I love that my work speaks and appeals to so many. I’m a visual storyteller at heart, so I guess that does make me an artist.

ARP: What are some industry and/or self-assigned protocols you employ to stay objective?

JC: I’m making art that has a very specific set of ethics around it, but I don’t believe in objectivity as the ultimate measure of good storytelling. It’s one tool in a vast toolkit to tell stories. Trying to tell all sides of a story to create one perfect package is exhausting and actually impossible. Some stories don’t have more than one side. Better measures of a story are: “is it fair? is it honest? How does everything connect to a greater understanding?”

ARP: Are there instances where you give yourself license to get subjective with the people you photograph?

JC: Yeah, of course. Deeper relationships happen naturally and over time. Finding trust, maintaining transparency and building that real relationship are the first priorities, then the work grows from that. I will always cherish my relationship with Joslin, who I’ve been photographing for a decade after her son was murdered. The mutual support we give to each other is better than any Pulitzer.

“I just want to go dig up his body so I can touch his face one more time,” says Joslin at her son’s grave in Beechwood Cemetery, in 2007. Her imagination leaves her restless. She sees Ray’s face on the young men walking down her street; “Ray! Ray!” she calls out to them, but when she blinks, their features morph, and suddenly they aren’t him. Photo by Justin Cook.

“I just want to go dig up his body so I can touch his face one more time,” says Joslin at her son’s grave in Beechwood Cemetery, in 2007. Her imagination leaves her restless. She sees Ray’s face on the young men walking down her street; “Ray! Ray!” she calls out to them, but when she blinks, their features morph, and suddenly they aren’t him. Photo by Justin Cook.

ARP: As an artist, are there any key “do’s and don’ts” of which photographs you’ll present to the public and the ones you don’t, in terms of highlighting your subjects as opposed to exploiting them?

JC: I think I have to walk that fine line between photos that show the of the stories I tell and the ones that only provide a voyeuristic view - images of violence for shock value, for example. There’s a small sign I have on my bedroom wall that I look at every day that guides my work. There are few points that seem relevant to this question:

  • “Give thought to whether your pictures advance understanding or confirm stereotypes.”

  • “Allow for the privacy of others.”

  • “Fight for issues in the context of the benefit of the community, the newspaper, and your subjects.”

  • “Caution the vulnerable on what their participation in a photo might mean.”

  • “Check biases or preconceptions when listening to someone or covering a situation that has multiple lines of interpretation available.”

  • “Follow up with your subjects.”

Young men revel along Fayetteville Street during Hillside High School’s homecoming parade. Hillside has a predominantly African-American student population and serves many low-income communities in East and South Durham. According to Durham Public Schools data, Hillside once had a graduation rate as low as 52 percent in 2009, but it rose to 89 percent in 2014. Photo by Justin Cook.

Young men revel along Fayetteville Street during Hillside High School’s homecoming parade. Hillside has a predominantly African-American student population and serves many low-income communities in East and South Durham. According to Durham Public Schools data, Hillside once had a graduation rate as low as 52 percent in 2009, but it rose to 89 percent in 2014. Photo by Justin Cook.

ARP: What other kinds of professional ethics come up in your line of work in terms of the humans in your photos?

JC: Not affecting the story is a big one -- not affecting the scene. I aim to photograph the setting and lives of people as if I’m not there, to get the truest image possible. But not getting involved at all is sometimes dangerous, and most of the time, impossible.

For instance, in college I photographed a waitress for a story about alcoholism. I needed to photograph her on the hour-long bus ride to her job. On the first visit, I arrived in my car to her home and she asked me for a ride to work. I obviously couldn’t do that since the bus commute was a key part of her story. But once I got enough photos of that, I’d drive her to work the following visits, just to make her days easier. It had no effect on the story. When I feel like I can, I try to give back to those who have opened up and allowed me to be a part of their days.

ARP: On the reverse, what are some regular practices you use to make sure you and your work aren’t stolen, misattributed or exploited?

JC: I make it a point of educating colleagues, co-workers and collaborators on how to attribute the creator of images. But it happens on such a crazy scale - you have grandmas that use my photos of their grandkids and may not have any knowledge on intellectual property up to the Dean of the school I graduated from using my photos without my permission.

ARP: Last question, can you give some advice to emerging arts leaders and artists to ensure their work or the work they represent aren’t exploited?

JC:

  • Copyright your work within 3 months of it being published or it becomes public in any way. I hear infringers say “well you should have watermarked your image - it was on the internet.” That is victim shameing. The burden is NOT on the artist to watermark their images for online use; the burden IS on people to not steal work they know they didn’t create. But watermark work if you can, and if it doesn't distract from the image. If someone crops out a watermark - THAT is intentional copyright infringement.

  • Push for better copyright law at a national level.

  • Reverse google search your images on a regular basis

  • Look into companies who will help find copyright infringements.

  • Build alliances in the legal sphere.

  • Maintain UTMOST professionalism AT. ALL. TIMES. You could turn an infringer into a client.

A man who calls himself "Lil' Salt" flexes in triumph after climbing the corner store dressed as Spider-Man during Halloween festivities in Durham's Southside neighborhood. The Southside has endured despite violence in the past decade, but is changing rapidly under the City of Durham's redevelopment plans. Photo by Justin Cook.

A man who calls himself "Lil' Salt" flexes in triumph after climbing the corner store dressed as Spider-Man during Halloween festivities in Durham's Southside neighborhood. The Southside has endured despite violence in the past decade, but is changing rapidly under the City of Durham's redevelopment plans. Photo by Justin Cook.

ARP: Any last comments?

JC: I’m a white guy who tells stories in black neighborhoods. Knowing my own privilege and limitations inside those communities and constantly checking myself was critical. I try to be transparent in everything I do. Often, I show my photos to the people I’m working with in them all along the way which builds trust. Ultimately, I don’t believe in the tired mantra of “giving a voice to the voiceless.” The folks I’ve worked with have a voice, but they are often simply ignored, silenced or have no platform. Building platforms with folks to tell their own stories and collaborating with them is the future.

The Juggle is Real

I've been teaching a "Strategic Planning" class this year for the Entertainment and Arts Management program at Drexel University. "Strategic Planning" is in quotations because that's only part of what is covered throughout the course. I co-teach with a lawyer/professor with intellectual property and for-profit theater experience and I approach the class like an independent contractor who has shaped their own career since graduating from a painting program. 

What surprises me most is that these students (mostly freshman) are still expecting a 9 to 5 when they graduate - so I'm starting a conversation here about the +'s and -'s of the gig economy, maintaining short term employment with multiple organizations and/or being your own boss.

The Juggle is Real.

And if I can only impress upon my students one thing, it's preparing them for an elusive paycheck - and how to chase it.

Tweet (@artistrebuttal) / Instagram (@artisticrebuttal) us with your #freelancelife or #thejuggleisreal story & images.

Being “THE” Leader of the Arts in America

"None the Wiser" - Students’ Reactions to the history of the NEA, the Culture Wars and US Obscenity Laws

Amy is teaching "Arts, Culture and Society" at Drexel University this quarter. She's making the class read John Frohnmayer's, former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), memoir, "Leaving Town Alive: Confessions of an Arts Warrior." After each chapter, students are tasked to record their reactions to the political climate John is up against as the seemingly only person on the side of the arts in Washington, DC at the time (the 1990's).

Chapter 1 Reaction: “I didn't realize there was a position like this (Chairperson of the NEA) that was so highly sought after.”

Question for Discussion: Why would YOU want to be appointed as Chairperson to the NEA and what would be your first priority?

A Significant Change is Coming

Here's a hint of where we're going :)

Here's a hint of where we're going :)

This year we have had months of refocusing, carefully considering our next steps and, most importantly, re-strategizing to make room for a major re-location expected to happen in the spring of next year.

What does re-location mean for the Artistic Rebuttal Project?
This means a significant change in our programming and communications all while drastically expanding our reach to international artists and advocates. We hope to witness and absorb, first hand, how the arts are incorporated into the fabric of countries other than America and what rights are afforded to artists abroad.

We want to share the entire journey with you!

We will be maximizing our website during this time and moving towards a purely digital audience. THIS BLOG has been created to document our travels. Look there for stories and thoughts of an artist advocate traveling through South America (oooo...a hint!)

“None the Wiser:”

"None the Wiser" - Students’ Reactions to the history of the NEA, the Culture Wars and US Obscenity Laws

As a professor of Arts, Culture and Society, I’m making students read the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, John Frohnmayer’s, book “Leaving Town Alive.” Frohnmayer was Chairman during the Culture Wars / Jesse Helm’s crusade to destroy the first amendment. I’m also making them read parts of my thesis (totally a dream come true, SOMEONE actually reading it.)

I’m making students jot down their reactions to each chapter.

It’s refreshing to me to take these optimistic minds, some would call naive but I call “delightful, curious sponges,” read through this book with the same level of horror that I did. That means society has changed, even a little, since 1993 (the year the book was published). These kids have grown up believing in free speech (well...believing everyone has the right to exercise it, which, those reading this could probably come up with at least 5 examples of that being a false notion), in being able to love and marry who you want to love, in being decent human beings who favor community over money and baffled that they are people in Congress that seek to suppress any of that. I do feel a tiny sting of sadness having to inform them there is still extreme suppression of SO many rights in this country but I’m hoping it makes them even more compassionate & inclusive, even more willing to advocate for the causes they’re the most passionate about instead of depressing them....that is yet to be determined. I should add, not all of them are dewy-eyed school children. A lot of them already have a pretty healthy sense of irony and skepticism, so perhaps for them this class will encourage them to, if I can quote Gandhi, “be the change they want to see in the world,” if they don’t already feel that sense of duty.

I’ll be referring to their (anonymous) insights here, on my blog, and in Artistic Rebuttal newsletters in a bi-monthly segment and asking you all add to the conversation.

I’m calling this segment “None The Wiser” in reference to legislative / judicial branches of US government throughout history trying to impose their own definition of “obscenity” or “good art” or “bad art” upon the art world and artists yet still not having a concrete definition for either. Problematic is so, so many ways.

Look out for the first topic in May!

-Amy Scheidegger

Policy (or just general) Issues (still) Facing the Arts in 2016

Arts Advocacy Day 2016 DEBRIEF

Concerns have arisen for me during this year's Art Advocacy Day...and they're not all policy driven... some of them are personal, highly personal, centering around an imposter syndrome that I still feel after participating in this process 5 times previously, but I'll get to that later. First, we begin with Art Advocacy 101:

DAY ONE - Art Advocacy 101

I attended the ADVANCED Advocacy sessions. I don't remember the conference host making distinctions between advanced and novice attendees before...but perhaps I wasn't looking. I sat in a room where no longer were we talking about HOW to talk to a politician, but WHICH politicians are on the committees we needed to influence. And what those politicians/committees are up against so that we have a better understanding of their political landscape. Plus the current landscape of DC politics in general. Ooooh election years, you're used as an excuse for so many failed attempts at good governing. And then my inferiority complex really sets in - I was in a room full of 100+ actually "advanced" arts advocates and I had to wear my own business card as a nametag because the registration table fucked up. I was feeling so, so out of place and unwelcomed at the very start, though I know mistakes happen, it knocked me off my game. Once I settled in with a hot cup of coffee (that burned my mouth) and the wonderful Julie Hawkins sat down in front of me, I could finally concentrate on the issues:

The key arts policies presented to us this year, 2 main ones:

  • National Endowment for the Arts funds - asking for $155 million this year
  • K-12 Education, the Every Student Succeeds Act - restores state and local control of education needs (CONCERN: some people are terrified of this because they insist a national standard is optimal, when that standard is creating happy, healthy, well rounded kids, at least.)

The breakout sessions I attended had to do with the:

  • Artist Museum Partnership Act (God I love me some Representative John Lewis)
  • Cultural Exchanges and National Service for Artists (which I selfishly attended due to my upcoming move out of the US, and no, not because I'm scared that Donald Trump will become POTUS. CONCERN: the agency that handles cultural exchanges of artists DON'T HAVE DATA. And from my understanding, another agency HAS the data but because the exchange program itself is not it's own line item on a budget, it's enveloped by another bigger program, the exchange program doesn't even know what it's exact budget is!)

I didn't attend the Nancy Hanks Lecture after all the 101 sessions, which is something I usually look forward to, but because I was feeling a mix of inferiority, fear of going back to my AirBnB solo after the sun went down, and unapologetic about the 2 syllabi I need to heavily freshen up for the classes I'm teaching next quarter, I went home after our Capitol Hill prep meeting with our state captain, Jenny Hershour. I booked it back to the subway and I admit...I ended up not working on any syllabi. I instead ordered enough Mexican food for 2 people and, with glee, ate it all on the couch while I watched Return of the King. I admitted defeat not long into the meal and settled in for a night of relaxation and bloating.

DAY TWO: Capital Hill

Congressional Kick Off Breakfast - I flew this one solo. I got in early enough to grab a biscuit, a coffee, and a seat from which I didn't move because I like to pick a spot and claim it for the entirety of my visit. Unfortunately, that seat was in the back of the room so I saw none of the speakers. But they all spoke eloquently. I left the breakfast early because the woman-sitting-next-to-me's assistant said she needed an hour to get to the Cannon House Office Building, the same place I was headed for my meeting with Senator Robert Brady. 

What happened in the Cannon Building has never happened to me before. 

I had the undivided attention of Brady's scheduler for 10 entire minutes: the usual length of an entire meeting, where you're only one of 8 to 10 people. Because of the tip during breakfast, I got there 20 minutes early. I walked in, took a seat and two Drexel students filtered in after me. 10 minutes later we're sitting with the scheduler of Brady's office, the Drexel students staring at me in desperation to do all the talking (I WAS the veteran there, after all). So I went for it. I got to talk for 10 minutes about why the arts, the NEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Artist-Museum Partnership Act and why arts and entrepreneurship is a growing and vibrant field in south eastern Pennsylvania and why that should matter to Brady. 

If you've ever lobbied for something, you know what a big deal that is.

I'm going to be boasting about it for a while. Mainly because, little did we know, the President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (the person who by most accounts SHOULD have had the scheduler's ear for 10 solid minutes) was patiently waiting for the clock to strike 10:30am (the time of our appointment) before stepping into the office. The Alliance definitely got their time in, and apologized for stepping on MY toes as they entered while I was talking. I was just grateful that for once, after 6 visits to Capitol Hill as an arts advocate, my voice was heard.

Why did it take so long? I'm sure it's a mix of my own inferiority / imposter syndrome, my lack of confidence and decisiveness of words in speaking when I'm put on the spot, my generally introverted nature, the mass amount of information and strange new people that are thrown at you the day before and the designed-to-be-intimidating-and-disorienting political complex that houses all these offices. Thankfully, for many reasons, this trip I talked a lot. A lot. Even after designating this trip the one where I'd do more listening. I hope I will find the confidence to talk more often and not only on Capitol Hill. On this blog. On my other Artistic Rebuttal platforms and during events.

I encourage you all to speak up for the things you are an advocate for. Speak up loud and often.