Gray clouds blanketed the world around the William Chitty Red Cross chapter in Santa Ana. Outside, brown leaves rustled off the trees and fell onto the damp grass as a thunderstruck squirrel paused in trepidation at the pounding of a sky ripping at the creases. Small drops of water flew horizontally in the gusts of wind that increased when a golden bus sped into the parking lot.
One week ago, a much drier bus, whose paint threatened to chip, had departed from this parking lot with a crowd of high school children. We flew off to a far away camp to transform our huddled bodies into leaderific personalities. To encourage individual to live out loud.
On Tuesday, a sun parched camp lay before each cabin. Each team burst out and, with the events intermingled, Tuesday’s rock wall and Thursday’s introspective view on racism fell into archetypal patterns in my brain.
Each theme the camp introduced fell into different paths, uninhibited by chronology.
On Friday night, we sat in a blacked out lodge hall in a circle with eyes closed shouting with whispers the thoughts swimming through our mind.
“I see a chain-link fence,” said Joy, “that I cannot cross and a boy zooms on past. I can cry out in retrospect, but he doesn’t see the black corvette that I imagine bumbling down Culver”
Joy’s sister replied
“Then the error is increased/ mass and moment are released/matter loosens, flooding blind/ level drivers to its kind.”
Rain fell through folds of eyes; I was the desert, but in the distance, rumblings of smoke tore through the sky.
That night we slinked back to our cabins. I stared down at the flashlight light path. Red eyes and puffy cheeks were the battle scars of these memories. The clouds began to smudge out the stars. When inside, we packed our suitcases and slept on empty beds, silent, playing out the week that had passed. The turbulent hissing of freezing wind against smacking wooden shingles played rhythm to fractal words that rationalized images that projected to my eyes. I thought, Leaderifics: Living Out Loud is not being the bolt of electricity that rips and illuminates across the sky. At the camp, I found more power in the well chosen words instead of a flurry of phrases. Leadership is being the soil that absorbs the water, the light, and creating anew les batiments of old creations. The next day, sitting on a brown leather school bus seat at the back of the bus next to a window, I gazed out, letting rain flood the desert.
Before I went to this camp, I found the assistance organization to be a chore, a labored vacillation for me to help the community. After, I found comfort in being there, amongst a family. There weren’t fake words and paper machete people, and even outside, I saw the merit by not second-guessing what someone wanted. I am now proud to say my opinions, but I am not too proud to sit down and listen.
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