Olympus Falling

The 20s are all about staying down to Earth. Life has a particular way of reminding you that humility is key. Whenever your head gets lost in the clouds, the world rains on your parade and reminds you that you're regular. When your ego has inflated beyond capacity, the air had to be let out sooner or later. If you ever get too big, something had to bring you back down to size. No matter how amazing people tell you are or you think yourself to be, a healthy dose of realism is always a good thing. Descend from the heavens, Olympus has fallen. 
If I had to liken being a student leader to anything it would be comparable to being a Greek god (oh my gosh this guy compared himself to omnipotent beings, bear with me). The Greek gods had these anding powers and yet they still meddled and fooled around with mortal humans. They were sovereign over their realms and yet had these fatal flaws that left them vulnerable. They were believed to have lived under these constantly perilous condition where war could come at any point in time. Their alleged existences were tumultuous at best. Powerful but humbled so very quickly. In a metaphorically parallel way being a student leader (a term I recently used to refer to myself, it's still weird) is similar in that at any point in time your realm could be destroyed, Hades could break loose and you could lose your place on the high mountain of your campus. This past week was just that. Let's throw it back to Monday where I powered through the day and soon was at RHA executive board closing dinner. By this point I was beyond done with living the life of a public figure, it's been crowded on the mountain recently and it was most definitely time to come down. It was the end of our collective terms as executives and in sitting back watching everyone else order our "family-style" dinner, I saw the reality of our dynamic. 9 people living in very different worlds with dominion meaning something unique to each. We had our final points of business in choosing a last new executive and discussing random acts finals where we (read I) would be coordinating food at various locations around campus. The dinner soon came to close after repetitive bickering and not much reminiscing. There really wasn't any closure and it kind of just ended, representative of this year. We had chosen productivity over relationships, not even Hermes could connect us. I spent the rest of the night ordering food for 100 people from Dunkin' Donuts, Chipotle, Domino's Pizza, and Ben & Jerry's. A total of 6 hours, everything was all set. Honestly, I wish I had help for I had schoolwork to do but it wouldn't have been us if it had been any other way. Tuesday came and it class galore as evaluations were passed around, presentations were given, and goodbyes were said. The whole perpetual sleep deprivation thing was catching up with me and I took some inadvertent naps before doing homework. Olympus was falling, whether we were ready or not.

Wednesday was a struggle and a half because it was the last day of classes and still I had a seemingly insurmountable amount of work to get done. I had my last physics class and came back to find Jake and Tanner passed out in our room so I sat and worked on coordinating the logistics of the food day and the upcoming Greek Games. I ended up passing full head on my desk with left a nasty indentation before we headed off to our fraternity initiation ceremony. Every single time I go through an initiation ritual I am reminded so much of why I joined my fraternity and how amazing the entire concept of this everlasting brotherhood thing is. To see how genuinely happy all the newly initiated brothers were, particularly Will, Connor and Dylan was absolutely heartwarming. Hearing the words, and feeling the tangible emotion in the room is a breathtaking experience. I think this year especially, my fraternity brothers filled a void in friendships where others faltered and fell by the wayside, and for that I am so grateful. We ended the secret ceremony with group pictures and it was back to the room to change and get ready for our Mean Girls showing (10th anniversary). It was the night of the infamous Naked Bike Ride, and the atmosphere was charged and ready for the heavens to fall and for darkness to takeover in true Greek tragic fashion. In the safety of brotherhood, with freshly ordered pizza and drinks, we watched, ate, drank, and made merry. The debauchery of the dastardly night didn't really make it back to my part of campus but I ended up hitting the books and the hay before 3 am.
People have to fall further and harder than ever before they wake up and realize the reality of their situation, sometimes. Thursday morning was rough as hell as I quickly got dressed up and hit the student center with my RHA advisor Drake for the student life awards. After making the rounds the ceremony began and the awards went rolling by. I ended up winning an award for activism and commitment to justice which was a great honor to receive. One of the last awards to be given out was the Outstanding President's Organization of the Year, and my heart was beating nearly out of my chest when the award came up. This award would be culmination of a year's worth of impeccable programming, diligent collaboration efforts, and the creation of a social change and shift in campus climate through the work of RHA. The announcers read the award winners and the smile disappeared from my face. It wasn't us. I was absolutely shocked. I was totally floored. My heart dropped so far down I didn't it would ever return to it's rightful place. Tears welled at the sides of my eyes and threatened to fall free right there and then. I couldn't breath, I refused, I didn't want to. It couldn't be real. The only thing I ever wanted to quantify a year's worth of work went to others. Well deserved at that, but still it hurt nonetheless. I looked at Drake and he couldn't look at me. I looked at Dae-Dae and we locked eyes, and I see the pain reflected in both of us. I came back to it and like a true Olympian, I clapped, cheered, and meant it. I tell you, I will NEVER forget that moment. The awards ended and after many congratulations I couldn't even find my smile to pretend to be happy for pictures. My Achilles heel had been severed and I was bleeding out. Drake said we were the best, and I knew it deep down but I wasn't ready to process the blow. I grabbed lunch with David and Mindy, before posting up in the IFC office to start my physics exam preparations. The day went on and on, and slowly I arose from the fall. I crawled out the emotion, I sat on the unbroken ground, and finally stood, renewed in the sun. As I knew before and even more so now, a job well done is it's own reward. You know you've given your all and people cannot and will not be able to tell you the significance of your impact, but you know it's there. You know what you did, what you gave up (love, friendships, fun) and were worth it, because YOU said so. No one else. I am a student leading Olympian. I am strong. I am worthy. I am powerful. I am perfectly imperfect and I am authentically me. Olympus has fallen but maybe I was always a "god" before the heavens anyway.

Life has a way of building you back up when you need it most and sending people into your life that you need. I went to the LGBTQA Rainbow Graduation awards ceremony and say the bright spot incarnate that is my friend Courtney. Every time I see her my entire outlook changes I am renewed with an effervescently contagious energy. I helped fill and tie balloons and prep the decorations before the ceremony kicked off. It was an emotional one to say the least. Dae-Dae and I won awards for being allies and advocates. Members of the community were honored and others who were leaving were celebrated. I looked across the table once more at Dae-Dae and cried. I don't think I ever realized how much she meant to me throughout the year. We had spent so much time together like real badass gods/goddesses amongst men. She had gotten me through so many tough times and been a safe haven to run in to when I needed it. We had this understanding that came with our identities as people of color that made our connection quite different from the rest of our group. I know that she saw me and heard me like others didn't and I the same for her. She had made me feel comfortable, validated and empowered and I couldn't have made it through this year without her. I plan on continuing her outstanding advocacy initiatives and overall just being a positive force on our campus. She is someone who I hope will be part of my life for many years to come. After the ceremony I went to hang out my fraternity advisor, Lane, and study the hell out of some physics. Wholeheartedly, that guy is one of the best people I know. His humor, his willingness to help, and his genuine positivity is something rare to find all in one person. A good four hours of hitting the books and I felt at ease, locked and loaded to go (Trident or lighting bolts - ya never know). We were able to get work done but also share the random stories of our days and lives (aka my absolute favorite pastime). You know it wouldn't be a proper weeknight without a proper visit my very own metaphorical Eros, in Mac as we hit downtown for a late night Kountry Kart Deli run. I've come to thoroughly enjoy the randomness, and after a long day of uncertainty it was a welcome changed. Back to the books for a few more lookovers and it was time for bed.

Olympus fell and in its ashes arose something more profound that I could have ever imagined. Power for myself and empowerment for others to inspire hope and change in our various communities. We may no longer be figurative gods but we will always remember our time on top of the mountain.

My blog post question for the day is ... how do you remember that you're normal? Whenever anything awkward happens to me (as in every single day) and I'm reminded that I no more or no less important than anyone else. 


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