Stepping Out of My Safety Zone

Four years ago, I voted for Kerry. That’s about it. I was really wanting him to win, of course. But I didn’t think there was a chance in hell and other than walking in and casting my vote – I didn’t really do or say much else. I barely even followed the campaigns. MrZ ordered bumper stickers, but I didn’t want one on my car. I was scared. I mean – I’m in a red state. Why would I want to stick out like that? Hell – I even felt stupid for voting – I’m in such a red state. Like my vote meant anything.

I was a wee bitter and very intimidated.

Somewhere along the way – in the past four years – something happened to me. To our country. I started caring deeply about politics. DEEPLY. I started worrying about whether my poor friends would be insured, whether my gay friends could get married, whether any of us would lose our homes and in what state we were leaving this planet to our children. I started reading the pundits, following the campaigns, and picking my candidates.

Then, fast-forward to this year. Suddenly, people are proud to be blue dots in red states. I can get a t-shirt declaring that some in my red state are for Obama. I see others on the road with their blue dots and their Obama stickers. I want to stop them and ask if they’ll be my BFF. I haven’t (yet) – but I want to.

Also? I donated a small bit to Obama’s campaign ($15 for my Obama/Biden magnet!), I have also donated to one of my favorite groups of women (Another bumper sticker!) so that they can continue to spread the word and help me feel empowered by educating me. I’m suddenly involved. And it feels damn good.

But until tonight? It’s all been from the comfort of my home. From behind my computer or from inside my van. Tonight? Is my first big step. I’m attending a function. I have hated missing the speeches this week, only to read about them and watch videos the next morning. I do NOT want to miss Obama’s tonight. I want to watch it live, and with others like me. So, I’m getting out of the house and going to a restaurant where other local blue dots are gathering to watch it. I’m on mailing lists, so I know this event is happening. But – I’ll know no one there. No one but myself.

I’m SCARED. You all know how socially inept I am. Not only is this a group of strangers, but I’m new to this scene. I don’t know what to expect. Will we be burning Republicans at the stake? (Kidding!) Will there be cheering? I want there to be cheering. Will there be tears? I cried (I don’t mean teared up – I CRIED) just listening to Hillary call for the end of the roll call last night. Will they be as moved as me? Will they be as excited as me?

Maybe I’ll just stand in the corner alone and watch the crowd and the speeches and go home. I may not find the courage to introduce myself or mingle. But at least I’ll be there. I’ll be part of something that I believe in, even if it’s just for an hour. I’ll watch the man I’m voting for speak to other people just like me. My kids will know that’s where I went, they’ll know what I believe in. They’ve heard me talk and talk and talk about what I want for their futures. Now, they’ll see me actively try to participate in making that happen. Because, as much as I like to talk, it takes more than that.

Time for a change. Not just in the administration – but in ME. That is where it starts, after all.