2017 Daily Distinguished Diary 6.22

Distinguished Young Women Be Your Best Self Day 2017
Distinguished Young Women Be Your Best Self Day 2017

Maddie Lukomski, South Dakota

Hey Diary,

I’m not typically one for journaling, but I felt grateful for this opportunity to put my thoughts into written word since that’s what I love most about life. So much of this competition is physical, which means that my brain is in need of a bit of a workout, too!

Today, Diary, I had a bit of an epiphany. As every morning here, I had to get up at an inhuman hour – for the first morning since I got here, I was too tired to jump out of bed early as I usually do. My muscles were sore from the fitness from the day before, my mind was fuzzy from lack of sleep, my internalized “youngest sibling syndrome” was causing a mini tantrum to form in the outskirts of my brain. I shuffled to the kitchen of the Greene house with a frown on my face. I made coffee, I sat down. It took only one sip of the coffee for me to realize exactly what I had to realize in that moment.

The coffee felt so precious to me then: the warmth, the energy that I held in my hands. The Greenes bought that coffee pot just because I had mentioned that I was unable to function without it. I looked around the kitchen. It was stocked with food that the Greenes had specifically gotten for us. I looked outside, into the hazy, gentle morning. I was in a completely different place than I had been in just a few days prior – a culture completely unlike my own had enveloped me and welcomed me with open arms and wide smiles. The rain was a nuisance, but it was an adventure. No other class of Distinguished Young Women got to experience the things that we got to experience because the weather had kept us inside; and who could say that it isn’t exciting to get caught in the middle of a tropical depression?

The little things that I had failed to notice before overwhelmed me then. I loved this house, I loved my beautiful roommates from Georgia and New Mexico, I loved my generous and loving host family. I loved bringing smiles to autistic children today, and I loved helping them make ice cream as a special treat. I loved hugging my new friends, and sleeping on them after FIVE HOURS of doing a fitness routine that sucked the life out of all of us. I loved listening to my Girl Scout troop sing their scout songs to us and hearing about all of the stories of things that they held so dear to them, and I loved seeing their eyes light up when they got to dance with the Distinguished Young Women whom they idolized so much. I loved doing the tango (way too fast) with Quinn, even though I have no idea how to tango. I love the pure and generous and beautiful and trusting and hopeful and extraordinary aspects of this program – more than I ever thought I could.

Diary, I am now sitting in my exercise clothing. I haven’t showered, changed, or taken any preparations for the next day yet. I know that I am going to stay up quit late tonight, and I am going to get up ridiculously early for a media interview. But I am genuinely excited for all of that. I am so blessed to be exhausted and sore and full of gratitude and love at the end of the day, for it means that I am living my life to the fullest extent that I can. Through all of the bumps and sticky situations, I am always reminded by the laughter of my friends and the tight hugs of my host mother that I am alive. I am alive in Mobile Alabama in the middle of a hurricane, and I have never been happier to be in the exact moment and place that I am now. Distinguished Young Women reminded me that I am blessed to have ever met the most incredible people in our nation and to have been wrangled around by the most caring and hilarious women you will ever see. I wish I could write more, Diary, but my heart (and my page) is overflowing. I am ready to rush head-on into the next week and a half with these loving and genuine women that I am so honored to call my friends. To all of the memories to be made, and all of the friendships that will bear such a huge significance on my life! All I can say now, to everyone of Distinguished Young Women, is that I’d like to thank you for all you do, I am so thankful (oh yes it’s true), and what I’d really like to say: I give you all of my love today.

Thank you for everything that has been and has yet to be,

-A very inspired poet and friend from South Dakota

Maddie Lukomski

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