I am a mermaid.
When it’s the middle of July and the humidity’s at its peak, I purposefully leave my hairbrush at home. No point. I am like a lion in its natural state.
DC is my stomping ground. I love it. I love everything about it. All the things that everyone else hates? I love them. Networking, name dropping, party schmoozing … I love it all. I have no names to drop and no parties to schmooze at, but I can be seen all around town on the underground circuit, the undiscovered socialite of DC.
DC is a microcosm of everything. You will meet people of every kind and type. In the summer especially, there’s no chance of leaving the house without seeing at least eight people you know. The city’s big enough where you can avoid people entirely and small enough where you’re bound to run into everyone, especially if you haven’t brushed your hair and aren’t wearing any makeup, which would be me, nearly always. If I’m not wearing any makeup, it’s practically guaranteed some notable run-in will happen.
I love DC because it forces me to live. There are so many changes in this city, people moving in and out. You never know how long someone’s going to be here. Every weekend’s like a giant last hurrah. Lights, music, dancing on the edges of fountains … I have had many a completely sober, nearly unbelievable late night escapade.
There are two ways to look at a place like DC: You could look at it as an impossible grand fête, or you could look at it as a not-to-be-missed opportunity. You could find something, or you could lose out on everything.
Every day I wake up and think what an amazing life I’m living. There are plenty of challenging and undesirable things out there, but overall it’s a pretty incredible existence, if you think about it. Just the things that happen on an everyday basis … I meet people all the time who reignite my excitement to be alive right now, not yesterday or today because it leads to tomorrow. Today as in now, as in right now even when the bus is late or it’s pouring rain or you lost your keys and your wallet. People will do that to you. They’ll remind you of everything that is and why you are who you are.
I can tell you so many stories. A German who gave up his passport for top secret US government work. An ex-convict poet who found stamina in the preciseness of words. A researcher who used his backyard to grow a new type of corn. A taxi driver who used his earnings to found a school. A four-year-old who sang Katy Perry, perfectly in pitch.
Again, there are two ways to look at a place: You could take it for what it is, or you could spend your days wishing for what it could be.
I say do the former.
Put yourself out there. Risk everything.
You never know what you’re going to find.