Even though I moved from the District back in October, it’s only now that my time here – my reason for being here in DC – is officially coming to an end.
I’m going to miss it.
My first week I stayed in DC, it was also in an English basement of a townhouse – but, in NE. These days, I almost exclusively stay in NW, in AdMo or around. I had gotten in on a Sunday, dropped off my stuff, walked out to the nearby liquor store, and bought myself a bottle of Four Roses.
That week, I don’t know how I wasn’t fired because my head was not in the game: I drank too much bourbon each night, I didn’t sleep, watched endless amounts of SEC football replays and commentary in the wee hours, and was suffering from a medical issue which made me think I had days to live. At the end of the week, instead of leaving on the Saturday, I poured out what (very) little remained of the Four Roses, napped for an hour, packed, and got on the road around eleven P.M. because I couldn’t bear another night alone in that basement, supposedly successful, but really dwelling in low-level depression and a silent devastation.
Needless to say, I couldn’t see twenty feet in front of me, let alone 2.5 years ahead.
At that time, my life … my life was in pieces. I had been poured out, an empty vessel, and just going through the motions of, well, not much. The events of that September had just torn every sense of self, of identity, of hope, of stability – all of it had been just ripped out and left for chaff on the floor.
Alright, let’s fast-forward through … (therapy, swimming, internal job change, move to DC, lots of travel, storytelling class, more swimming, new relationship, end of new relationship, more travel, new friendships, fun, lots of fun, more fun, family time, move back to NYC, another job change, new opportunities–)
And, now, I am here, once again in an English basement of a DC townhouse, this time in NW, and there is no bottle of Four Roses lurking, I haven’t turned on the TV once, and I have been sleeping very well, thank you very much.
It has not been perfect, no, and some events have been brutal, truly. But, who I was at 32 turning 33 and who I am now at 35 and eventually to be 36, are not mere miles apart. I am a different person. One life ended back in 2016; that life path, I got off of it. Everything changed for me: what I thought about myself, who I let set goals and priorities for me, how I approached the world, what mattered and what didn’t, what my boundaries were, my values, my needs, my vices, and my joys.
It would be a lie if I said I can’t imagine what it would be like to be that person again; no, in fact, I know exactly what it would feel like and I know exactly what it takes to get there, and I refuse to have any part of it.
I love too much now. That’s not a misstatement, it’s just true: I love too much, now, to ever dwell in a place that was the absence of that. I can’t chase rock bottom. I cannot live in the empty world.
I’m so fortunate I came through the other side. I am always, every day, grateful for what I have in my life and who I have in my life. All of it has been worth it.
So, as this chapter of my life begins to close, as I walk my last few times (at least in this phase, for this reason) around a city that became my haven and peace, the only words I have in my head are “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
I forever will be thankful for all of this because it took that last, brutal ending, and I can look back now and see that it was a fragile, beautiful beginning.