Monday, February 15, 2010


An important part of moving to DC for me is to regain some of my old sense of self: the me that was super-engaged in politics big and small, issues far and wide, and worked to make the world a bit of a better place. It's not that I didn't care while living in Dallas; caring is part of my DNA, and you might recall that a rather important national election took place while I was there. Regardless, the atmosphere in Dallas and the opportunities to engage there were not fulfilling for the girl who had her pick of elections and causes in Boston and Albuquerque before it.

This is not as much of an indictment of Texas as it sounds. Some of my favorite women are from Texas: Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, and my dear friend Marjorie. There's a backbone to these women that I admire like heck, a steely liveliness that very much reminds me of the committed people I knew and loved in New Mexico. But to say that this strain of Texas-style activism wasn't running through my life in Dallas is fair (it's no secret that Austin is much more my kinda town anyway). Much of this disconnect with Dallas was because from the moment I moved there, we had an eye on moving further east, and were never quite sure how long we'd stick around. My lack of engagement in Dallas does say something about Dallas, but it also speaks to my hesitance to grow roots where I ultimately didn't want them. I put myself - my favorite parts of myself, really - in a tough position.

But now, in Washington, DC, a city we moved to with no plans for a next step, a place we might even like to stay forever... a big part of me is rejoicing in the level of engagement that it promises. Tonight, a week after getting here through the storm to end all storms, I attended an event that reminded me so much of Me Before The Big D. Right down the street from our apartment at Busboys and Poets, a really wonderful tribute to the late Howard Zinn took place (it'll be broadcast on C-Span soon for those of you interested). I sat there before women like Amy Goodman and Marian Wright Edelman feeling absolutely at home... and homesick at all that I've missed. It was a much-needed turning point for me.

I love the feeling I have tonight: not just waiting for my new life to begin (which is the mindset I've been stuck in for three years), but making plans to create that life for myself. Ever since I left home for college, my big moves have all been for other people. I stayed in Boston for love. I moved to New Mexico for love. I moved to Dallas for love. But I - we - moved to DC for me. It's the first time I can say that, and I promise to make the most of it.

I forgot how humbling empowerment can feel.


  1. i'm so happy for you and proud of you. you are going to flourish and shine in DC, i just know it!

  2. I am so happy for you! It must feel like you have finally come "home"!!!

  3. "My lack of engagement... also speaks to my hesitance to grow roots where I ultimately didn't want them."


    This post resonated with me on so many levels, it literally took the breath out of my chest. Sadly, I'm still on the "before" side of the fence, feeling a bit out of place/out of sorts... However, reading your thoughts and Operation Next Big Step has been such a good experience for me! Thank you for putting it all out there for us to read. I appreciate your honesty and eloquence more than you know!

  4. I feel you on this, so much. I'm so glad you're in a place with potential for you again, and the District of Columbia is better for it. Laissez les bons temps roulez!

  5. "I forgot how humbling empowerment can feel."

    So true.

    I'm new around here but I have enjoyed being a part of your adventure. Just like Lulu said, it has been a great experience for me at a time in my life when I have been needing some empowerment. Thank you.

  6. I read this and got chills all over. What an amazing concept that you've put into words. We own our lives and our futures and I love seeing that you are truly putting that notion into practice. It is so hard to do at times like this (for me) because we are both in school, can't plan beyond a year, etc... Like you said, waiting for the next phase. This has motivated me to live out this phase and much as possible.

  7. This is such a poignant post. I live in the District now for school, but I've always wondered why it never felt like home. You put in perfectly, the temporariness, the hesitancy to engage. I hope I can do better at living in the now, sinking into all the city has to offer and hopefully making it more my home, even if it is temporary.

    Best of luck in DC, I hope you find joy here.


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