If 2012 was the year of upheaval, then 2013 was the year of recovery. I had a seemingly simple goal: to take time to pause, reflect, and allow my body to heal after a traumatic experience of complete heart block and two operations. I sold my house in Logan Circle, and moved temporarily to Petworth, hiding away in a Batgirl Cave on a street where sweet kids played on their bikes and friendly neighbors cooked out on the sidewalks. It felt like another city, one of families, far away from my usual frantic mid-city pace.
It felt like exile, too.
I’d lived in the same house for twelve years. It seems a luxury in urban living to have had the same address for that long. Then there I was, holding the splintered remains of my former life, feeling raw and broken and alone. Only I wasn’t. My city was still there for me. Eventually I would leave my little sanctuary and move back to Shaw, able to walk by my old house without flinching, happy it was loved by someone new. My mind can now be filled with snapshots of my DC in 2013: of a sunny patio, an audience’s gasp, passionate conversations, and much happiness over friends’ successes. Art, cocktails, and coffee. A lot of coffee. And late nights. Too much, probably, for someone struggling with major arrhythmia. For every moment I tried to rest and heal, I also pushed my body to deny it had failed.
Until finally, I forgave it. Continue reading
In a few short hours, 2013 will end and another year in this city begins.
When Jenn asked me to pen this story a few weeks ago, I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach it. I considered a monthly perspective, then a “best of” format. Perhaps a look at a list of the site’s best offerings from our talented writing pool? Or maybe a review in photos (and steal Mosley’s thunder)?
In the end, I figured I’d do what I do best: sit down, put fingers to keyboard, and reflect. Because in the end, this was a year of reflection for me. I’m not even sure this collection of rambling will make sense to most, but it’s better than nothing, right?
Don’t get me wrong; this was a good year for me overall, if you look at the positives overwhelming the negatives. But looming large over me for a good part of the year has been that of a directional “where do I go now?” struggle that is beginning to resolve as 2014 dawns. Continue reading
Photo by Emma Beck
When my dad, dog, and grandmothers all passed away in 2009 the world I knew was shattered. We lost my dad and childhood dog Coco that January and my grandmothers that summer. Somehow, in between the chaos, I managed to graduate from American University with a B.A. in print journalism and a minor in music. But the completion of that journey wasn’t a source of pride at the time. The good news is – the haze of it all settled after few years and We Love DC, honestly and truly, helped bring me out of my existential funk.
Here we are now on the last day of 2013. To me, New Year’s Eve has been a bittersweet holiday ever since my dad received a life-saving heart transplant on this date 14 years ago. I was 12 and in the 7th grade at the time. It’s crazy to think about how much has changed since that day. My family got just shy of nine extra years with my dad because of that transplant, and we can’t help but think of that memory each and every New Year’s Eve.
Now you’re probably thinking, “What does all of this stuff have to do with Rachel’s DC in 2013?” Not to worry, I’m getting to that. Continue reading
At the ripe old age of still under 40, I felt like I had a mid-life crisis of sorts in 2013. This was the year my outside frustrations and internal conflicts collided and I found myself becoming a bit cynical, bitter, and angry at things I couldn’t control and at complete strangers who I assumed were total jerks because they refuse to use their turn signal when switching lanes. Mid-year, it began to dawn on me that I was becoming the very person I was used to showing the middle finger to, and that scared me. I didn’t like being “that” person and I began taking steps to change. As 2013 comes to an end, I am pleased to announce that my mid-life crisis has ebbed and I am on the road to an existential recovery. And DC itself has been a great therapist in helping me sort out my personal predicaments and move forward towards a more positive me.
I spent the first three months of 2013 outside of DC. I had been cast in two shows at a theatre in a different city and was very excited to leave the winter weather, the hustle and bustle of the beltway, and enjoy some time in a place where the weather was warm and the pace of life a lot slower. And to be honest, I really did enjoy my time away. A break from the rat race of the District was a nice change of pace. The people I met were lovely, the food was amazing, and the lack of traffic was heavenly. But being away also helped me gain perspective on the city in which we live. Continue reading
All of my fondest memories of 2013 have happened in a bar. Whether I was on the good side or the better side of the bar, I’ve loved every minute. I got offered three jobs (including this one!) just going out for a drink. And I took all of them, along with one more, because I want to see as much of this city as I can. Sometimes it can be exhausting and emotionally draining, and it beats the crap out of your body (what’s that, four AM yoga so my neck isn’t stiff as a board tomorrow?), but it’s the best job I’ve ever had
On bad days, tending bar can feel a bit like lion taming–at least I wish I had a whip whenever someone orders half a dozen mojitos (back, you animals!). And I may have developed bartending-induced ADD. Continue reading
Guys, the truth is, I spent most of 2013 with my focus turned inward, ever since late January when the second line appeared on the stick. New bar opening? Whatever, I can’t drink. Food trucks? Sorry, gestational diabetes. Major database release at work? I’m going to be on leave for that entire quarter, suckers… Even the government shutdown barely registered since it started the day after we brought the Bridgelet home from the hospital. All of October is a blur of sleep deprivation and constant feelings of incompetence.
Still, in the middle of doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds and baby showers and midnight feedings and planning for daycare and college funds, I managed to pick my head up once in a while, and when I did, I found my love for DC being renewed all the time.
Some highlights, big and small… Continue reading