Welcome! This is a blog about my ambivalence toward living in Washington, DC and my attempt to resolve it.
uncertainty or fluctuation, especially when caused by the inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.
such as loving and hating your hometown.
I’m Monica, a 20-something DC native, born, raised, and educated inside the beltway. I live in the same city as I was born and work on the same street as my high school. While I have technically lived in Michigan, Australia, and France for short periods, I haven’t paid the bills in a city other than this one. And I admit that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is a lot to praise about DC and I feel proud when I travel and tell people where I hail from originally. I’m actually very “DC” in a lot of ways: I’m a government contractor, I set the Washington Post online edition as my home page, and I like a nice sweater set.
Lately, however, I’ve been complaining a lot about living here and wondering if I’m better suited for a different city. Politics poses as culture, summer is swampy, and the metro system is seriously flawed. I’m also not very “DC” in a lot of ways: I’ve never interned for an elected official, I’m not a fan of the Redskins, and I’m not friends with any members of Late Night Shots. Plus, as I explained, I’ve never lived anywhere else.
The solution: I intend to wipe my DC slate clean and be a tourist in my own hometown. I will revisit old favorites, aim to discover new gems, and seek precisely what there is to love about DC. The inspiration for this project comes from a couple of sources.
First, my husband, JP, suggested that perhaps I dislike living in DC because I don’t take advantage of its perks. See, JP is from the sort of small town in central New York where friends futilely ask about evening plans as though there is more than one bar or movie theater to frequent. He says that many DC transplants and aspiring transplants want to be here just because they get to live in a large diverse city with options. Then I realized that I have never had many of the uniquely DC experiences of my peers such as touring the U.S. Capitol, dancing at Black Cat, or eating at Ben’s Chili Bowl. I’m going to finally do those things, as well as everything else I’ve overlooked simply because I’ve always had access to them.
Second, inspiration comes via one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies Paris, Je T’aime, “In pretending to be a man in love, he became a man in love.” I wonder if similarly, by faking unequivocal love for DC, can I make unequivocal love for it?