this might be kind of a juvenile thing to admit, but.
remember when the west wing came out? remember how great it was? it was a great show. and i would watch, religiously, as i wended my way through college and graduate school. cross-legged on the twin bed in my tiny dorm room in mackimmie hall, stretched out on the couch in the apartment i shared with my sister senior year, folded up into the papasan chair squeezed into my comm ave apartment. i watched, week in and week out, and i thought - maybe. maybe i could do that.
not be president, of course. but that - that life seemed like something i might be able to fit into, or at least try on for size. a life of policy and law, of thick-carpeted hallways and backrooms, of suits and cabs and wide avenues and the capitol coming into view. it was a feeling that i filed aware somewhere in my brain - put away in that recessed space reserved for everything that seems, somehow, too daunting. i thought it, but i never really considered it. it was too - too juvenile, really, and was best left in the realm of vague sensation.
but then, a funny thing - i kind of went ahead and did it anyway.
i didn't come here to DC to try to live out some aaron sorkin fantasy - i actually didn't even come here to get into politics or law. hell, i didn't even come here with a job. but looking back, i can see how the move here made sense - how it gave me a chance to slide sidelong into a place that had, to be honest, captured a bit of my imagination. i came here to do this. and while i'm no amy gardner and never will be, i go to lunch with the women who are. i've heard my heels echo as i walked down the marble-floored halls of the capitol building. my boss has the ear of the obama campaign. our reports are referenced in committee hearings. we are doing this work, and i'm part of it.
a while back, the speaker of the house threw a luncheon in our honor at her offices. i stood out on her massive private balcony overlooking the national mall - i pressed my palms into the cool stone of the massive railing and looked around. the sky, blindingly blue in the early spring, museums stacked up to the left and pennsylvania avenue reaching off to the right. i realized, at that moment, that i really had done it. wherever i went from there, whatever city i moved to or job i took or house i settled into - i had done DC.
and it felt really good. no - it feels really good. it feels good to have achieved a goal that you thought was too lofty, too hazy, too ridiculous to even set. a life like the west wing. really, who gets anything like that?
turns out, i do.