Slow Down

“If you just moved from Kentucky, why are you here in the summer?” he mocked. “DC blows in the summer. It’s hot and filled with interns. Nobody wants to be here. You must be running from something.”

A perceptive comment from a fleeting DC Tinder chat in the night, sometimes the truth is revealed aptly from the boastful finance guy you never intended to meet anyway.

Molly five years ago was just as hard-headed as Molly now, but with a little less information about life. If I could tell her something helpful, it would be: take your time. As with any rush, you miss details along the way.

Five years ago, when I first moved to Washington, it was early summer. My lease had already begun with my roommate, and I thought it was high time I started living and working there before I started graduate school.

I didn’t realize it then, of course, but this effort was a foolish attempt to repay my family for years of back-breaking work, so that I might feel better about the expense of my move.

Little did I know, I was sacrificing the last few months of my mother’s life to make shy of $1000.

I chose The Washington Harbor restaurant Sequoia, by the Kennedy Center, in all of its corporate glory. A chain establishment, Sequoia was multi-leveled with large glass windows and served decent food, but it was most coveted for its view of the waterfront and tiki bar.

Working there had major pitfalls. Common with service industry jobs—oh, I also saw “Common,” the rapper, there—the staff was over-worked. As a hostess I would sometimes stand for 12-hour shifts, was often treated poorly by patrons, and ate my lunch in the basement kitchen during off-mealtime hours.

Each morning I would enter through the soured back entrance, by the Dumpster.

For that short time, I befriended a tea-party supporter named Mario, whose parents were Bolivian.

What was happening back in Kentucky, was much different. Back at the farm in Winchester, Lauralee and mom were making last batches of canned salsa and sharing sweet time.

In the sweltering harbor swamp adjacent to Roosevelt Island, I was sunburnt, sweaty, tired, depressed, and floundering.

“Come home,” my tipsy mom would tell me over the phone. The way I dealt with her alcoholism was detachment. “Come home,” she said.

I would roll my eyes and verbally reject her. At the time I thought I was trying to “make it.” She didn’t understand. What I was really doing was being incredibly naïve, shutting out my family and my country past.

So zeroed-in on becoming somebody, I was forgetting to just, “be.”

To be okay with myself in transition. To be okay with spending time with my family, up until the moment school started. To be okay with riding on the edge of a troubled, rural Kentucky past, and my future, more esteemed, self.

If I could say anything to former-Molly it would be: to let your dad move your crap to Rosslyn, ride back home with him, and spend the rest of the summer enjoying your family and friends.

Give yourself some grace. Don’t be so hard on yourself. And for chrissakes, slow down.

I would tell myself that it’s okay to receive the gifts your family worked hard for. Do it mannerly, but it’s okay to just take them.

That’s why they worked so hard in the first place.


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