I felt much better after pouring my heart out to you about being heartbroken. Of course, I felt much better after dropping out of law school, and felt much better after the first person I dated since, and much better after moving away from Cleveland, and much better after giving my dog back to him.
I know that sounds awful, but I used to cry every time I took her for a walk because I thought of him. Yes I am very selfish for giving her to him. Except I'm sure she's having a wonderful time.
Point being, having an instant flash moment of "over it!" is for me, a myth. But I have felt much better recently. It's because I'm in love with people in Gary, Indiana.
What does romantic love give me? The crucial feeling of being needed, of specialness, and responsibility for someone else's growth. God, those feelings are so great. Also, being understood. And to break 'being understood' down further, having someone assume the best about you- when you're rude, it's because you're tired, when you're sad it's because you have real things to be sad about, when you're lazy it's fun, not deeply disappointing.
And the people in Gary do all of that for me! They are so amazing. The warmth and affection and trust- immediately! From strangers!
Of course, Gary can be a very dangerous place. But that makes it even more amazing- these are people who live in sometimes extremely dangerous situations. Certainly lots of exhausting situations. But they aren't exhausted.
And I guess another part of being in love is feeling transformed yourself, like the best parts of yourself are being brought out.
Here's a story of why I'm in love with people in Gary.
The Gary courthouse has been a madhouse for the past two weeks. The early voting hours were only 8:30 to 4, and the week before last the rule was you had to be within 50 feet of the voting machines to vote if you were in line at 4.
I know, it sounds illegal, right? But early voting is new, so no one had a handle on the rules.
There was a day were there were about 50 people the courthouse staff tried to turn away at 4, because they weren't within 50 feet of the machines. These were people who had waited for TWO HOURS to vote.
So I was freaking out, because I didn't know how to force the courthouse staff to let people vote. And this woman in line just said really loud, "I'm staying here until I vote; if that means I'm here overnight that's fine with me."
So nobody in line would leave. So they let everyone vote that night. And people stayed until 6:30 to vote.
After a week of nights like that, the board of elections finally changed the rule so that everyone in line at 5 (they also extended the hours) gets to vote.
Then I saw that same woman at the East Chicago courthouse, where she had driven some other ladies to vote early, and she said, "Didn't we have fun that night? That was great."
Goddamnit, some people are amazing.
Transformative experiences, courtesy of Barack Obama. Get yours while they're hot.