Much like a healthy portion of this country, I believe that Barack Obama possesses the ability to save our nation. However, unlike the vast majority of the electorate, I also believe that the President-elect can save me from the soured memories of my last boyfriend.
For nearly a decade, America has been trapped in a unsatisfactory relationship, rooted in an endless series of lies, deceit, and abject mistrust. I can relate. As an undergraduate college student, I spent the past three years of my life residing in Pennsylvania, with one half of that time period allotted to a relationship comparable in value to the current U.S. dollar; with a man who garnered the same kind of respect as George W. Bush at the most recent G20 Summit. I, too, experienced an epic crash, and as I watched my stock dramatically plummet, I swore that I would never render myself so vulnerable at the expense of my heart again.
Then, I met Barack. After enduring a wound from which the venom will never fully be drained, letting another in always presents a challenge, but with Barack, nothing struck me as typical. Opening up oneself to the prospect of a new love always comes hitched with an extensive procession of doubts and anxieties, but as the anniversaries between Barack and I began replacing those of me and my last love, it was difficult not to shed my misgivings and let the poison wash away like a coat of coarse, unsavory paint.
On October 2, 2007, my birthday, I turned 23 and spent the evening with my first love, pre-fall out, sleeping together under the stars of an unseasonably warm, rural country sky. On October 2, 2008, I turned 24 and waited in line for seven hours at an Obama rally in East Lansing, leaving with a shaken hand and inspiring words of hope ringing vibrantly throughout my ear canals.
Now, on January 20, 2009, I will be making a pilgrimage to Washington, DC, along with hundreds of millions of throngs of others, to join the hopeful, the desperate, the distraught, and those of us who are ready to love again. Just one year ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day brought a universe I believed to be infinite crashing down around me, from an individual I put too much undo faith into. But in regards to this one, I feel nothing but a bottomless well of certainty. America and I are ready to shed the betrayal of lost loves, and open our hearts to the possibility of another. On January 20, just one year and one day removed from my worst memory, I will begin archiving my best. My voice will join those of millions in a loud, resounding chorus: “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.”
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