My mind can make anything real, happily substituting reading Workout magazine and processing it as an actual physical experience. The dysfunction of an intellect is that it seeks to understand reality via an understanding, not experience, not tangible evidence, rather simply having thought it through ought to suffice. I always offer the advice to my teens who want to be dictators of the world, sensing that peace and prosperity were at their beckon call, that they have to beware the stupid people. But perhaps what I ought to say, is beware the notion that what you have created in your head has anything to do with reality.
That Workout magazine has the same articles repeating over and over like a scratched vinyl record, announcing the latest cure to our malaise. One such mantra is that the ability to stick to an exercise plan comes from finding an activity that you really love. And so I tried what I knew others loved. I bought a replacement for my long past stolen bike. I sat through yoga classes reminding myself that the boredom and uncomfortableness was part of the process; believing that I did really love it, simply that my ego was interrupting my sense of joy. Yet wanting to truly enjoy something, telling yourself that the dopamine is flowing from those strained shins as you try to jog, is not the same as the real thing. It was only when I found something that I would prioritize over a cozy nap, that the resulting soreness felt like a badge of honor, that I wanted to get better at and would do all that I could to meet my potential, only then did exercise find its place in my heart.
But this is not a story of triumph and redemption, rather it is about our infinite ability to lie to ourselves, to believe that the stories in our heads can be touched, felt and known by others. The thesis is that I have never been in love. I have been addicted to men many times over. I have been a sweet shot of white horse for some men. I have felt the yearning, the needing, the obsessing, the thrill, the tingles, the despair, the warmth, the wanting that I have read about, internalized as what love is, applied my knowing of it to my moments with real men. But in my heart of hearts, the kind of devotion, sacrifice, humility that I see in those whose love I know is real, has not been mine. And that is okay. I can’t mourn something that has never been mine, that has never been real, that has been simply my neurochemicals meeting anothers. Telling ourselves something doesn’t make it real, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know real when real is real.