Time is Just a Social Construct
One day I’ll remember the heating pole in my first NYC bedroom.
I’ll be walking somewhere, someday, maybe with someone I love - I'd like to imagine so but I'm currently processing the idea of giving up on a soulmate - anyway, I’ll hear a similar sound and I’ll remember how it would loudly ding, like someone hitting a pipe with a hammer. Off and on throughout the day and night, the thin, metal pole standing in the corner of my room randomly chimes in to remind me exactly where I am in space and time. In my room, sometimes alone, sometimes with company. Sometimes happy or sad or scared shitless of who I am or who I'll never be. But in some form or another it nudges the thought, "You’re here, Sam."
You’re warm and alive and you’re in NYC, and you came from the bowels of a drunk, drug induced, confused, sad existence into a life you never knew you could have. A life you never knew you wanted to have. And that's not to say I don't still have alcohol infused nights, but they seem to be getting less and less, and plain old existence seems to become more and more okay. And maybe not everything makes sense now. But maybe to want sense is to be missing the point. Sense is such a senseless thing to crave in a world where it only appears when enough time has surpassed to make it so. Wouldn't more time just keep shifting the meaning? "Don't seek the sense in it all," says the pole. "Just know you're here." the pole tells me.
The pole either wakes me or guides me back to sleep depending on the day. Once after consuming a weed gummy I was hoping to sleep soundly through the night but found myself awake *ding*. Oh fuck, I thought. I stared into the abyss of my ceiling (and of my life) and wondered how the fuck I ended up on a strange, beautiful rock floating in the vast of space where chaos is the inherent language. Why is there so much suffering and why do things actually hurt physically? Like why does the Universe hurt so god dammed much? And here I am, just stuck in it. Even if you were to kill yourself who knows where you go next. Maybe this is it, I'm at the mercy of a merciless void. And why the fuck did my heater pole have to wake me up at 4 am to remind me? And what in the actual fuck was in that gummy?
Other times (when I'm not having an existential break down due to weed) it sings me to sleep, sending me sweetly into my dreams or nightmares. It's annoying and comforting all at once. I’ll remember it fondly one day as a marker in time. Much like this song. This song takes me to so many memories at once it’s wild. I’ve had a lot of sex to this song with a few different people over the course of my life. Some I still know, some I don’t, but it makes me remember them fondly regardless. It also reminds me of my cousin and her husband (although not in a sexual way) and the life I used to share with them before moving here. It was the anthem of our shared experience together. Le sigh. These sounds act as portals to our past - portals to the depths of our experiences in living, the ones we can’t bear to not know.
It’s a blessing to be confronted with our lives. It’s truly astounding to look at your life while being in your life while being aware of it all. Knowing that your fate will be the same as each person we have ever known, loved, or seen. My roommate/bff/heterosexual life partner and I decided to remind ourselves of this frequently - that we’re going to die. We think it’s quite funny. Maybe that makes us sick. Or sane. Or privileged. Or just fucking human. I don’t know. Maybe all of the above. But it makes me happy to know I’m not in this alone. That I have her, and everyone in my life (including you) to experience this with. That our lives are not really our own but rather something we share. And this sense we seek so much of only comes when others show you how real or unreal it is at any given time.
I couldn't imagine charting this world all alone. How scary it would be. And to think some people feel that's what they are doing now, how lonesome. But I've had to switch the narrative in my head. The old one was that people do not wish to connect with me because why would they? The new one is that everyone wants connection, even if not to me personally, in general. Even those who feel they don't want to connect, do. It's in our genes to wish to be seen, loved, and valued - not to be confused with admired, envied, and all powerful. I never knew I had much to give anyone else until I started telling myself I did, then it all started to click.
I knew for a long time I had to get out there, into the world, in order to share myself. I wanted to share myself with many people in many ways and the only way I could is if I showed up. If I went to the places I was afraid of going. The places where others like me had been before and still existed within. And hopefully when I got there they could know me, and hopefully they would see me. So I traveled, and then I traveled even further. And then I realized I was still hiding even on the other side of the planet. So then I took a pause from drinking, and then I took a pause from the men I had been consuming, and then I saw what I really needed to see - myself. Woah, didn't see that coming did ya? Then I did some stand up during that phase and then some people laughed at me. But beyond laughing some people said they understood me, and I was like what the fuck you do?! That's really great! I did all of this just in time to move to NYC, a city that can chew you up and spit you out faster than you can say colostomy bag - yet, it's letting me be. It's letting me be and I'm letting it be, and maybe that's because I'm finally letting myself be.
NYC sucks away time from you like a vacuum. And you just adjust, like with anything in your life. You kiss your time goodbye and constantly wonder how you could cultivate more of it. But the reality is right now I can’t. So I have to take the time I have and make it work, because that’s my duty. I said I’d come to NYC and now I have to endure it. And I have to remove my privilege and entitlement from it and just accept it; that the life I led before moving has nothing to do with the realities I face now. What was true then isn’t true anymore. And when I pose it that way I'm not enduring it, I'm embracing it. Time isn’t something I spare much of. But maybe it’s shitty of me to think that time can only be viewed as worthy when it’s fun. Because it’s all time. It’s all we got. Timing is everything and everything is timing. It’s all time, in the good and in the bad moments.
Yet I like to think that one day life won't be about time at all. It won't be about how long you got or even how healthy you were during it. Rather, it will be about the meaning you brought to it. It'll be about the upsetting, uncomfortable things you did as much as the powerful, uplifting things you did. It will be about telling someone you love them as much as having to tell them you're moving on. It will be the sleepless nights after getting your heartbroken (or breaking your own) wondering how you'll ever love again, and it'll be that feeling of falling in love again. It'll be the dreaded sunrises shared trying to sober up before work, and it'll be one day realizing that all your substance abuse wasn't bringing you closer but pulling you further away. It'll be about hating yourself because maybe you have to do that before you can love yourself.
Maybe what kills you does make you stronger, and maybe what makes you stronger kills you... at least the parts you don't need anymore. Maybe time isn't really real, and it will all only make sense when there's nothing left to make sense of - death. Maybe then you'll get some peace from the exhausting, exhilarating experience that is living. But maybe we won't. Maybe we're just part of the Universe and it continues to recycle us into other chaotic voids, in different shapes and forms, time and time again. And if I am all I ever was and all I'll ever be all at once, then I'll take it. I'll take it and use it all up so that I have nothing left when it's all said and done... until it starts again.