I know he made your skin tingle every time he brushes your knee. That simple, small smile that cross his face, perfection (to your 15 year old self). One day after school as you walk towards home, he’ll turn to you and look at you, really look at you, like you’ve always wanted. There’s a single moment when you’ll know. At the time, you wouldn’t realize that it was the eye contact. Your souls will expose themselves in each pupil, giving the other a rare glimpse into what love could be. Your heart melts like hot cherry Jell-o, and butterflies sing a merry tune, the moon does a joyous backflip, and suddenly…you’re a new person. You’re a young lady in love.
That was the good news. Now, inevitable, here’s the bad: That kiss was the best you’ll receive. In fact in an attempt to suppress the depression of realizing that was it, you’ll barely remember that autumn afternoon that you swore was the best day of your life. Just another moment your mind will let fly from you like a child losing her grip on the bright red balloon. But by the time she gets home, she’ll have forgotten her woe for a teddy bear that will never fly away from her. You’ve finally found that teddy bear, 10 years after that life altering kiss.
It was in New York City. 2010. Graduate course entitled Media Philosophy. You ignored every advice-ridden conversation with your mother that was separately echoed by your father, in their separate houses that neither knew were almost identical. Philosophy was your chosen graduate degree; in a city that terrified you more than knowing you might become your parents. Halfway through the semester, your professor announces that the next topic is Mysticism. A concept nearly long lost, but for a few academics who have reserved a small table in the back of their brains. No introduction could have made this lesson more appealing.
Religion and spirituality had never been an integral part of your being. You can still count the number of times you’ve been in a church with your fingers. The concepts and ideas of mysticism wrap like delicious bacon around the miniature hotdog of spirituality. It’s succulent, juicy, and withheld from your diet until groups of peers gather for dinner parties. How could you describe such a concept to a person uneducated in the same way? Simply put, the body is getting in the way of one’s capacity to love. “Going soul to soul with God”, or some other being (as God doesn’t really take a priority for you).
This love and connection is only available when a person can abandon everything else. Meaning, purpose, society, complexity, power, everything is to be recognized as a construction of man. And furthermore, these constructions can be left behind for a simpler life (maybe in death, maybe in the desert). Nietzsche calls this “the most difficult thought”. Think the ending moments of Inception, but tone less scary in modern day. We are no longer Early Christianity followers, our maidens throwing themselves off cliffs to get closer to their Maker.
Reading your description on the page provides a depressing, droning narrator in your mind. It’s not like that. It just makes sense. Mysticism helps you to understand the world you live in. You’re scared, all the time. Of murders of rape of war, of famine of disease of starvation, of death. Pizza grease-stained laundry washed in a repeating cycle of fear. How do you get out of it? Find love. A basic roadmap toward meaning. Find a way to love someone in this hopeless place. But who? Even more important, How?
Winter break is imminent and the drafts of snow have brought a dread of the impending holiday season, divided perfectly in half. “One for you, one for you, none for me” became last year’s subconscious mantra, addressed in separate postcards to each parent. Your lessons have finished, farewells dealt out to professors and roommates. You use the precious few hours before Mom will pull her Honda Civic outside the doors of your dormitory to skim through November and December’s Cosmo magazines. You’ve been pondering how to find love for weeks now, maybe even obsessing over it. Read every magazine quiz and article “helping women find amazing love”, every scientific study that tackles the intricacies of love. Nothing of any real substance came of them. It seems like none of the authors could fathom a girl like you, one who had never known love and may never find it.