On Fiction

My one true love is fiction.

No matter where I am in my life, if I have some piece of fiction at my disposal, I will be all right. It doesn’t matter if it is a written or visual package of fiction – as long as the characters are endearing or compelling, and I am able to care able whatever is happening in the moments the author chose to record, I am immediately enriched. The act of consuming fiction engulfs me; waves of safety, tenderness and care wash over me; the lights go down at a venue and the stage play makes me forget the terror of wading through the audience. There are stories I can revisit time and time again, and characters that I know would be lifelong friends if our circumstances were different; if they came into my life as people in my reality, we would be there to support one another, laugh in the best of times and weep during the worst.

I have some people akin to my favourite fictional characters in my life, but instead of focusing on how that sensation seems to lead itself to the idea of “few and far between,” I tend to realize that my habit of moving around has made it so that I am constantly separated from people in my life who are extremely dear to me. I know some amazing people, and wish sometimes that we were wrapped into one piece of fiction so that I might interact with them more often, but even if that were to happen, I am sure that we would live on a fictional map of an extremely large size, so that side plots could be carried out in different locations so they wouldn’t have to be in the direct consciousness and influence of every awesome person I know.

Perhaps this complete infatuation with fiction explains why I haven’t been able to have a relationship in which my complete devotion and love is returned in equal proportions. Until rather recently, I have led my life believing that everyone has a love of their life that exists in human form that can be everything they need to each other. I have tried to be that for a couple of men who either took advantage of my naivety or simply needed something other than what I could provide. It took me a very long time to realize that it wasn’t a matter of me not being enough for these men; I just wasn’t exactly what they needed.

Although I might fall in love with another man at some point in my life (I like to think it can happen again, so as to not close myself off from a new exploration of romantic love), my bond with fiction will always remain fierce. I might find a person who wants all the usual relationship dynamics, but I am quite all right and not at all heartbroken by the notion that this might not be where life will lead me. The stories I read or watch enrich my understanding and I feel as though my appreciation for them brings them a step above whatever the author created in his or her own mind. Although I definitely appreciate the authors of my favourite fiction, it is not in them that I place my love; stories belong to the readers, and although there would be no story without the author, the story is locked in darkness until it is brought to realization through the mind of the reader.

Don’t misread my words and think that I am waiting for some fictitious knight in shining armour, or suited man in a time machine, to whisk into my life, change it forever, and toss me into a real world life the likes of which our reality has never seen. That is not why I love fiction. I don’t dote on it in the hopes that something that lives only in the imagination will spring forth in my life, and I don’t lament that my prince still hasn’t arrived. I used to think that it was the natural course of life to fall in love and follow the usual steps of adulthood as a partnership. It turns out that not every life goes that way, no matter how hard one tries to live an idealized life. Existence is much more interesting when you cast aside preconceived notions of what it should be and live your life how you see fit. As long as you are kind to others, explore what you enjoy and don’t put others down for doing the same, life can be a complete thrill.

That being said, sometimes life crashes into periods of disappointment or sorrow, either in regards to outside elements or internal issues, and this is where fiction has bonded with my heart. Fiction allows me to escape the exact moment I am in and explore a different moment in time and space. It doesn’t matter that the fictional moment is not always better than my real life situation – I delight in absorbing what it is like to live in all sorts of situations that would be classified as “shit times” without having to actually contract the disease, be mentally distressed or have the villain capture or abuse me. It is just the fact that someone I have grown to know through prose, dialogue, facial expressions or body language is going through something that I can comprehend and relate to that pulls me in and takes me on an adventure. I’ve wept with, or for, characters who have been wronged or who deserved better, and my heart has jumped joyously with those characters who have achieved more than they could ever dream.

Fictional also allows me to explore a poly-amorous side of myself that does not exist in the real world. My soul has yet to allow physical relations with more than one other human being without a feeling of doing harm, guilt, shame or not being an outstanding friend/lover. With fiction, I do no harm in loving several characters throughout a television series, throughout a stage production, throughout a novel or throughout a movie. In fact, my love for each of those characters is not diminished in the slightest by my love for every other character or plot line that takes hold of my heart. I’ve never felt need to engage physically with more than one person at a time in my life, but I feel a wild sensation and absolutely no guilt in consuming stories, and the souls within them.

Fiction also has this incredible power of bringing people closer together. Upon finding out someone else has read/seen the same thing that you are crazy about, and found enjoyment in that fiction, an intense connection can be formed while discussing fine details and character behaviours. Fiction nourishes me when I am alone and brings me into the lives of other fantastic people. Fiction brings means of discussion, self-reflection and heightened emotions. Fiction, no matter the form, is an art that wraps me up, keeps me feeling secure and grounded, even when the situations aren’t always safe. Creation of other worlds, people and situations, and my subsequent enjoyment of these elements is something by which I am very proud to be delighted.

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