I borrow from what I read, what I hear, and from what I previously wrote about the world around me. I borrow ideas, opinions, and emotions. Hell, I borrow sensations of pleasure and pain from people who, intentionally or not, share them with me through their words or their eyes or the way they flinch at memory triggers they do not realize I can see.
The shivers up your spine are not always entirely yours; I might share them with you. And I might share the throbbing pain you feel in your head or your foot or the pulsing pleasure you feel in places you don’t describe in mixed company.
You see, I can learn about the world from my own writing and from the way I imagine you interact with the world around you. I borrow from my own words, describing experiences I cannot fully process until I read about them later. I analyze what I wrote, using the lens of experience and clarity unavailable in the heat of the moment to temper what I think I felt. Time and reflection yield truths unavailable at the instant of experience. The pain of touching a burning ember differs at the moment of the experience from a recollection an hour later. The ecstasy of orgasm in the moment may pale in comparison to the reminiscence, or vice versa. Time and the manner in which one borrows from his memory twists reality into pretzels; sometimes they can be unwound into long, straight strands of dough, but usually they shatter into crumbs during the attempt.
I have come to realize I am a person unlike the vast majority of people with whom I interact. I borrow them to define my experience; I borrow them to quantify and qualify my value in relation to the ground on which I walk. They do not do the same; well, maybe some do, but only rarely. The few who do are among a small and unpleasant breed that doesn’t fit, at least not here. We’re borrowing a place to be, hoping to stumble upon that magical propellant that will thrust us toward the place where being will better match who we are. How will we know? I do not know. I can only imagine the fit will be apparent. It will be apparent because we will no longer need to borrow but, instead, will be benefactors to those who need to borrow.