obsessed

One could see my life as a series of obsessions: times (varying from a week to several years) when a subject, movie, book, or show consumes me. One could also stop using “one” as a pronoun. One could try.

There’s a fun read by Polly Shulman titled Enthusiasm that speaks to this sort of crazy, following a character as she discovers Jane Austen.

I had a Jane Austen phase, too.

I don’t know if “phase” is the right word. Phase implies an end. Once I’m obsessed with something it never really goes away. The pain is just lessened. The intense heartache I feel in the middle of an obsession is eventually replaced with a dull twang.

Back to Jane Austen. Back to writing letters that began: “To My Future Mr. Darcy.” Back when my children’s names were planned to be “Fitzwilliam” and “Georgiana.” Mom doubts this is not still currently my plan. (Maybe I do, too.)

There have been other author enthusiasms and other book obsessions.

Boston Jane. A little series that made me like cherry pie, and I HATED cherries.

Ella Enchanted. Ella and I both “frell” for Char.

Harry Potter.

John Green could fall into this category as well, but it really all began with the vlogbrothers and not with his books. The land of Nerdfighteria is deep and fathomless, and I’m still a little in there.

There have been movie enthusiasms.

Mom says my very first obsession was with Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (or as I call it, “Diving Girl”), a movie about a girl who rides a horse into a pool. It inspired me to befriend my imaginary horse named “Wilburt with a ‘T.'” Obviously, this obsession ran over into the period of Anne of Green Gables enthusiasm.

There’s my killer whale stage, aided and instigated by Free Willy. I had a blow up Keiko -Willy’s real name, people- for the pool. I aspired to be a marine biologist. I considered the ways in which I could fill the lake outside our house with saltwater to properly accommodate a whale. Certain recent tragedies of SeaWorld have all but crushed my image of riding an orca (but now that you mention it, said whale would obviously be my best friend and have a super clever name like “Free Hilly.”)

There was the Age of Star Wars, one of my longest obsessions, strongest from ages 8 to 14. Highlights of this obsession include: attendance at Star Wars Celebration, a Queen Amidala Halloween (or maybe two or three), and several Tatooine-themed sleepovers (with only myself).

Does watching Mutliplicity at least once a day for several months count as an obsession? Add Multiplicity then. I’m not proud.

For television there was 7th Heaven, a show I recorded on VHS tape for my sister when she went to medical school. I thought she was probably going crazy without watching. (She wasn’t.)

There was the three months of watching every I Love Lucy episode multiple times. I read both Lucy and Desi’s autobiographies, watched several documentaries and miniseries about them, imagined living at Desilu Ranch, and cried several times over the couple’s failed marriage (and not over the fact that they are both deceased). I was 20.

The Young and The Restless. I blame Mimi (my grandmother) for starting this, and I blame the Nick/Sharon breakup for ending it.

There were the more odd obsessions.

Presidential trivia. In my memory, it was a blast to utilize on family road trips (but I have a sneaky suspicion that I am the only one who remembers it that way).

Crock pot recipes. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say it involves a “crock pot pancake.”

Crocheting. Two Christmases ago I made everyone in my family a scarf. I haven’t crocheted since.

Kristen Wiig’s Target Lady, which just consisted of me using that voice and severely embarrassing myself at actual target check-out counters (because the cashiers didn’t watch SNL?).

When I get into something so heavily, I often get hurt. Please see my fourth grade reading of A Bridge To Terabithia for evidence. **I devoured that book. Ate it up. Then I cried so hysterically that I literally made myself ill.**

Fortunately, I’ve learned to simmer down my tendencies to go bat-crap crazy over something. I do things to protect myself. While reading Divergent over Thanksgiving break, I got pulled in hard, so I looked up the ending when I was halfway through the second book. I know, I know. It was sacrilege, but knowing the end meant I didn’t have to go all in.

Going whole hog insane over something is a very selective process at this point in my life. There are farther stretches between obsessions, and when I do go there, I try to be very intentional about the amount of time I spend thinking about things like roast beef sandwiches. Because when one falls in love, one wants to really mean it (especially in the sandwich arena).

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