For the first 24 years of my life, I was obsessed with film. I was that person who sits through the end credits just to find out about the songs featured in the film, even in the theatre where ushers try to usher you out so that everybody can get on with their lives. I am still that person who thinks the movie is over, if she’s five minutes late. But, back then I couldn’t go to the theatres as much as I wanted to (still can’t) and had to make do with watching on TV instead. I couldn’t get through the day without watching at least one movie. I had to get up really early when I was in school, even had my weekends packed with activities, but still managed to squeeze in 1.5 to 3 hours, braving the daily remonstrance of my parents, for watching films. As a young adult, I read books, watched educational material, wrote scripts, applied to film schools, did everything I could to further the obsession, until it seemed like I’d reached a dead end.
I moved on to food instead. From the age of 25 (I’m 28 now), I’ve been unable to fit into my normal clothes, because I’ve discovered obsessive eating. I always relished eating but, because my mind was filled with something else for most of the day, and because I just didn’t feel as inclined towards it, it was never a problem. I am not like some people who can eat whatever they want, in whatever portions they want it, and not see a visible difference. I do. I always have. Either it sits as fat, or it has other consequences. I had never seen food as something beyond an energy source, or something pleasurable. It wasn’t deliberate, there was no aha! moment in 2013 when I decided I should eat chips more regularly, and less fruit. No one does that willingly. But, it happened.
I’ve referred to it sometimes here, most recently in a post called Of Comfort Eating. The thing is, you need something to cope with life. To get you through everything else. Even if its a dream, a hope for something (daydreaming has always been an obsession too). It can’t be another person, even if its your family or friends whom you love dearly. It has to be something for yourself, or you might infringe on their personal space. If you do it healthily and/or adventurously, you can call it a lust for life. Otherwise, it’s just obsession.
Obsession that surprises you. That shames you. That disgusts you. That makes you laugh at your own ridiculousness. I dreamed of a Milkybar a while back. I got a 1600 calorie pizza for myself last Sunday, just because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s a matter of resolve, and with obsessions I find I haven’t got much.
The thing is, food is a necessity. I really enjoy it, relish it. I don’t have the same fatty stuff again and again. There is a lot of variety, it’s only the quantity, the calorific value, and more importantly, obsessive thoughts about food that is the issue. I’m not trying to be clever with this post (unlike other posts), because I haven’t been able to give much thought to it. It’s been urgent, uncomplicated, visceral. I like food, and I’m good at it. Or not.
And I’ve started another obsession, and you’re allowed to giggle as you read it: stationery. I know. RIDICULOUS. But, the internet is inundated with Stationery Porn, and I involuntarily conclude I’ll be happy if I had all the prettiest journals in the world. But, oh, no. Because I am a discerning, adult individual, I obsess with finding the perfect journal. I harmlessly go on Amazon, for non-stationery gift ideas for somebody else. And I end up looking at notebooks, each with a personality of its own, completely paralysed about what I should get, wishing there was an Oprah button next to the Buy button on each and everyone of them.
I miss the frugality of my growing years. Not that I always needed to, but I was brought up to be so. There was little waste, in anything, and there was never any excess. I guess, because the real premium was put on the future. Not on anything that might go wrong with it, but that it had to go right. That’s a good way to go through your years into adulthood, but it doesn’t prepare you for the ‘thousand natural shocks./That flesh is heir to.’
I wish I could obsess with the things I care about. You know what they are. But, everyday, you just make do with quick fixes. You can’t put on an album, or practise that instrument sitting in the corner gathering dust. You put on music you can ignore, eat food that is slightly less than disgusting. You watch mindless TV or Youtube videos, because you can’t use your mind even for them, let alone anything else. And then days, years go by until something changes for you, good or bad. And you fall back to your old ways soon enough.
What are your obsessions?