Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Art of Obsession

I am an obsessor. I take my loves very seriously, throwing myself full-force into whatever world I stumble into. This can be anything from Middle Earth to vintage albums of The Police. This I've learned: never love anything half way. Love it all the way.

When I was in the seventh grade, I went to see Fellowship of the Ring. It rocked my world. Two years later I saw Return of the King with a couple of people, and they turned out to be my best friends. A lot of this centered on the fact that we all became obsessed with LOTR together, went through stages of excitement and creeper internet fan stalking together, attempted to learn Elvish together and eventually grew up together. Our obsession fed our friendship. We had much more in common, but we always had LOTR as a base, as some thing we could make inside jokes about or reference with a wry smile. There are a million stories like this, especially involving LOTR I'm sure, around the world. Obsessions bring people together.

Other things I've been obsessed with: Finish metal bands (chiefly Nightwish, who I followed to a show at the House of Blues in one of the most exciting/life threatening experiences of my life, what with the lights and the screaming and the being right up close and the dear-jesus-please-don't-mosh-me-ness of it all), Firefly (which led to all-encompassing love of The Joss Man, see below), The Police (who announced a world tour just when I'd gotten over the fact that I'd never get to see them live, which, eleven tickets and $2,000, later turned out to be gloriously untrue), (btw, I'm still paying people back for those tickets), Ryan Spilborghs (plays left field and is the DH for the Rockies, looks like a dream, who knows where he'll end up this season, but as long as I can ogle him from the third base line I'm good), Ralphie (Vaughan Williams, for you plebeians, writer of the song voted best ever by the citizens of the UK, "The Lark Ascending"), and many more...

Here's the "art" part. You can't say you obsess over just anything. I have a friend who has picked up the nasty habit of saying things like "I am obsessed with these fries" or "I am obsessed with those windows" (i.e., I think these fries/windows are really cool and have my full attention at this moment). But this is just not true, because you cannot be obsessed with something unless you love it with your whole heart and live it with your whole life. There should be posters on your walls, bookmarked websites with obscure facts, and songs on repeat that drive those living in close quarters with you crazy. You should be able to connect everything you encounter in your day to day life back to it. ("Oh hey! Those spires on that building look like the helmet the third orc from the left of the second shot of the battle at Osgiliath was wearing!")

You see, one must truly, deeply find devotion to the obsession a rewarding experience. It’s not about outward appearances, or being able to recite more facts about Sting than anyone else (which can be cool, I warrant you), but enjoying the new realm into which you have entered because it fulfills you in ways “normal” things don’t. It helps you discover things about yourself and reveal truths about humanity. (Pardon my lofty language, but show me a Ringer who says Lord of the Rings hasn’t changed their life.)

It is also a great connector. When you find people who are obsessed with your loves, it’s truly a kindred spirit experience. No matter who the other person is, where they are from or their economic background, when you both realize the line, “I am a leaf on the wind, watch me soar” makes you both want to cry, there is a deep connection that is felt. It doesn’t mean that you have to become best friends, but it does mean that your love has been affirmed, that someone else out there gets it.

No comments:

Post a Comment