I want to fall in love with life again. I wrote the phrase over and over, covering every line, even barraging past the red margin on my paper until the smudging graphite coated the edge of my palm. It was a futile way for me to remember that I was constantly torn between two worlds – the real one and the fantasy one I always got trapped in. Today was the twenty-second day of sitting in front of my computer screen, waiting for a new video, a notification, an update, anything – about the [Red Bandits].
My obsession with finding them, with meeting them again surpassed any desire I’ve had in my lifetime. I had no inkling that my first encounter with the [Red Bandits] would project me into a unhealthy craze of wanting to know more about them. At first, it was fun – exhilirating even. A simple Google search dispensed a range of conspiracies, articles, and obscure video clips about them – their real identities, where they came from, what types of situations called for their sudden appearance. Excitement buzzed through my veins upon uncovering their mysteriousness little by little.
But after a while, I stopped discovering new information. I was left to re-contemplate every clue I had gathered for hours on end, always running into a dead end every time. Twenty-two days of this: of wasting my time, of neglecting my school work, of ignoring my friends just to chase down something that had been deemed a myth for years. Even though it hadn’t even been a month, I didn’t know how to get back into my old life again. Every inch of my body ached to go outside, to be active and explore all the world had to offer. Every inch of my mind rooted me to this same position that I had been in for weeks.
Scrunching up the sheet of paper, I tossed it with the other scraps of senseless scribbles that had been accumulating in my garbage bin. I laid my cheek on the desk, upturned towards the screen so I wouldn’t miss anything new (just in case). My arms dangled off the edge of the desk, swinging like aimless pendulums…
This is a rough (apologies in advance) excerpt from a scene I had written a couple days ago. Although you might not have any context about who the “Red Bandits” actually are or why this particular protagonist wants to find them so badly, I hope you can relate anyway.
Have you ever been obsessed with something so much that it consumes your whole life? Whether it’s a band, show, artist, athlete, video game, celebrity, book, kpop, kdrama, etc. do you reach a point where you realize how much it’s disrupting your daily routine, so you have to step back and acknowledge the monster you’ve become? (HAHA) If not, you should probably stop reading here because none of this will apply to you.
Well – okay to be honest, I don’t really know if anyone else has experienced the actual things I experience when I go through these “obsession cycles” but let’s get on with it.
Let’s hypothesize why we get obsessed with superficial things in the first place. I think it’s because at one point or another, we’re grasping for a new coping mechanism when we really want to escape our own reality, when our love for something in another world trumps the love we have for the actual world we’re living in. It also has to do with time: how much free time you have, what you decide to do with that free time.
[Disclaimer: This is the part where I say that although I’m talking about “fangirling” tendencies, there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed when becoming a hardcore fan of something or someone. There’s a point where obsessions can get dangerous and inappropriate and sometimes downright disgusting – in regards to stalking or invading someone else’s privacy, compromising their own safety. Please always be mindful and respectful, not only for the other party but for yourself.]
So initially, the obsession is the one thing that gives you joy. It comforts you, inspires you to try new things, it’s the one thing you come back to after a long day. It literally becomes like a drug to you. There’s even that irritating envy when you find that this certain obsession is rising in popularity and that more and more people are finding comfort in the one thing that gives you comfort (I’m pretty sure that’s where the justification “I knew [insert band name here] before they were popular” stems from). We get so possessive over them because we’ve sort of formed this one-sided artificial intimacy, making them serve as the crutch that lifts us up when we’re having a hard time.
But then you realize how much it cripples you, how immobile you’ve gotten since you first jumped into this new world. The realization that this “craving” can’t physically be satisfied drags you into a hole where you can’t move [on]. In the sense where you’ve adopted the mentality of becoming exactly like your obsession (ex: idolizing a particular person) and realize that that can’t happen results in the same feeling. It distracts you, stumps you from doing anything else – especially with social media when anything and everything is at the touch of your fingertips. The whole fan world is so much more powerful now. Sometimes I just find myself wasting literally 4+ hours straight just scrolling through Youtube and Instagram for content.
Then you get to this withdrawal stage, where you try to get over this unhealthy craze by purging all the screenshots, wallpapers, fan accounts, playlists out of your phone. You try really hard not thinking about them anymore, but it sucks when you still see them everywhere due to their popularity. Anyway, it sounds like I’m trying to describe a break up…which is not totally dissociated from this. But yes, day by day, you spend less hours marveling over this obsession, you rely less on them for your temporary happiness. Day by day, you take your life back. I know I’m making it sound a lot easier than it actually is. You will encounter times when you want to revert back to lying in bed with a phone pressed up to your nose or find that it’s too difficult to face your responsibilities so you crawl back into the hole you’ve been trying to get out of. But you will make it out eventually!!
Whether it takes twenty two days or more, you will get back into your own life and feel like you’re actually living it.
[This ridiculous post sprouted from an INSANE obsession that I’m still trying to shake off. Clues as to what it is: bogoshipda, chim chim, strong power thank you. If you’ve ever felt any of the stuff I mentioned above or even feel the need to share your experiences with your own obsessions, please comment or something so I know I’m not that crazy lol.]