Posted in Of Psyche

Of Obsession

Popcorn: Food and Film

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.

Domino Dominating: My Veg Extravaganza From Last Week

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.

A Couple of My Journals

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?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

25 thoughts on “Of Obsession

  1. I think stationary porn is an interesting one! But I can see it because I think in this digital era we yearn for some degree of tactile touch. There is one stationary store/printer we frequent about 2 or 3 times a year and just the mere touch of the paper still printed in the old fashioned way is intriguing. Anyway, in terms of my obsessions I’d say fairly obviously its music for me. Like you are with movies, I consider a song to be ruined if I miss the first 10 seconds, or if the headphones cut out 2/3 of the way through the song. It is important to me to take it all in-every nuance, every note from every instrument, trying to pick up the subtleties-a hand clap, a shake of a tambourine…whatever the case may be.

    Oddly enough I’m not so obsessive about my photography. When I know I have a good opportunity to set up somewhere and take great shots (say a sundown when I have my tripod and can sit there adjusting aperture and shutter speed) I’m happy. But most of the time, my photography is done on the fly, and I think I’m actually better at that. I’m not typically someone to get up at 4:30 in the morning and fuss and fret over all the settings I could be making. I took a great shot the other night after my wife was driving us home from the front seat, and through the window of the car. Its turned out to be one of my favorite recent shots and it came by NOT obsessing over it. I’m sure I could come up with some obsessions I’ve moved on from, but the music is the one lasting one throughout much of my life.

    1. Oh, stationery porn is like a whole other world besides the tactile pleasure of it! Like book covers, I’d recommend to stay well away! A few weeks ago, I didn’t know what a traveler’s notebook was, or washi tape, for that matter. The stuff I’ve learnt so far is pretty hardcore! I was productively obsessive about it when I was a child. Had a ridiculous number of pencil cases, had to have the latest pen in town etc. But, all the scrapbooking, and artsifying and DIYing and journal-hoarding and luxury notebook buying I’ve seen in the past few weeks is astonishing!

      But, I suppose spending hours finding the perfect black notebook is better than spending it on Domino’s, eh? At least, stationery promises longevity and productivity. I even changed my blog theme recently, because I loved the idea of my posts being sellotaped!

      I’d say your obsessions are really healthy. I feel about writing and literature the same way you feel about photography. It doesn’t render anything ‘special’, because it’s just what you do. Who you are. I’ve been recording stuff for my youtube channel this past week, and it was refreshing to be exercising a different set of creative muscles. Maybe doing something else makes you look at your regular work differently. I don’t know. But, there’s a solid reason we need this tangible, own-able, personal object of beauty. I’d call it release, but I’m sure everyone has a different reason.

      1. I’ll have to explore your stationary porn more thoroughly then as I have no idea what you are talking about lol! I do like your new theme and placing comments in ‘the envelope’. Very clever way to do it. I think you are probably right-one obsession can lead to lessening of other ones, if only for a short time, though maybe they become life long. I need to catch up on your YouTube channel. I did see you had posted more but I have not gotten around to listening yet.

      2. Oh, take your time. The little that I know about you, I think you’ll definitely fall for it! Maybe not the scrapbooking, or arty planner making, but the luxury stuff (Moleskine is only one small word in an ocean). I still don’t know or understand about 90% of it, but I sure feel the impulse to get them all! I’m so boring with my ‘handiwork’. Just write with black or blue ball point pens. Do you make photo albums or collages?

      3. My wife is the crafter, though she does not do scrapbooking as of yet. But she does a little bit of everything. I guess I’m saying that I can understand the appeal of it. I usually only write in black or blue, never other colors. I don’t make albums anymore now that I mostly shoot digital (with occasional forays into film) other than my photo portfolio which I am developing for professional reasons. Showcasing my best photos in 11 x 14

      4. Then maybe the writing stuff will be more your style. Or something like the listography books (the music one has great illustrations), where you have list prompts. It’s not all girly, men like stationery too!

      5. Oooh…listography sounds intriguing! And I know its not all girly. I keep my blogging moleskine notebook with me at all times jotting down any thoughts that come to mind, and I know other guys that enjoy it too. I suppose I just did not know the level it had reached such as you describe!

      6. It’s much more than I describe! I mentioned listography a while back, on a post about making lists. What colour and style of Moleskine do you have, if you remember? It’s overpriced here (and the Indian handicrafts journals are overpriced on Amazon US!), and my main problem is I can’t zero in on the journal(s) that will be right for me.

      7. My Moleskine is actually very generic. Black cover and no frills on the inside, just blank pages but I like it that way. I used to like lines like a notebook but for emphasis I like having blank pages so I can write larger or smaller, circle things, asterisk them…whatever the case may be.

      8. Ah, but that makes it more legendary! What size is it? Of course, Moleskine is a style, not a classic company. I have a very cheap (40 rupees, that would be less than a dollar) 2016 appointment diary for all my jottings, and there’s nothing special about it. But, it serves me well, and that’s what ultimately matters. It’s not instagrammable, but it does the job.

        You know, I wouldn’t think so much about it, if it were for someone else. I was going through these coffee table photography books for somebody last week, and there were so many that were more my taste than theirs. But, I didn’t get anything for myself. I very rarely do, for anything that might be considered ‘special’. I’d rather buy something useful instead, like an cheaper notebook I wouldn’t mind using.

      9. Things I never thought I would be doing today=measuring my moleskine notebook, lol. It is 5w x 81/4h. Just about the right size for me to throw in whatever bag I bring with me (which is sometimes my camera bag, sometimes a backpack, and sometimes a messenger bag). Any larger and it would be a problem. I don’t like the very small ones I have found out. I still have one or two of those, but save them for checklists and info for vacations usually. I’m going to say though that you really need to get some more things for yourself. Have you heard of the phenomenon (courtesy of the show Parks & Rec) of ‘Treat ‘Yo Self’?! I think its important to do that from time to time. I’d rather skimp on lunch for a few days to get a cheap box set, or get a hardcover book by a favorite author when it first comes out. It feels good!

      10. Okay, so it the most ‘classic’ of all their notebooks. Officially called Plain Notebook or Carnet a pages blanches. With soft cover. This is the one which started it all, and this type of notebook was used by Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, Picasso etc. Not that Moleskine was around then. They just built upon the concept after the last shop in Paris that sold these stopped production. It’s about a 1000 bucks here, which is five times what I’d spend on a fancy notebook!

        I don’t eat in expensive places all that much. When I think about it, I really have no indulgences, unless overpriced movie tickets count! That too, depends on which time and place is best for me. Nobody I know will call me a cheapskate. But, “treats” to me are usually inexpensive things, like watching a film, or a concert or something of the kind. Doesn’t take much to make me happy!

        A friend of mine tells me I like the idea of food, more than actual food. I have to agree with that, though sometimes I can have too many extra helpings. It’s more the idea of it all, the anticipation, than the actual thing.

      11. Ah, except mine has a hard cover! Well no matter. I did not know it had such a history behind them. That is very interesting! I did not mean to imply you didn’t indulge once in awhile. But I remember from some other posts that you did some serious dreaming about things! I just feel its really important. Even when money is tight, one single CD can make me happy and keep me going for weeks. Even if I get lucky and find an especially good one, or some vinyl in a thrift shop. It keeps me going and think it ties into what you said about food. Its the idea sometimes more than the actual food. I go crazy for liner notes and photos and things so sometimes I enjoy it more for that aspect than the music. You can have a beautifully packaged album with rubbish music!

      12. Ah, I was in that territory a lot back when I was a kid! Didn’t mind the overproduction, or illogical lyrics (though there have been some amazing illogical lyrics), as long as I got my money’s worth with the liner notes and the pictures!

        I guess the hard cover would be even more ‘classic’, because I can’t imagine all those great artists depending on something that maybe too delicate. However, the company is building upon history, is not historical by itself.

        You’re right though, I never really indulge! I have a ton of stuff to do this week, so if it turns out okay, maybe I will buy myself something!

        Have an early day tomorrow. Good night! Have a great week!

      13. I think I should clarify, stationery porn is just an uncommon, derogative term for stationery that is good quality, attractive and possibly photographed or displayed well.

    1. I’d say it’s more graphs than lists. Or do graphs help expand on lists better? All I can say is, I get a proper brain exercise when I read your blog posts (and I mean that in a good way), and I just marvel at the neatness of all that visual presentation. Shows a lot of love and a helluva lot of creativity! I hope there is a ‘Maths Through Music’ textbook in the future. Would help a lot of people!

      1. Maybe a chapter on tables with “Three is a Magic Number”. I actually do know my 3 times table, but I always mess up the lyrics of that song!

  2. Obsessions…I have so many….music…windmills…modern American history…Dorothy Parker, JD Salinger…that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I enjoy being obsessed with things.

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