On Loving, Not Liking
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On Loving, Not Liking

Because when I'm interested, I'm obsessed.

On Loving, Not Liking

I can always feel an obsession coming on. It’s like a cold—first, a sort of sniffle, reading an article or review of something, and next thing I know, I’m bedridden watching documentaries and reading everything about the topic I can get my hands on. Sure, I can put the same amount of time into, say, a research paper, but that takes some mental coaxing and cajoling— “Come on just write 500 more words and then you can scroll indefinitely through the iced coffee tag on Instagram.” But if it’s an obsession and I’m in the blissful early days of break, I might start reading articles at 10 a.m. and realize around 5 p.m. as a documentary’s credits are rolling that I spent the whole day on this. And why? Where the hell is this energy for, like, anything useful? When I like something, I love it, and that’s had it’s ups and downs.

I don’t mean this at all in an “lmao 2012 fandom culture” or a “you’re only a real fan if you drink French press coffee out of an original comic book made of vinyl” kind of way. I don’t mean that at all. This is just how I am. Unless I’m being paid or graded, my interests are wildly all-or-nothing.

The first obsession I remember was Felicity the American Girl Doll, but I have it on good authority that when I was a toddler I liked "101 Dalmatians" so much that I’d go around introducing myself as the different puppies. Then in second grade, Harry Potter settled in for a solid decade—that was a big one.

The real victims in this are my family and close friends—the people who are stuck with me. If we’re not intimately bonded, I’m going to stay on the quiet side about my interest—I just want to avoid a situation where you wanted a fun, lighthearted chat about Hogwarts houses and I lead with “to what extent do you think Sirius Black was mentally and emotionally capable of being the kind of paternal figure Harry needed?”

These obsessions strike during time off from school, when I have the time to indulge them. “What’s it going to be this year?” my sister asks warily at the start of every winter break. This past year it was Todd Haynes movies, and if it sounds like I want a medal for liking something perfectly un-embarrassing, it’s because I do. This week of spring break, I cycled through topics pretty rapidly and randomly, from "Gossip Girl" to journalist David France’s work to David Sedaris, where I have paused indefinitely. Don’t worry Chuck and Blair, I’ll be back. XOXO.

That’s the other thing about liking things this much: they always come back. The length of time between coming home for Thanksgiving/winter/spring breaks is the ideal gap for every David Sedaris punchline to be fresh to me when I come home. It goes like this: "Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls" will catch my eye and I’ll open it up to any essay. The next thing I know, I’ve read all of his books I own and am on my way to the library for the ones I don’t. I’ve been reading "Naked" every few months since 2011, but that doesn’t stop me from shaking with laughter too violent to make a sound. This even at the stories Sedaris himself isn’t crazy about (how do I know that? Because when I’m not reading David Sedaris, I’m watching interview clips on YouTube.)

Frankly, I’m glad I feel things strongly. I get a genuine, highly concentrated joy learning about whatever topic it is that possesses me. There’s probably an important lesson here for me to learn about expanding my horizons and learning to care about the things that don’t immediately capture my interest. But "When You Are Engulfed In Flames" isn’t going to re-read itself, so bye.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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