Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Follow Your Obsessions

A few years ago I went through a painful ordeal. While I won't go into the details it pushed my sanity to the limit nearly breaking me in the process, but it also helped me realize a few things about my mind. Namely, I noticed that the worse and worse my situation got the more I was drawn to horrible ideas. As I grew fearful, depressed, emotional, and weak my mind was pulled in a few directions. First, I could not stop thinking about my parents dying. At the time I was staying with my father and the thought of him dying repeated in my mind like a mantra. I did not really fear his death as much as I feared being abandoned. At the time I was incapacitated. There was no way for me to care for myself so my fears were not unfounded. Even though he was in good health I kept thinking of facing homelessness and poverty in my current mental state which was quite literally insane.

The other area my mind was pulled to was obsession with my problem and I think this helped me confirm some of what Freud wrote about obsessions. Freud's theory of an obsession was something like psychoanalytic career advice. Our obsessions are the chink in our mental armor, they reveal the cracks where we are weakest, showing the soft underbelly we try to protect. For me, I'm obsessed with dieting and weight loss. That's pretty easy to understand. I'm a lonely person and I'm insecure about my body. It seems to fit together well. To have my needs for affection met I feel like I need to lose weight. I've been trying to for years and failed which is why it's turned into an obsession. Behind the motivation to lose weight is an unfulfilled need. It is suffering which is this driving force.

This can also reveal what a person values. As I lose weight I judge others by their bodies more. In my desire to understand other people I've realized that people hold different values than myself. Success is relative to the individual. I noticed this after reading about a career woman. She wouldn't date a man who made less than her and couldn't find a date because she was successful. I thought her callow but really it's a false dichotomy. Her values and my values do not align. Her successful man is not my successful man. To me it's like the vulgar woman who reveals her true character on the first date. Some men might recoil at the obtuse behavior but I find it reassuring. Maybe not in the moment as it's happening but afterwards I can enjoy the efficiency of it. She didn't waste my time trying to be someone she wasn't. I'm not going to find out six months into the relationship that she is a prude or angry person. I know up front who she is and that we're not compatible. I think this is one of the reasons why relationships fall apart.

The typical American date is a meeting of two actors both sworn to their roles for their initial few meetings. The man plays his part and the woman players her part and while those two roles may be in flux in modernity they are still facade. An unfortunate thing is that many first dates that go poorly are probably between two people who were overall compatible but could never get passed the initial attraction phase. I don't value money much beyond the necessities of life. I don't know why this is but I never have. It's never interested me to make money. I only wanted happiness and money was never a part of that.

I putted through college. That's the best way I can describe it. It's fitting. I took dozens of classes that I never needed to. I spent the better part of a decade at school mostly racking up loans I'd never pay back. I quickly noticed that most of the students and faculty had no real interest in learning. Knowledge was secondary to making money. That was their goal and not the knowledge itself. Understandable but unfortunate.

I finally picked a major, English, and worked toward that. All of my frolics into science and history stopped as I sat down with my adviser and she explained to me that I had all of my elective credits met twice over and that a class on Roman history was not going to help me graduate. I left my rebuttal silence.

Even when I picked a major I had my doubts. I chose english because I liked writing not because I enjoyed reading literature. I didn't. In fact I still don't enjoy literature. I've never enjoyed it and always thought of it as boring. I liked reading but nothing literary.

That's where my mistake was. When deciding a major or a career path I would have been better served by following my obsessions in greater detail. Instead of majoring in english, I should have majored in nutrition or physical training. I would have not lacked for any enthusiasm at the time but I didn't know what I wanted.


  1. I don't understand this "compatibility" talk. Either the woman submits to the dominant man or she doesn't.

    1. there's more to a relationship than dominance.

  2. keep your bug out bag handy just in case SHTF.