I've been reading an ARC by Todd Strasser, and one of the themes is obsession. It's made me think about my teenage years and how obsession plays a role during those emotionally rich times.
In the book, there's a character who's obsessed with the MC. This is one of the secondary threads, not the main plot, but it's interesting, nonetheless. The overall theme is that of popularity and kids who desperately want to be popular but aren't -- and worse, those who are bullied/teased/ridiculed by those who are. The MC is one of the popular crowd, but she doesn't crave it. She simply happens to be (because of where she lives and similar circumstances). The boy who's obsessed with her continually asks her why she can't see how amazing he is on the inside.
I had a boy like that in my life, though he never told me he was obsessed. He was one of my closest friends in high school, and we spent tons of time together -- but I never even considered him romantically. I even dated his younger brother (we went to my senior prom together), and my friend didn't say a word. It was only later, after graduation (when our friendship seemed to vanish overnight), that I learned that he'd had a huge crush and apparently had been hurt by the fact I saw his brother in a romantic light and not him.
To me, this is one of the biggest lessons in life -- not just relationship-wise, but with everything. We see things we want (whether other people's approval or any kind of dream, like becoming a parent or writing), and if we can't learn to take life as it comes, that desire can easily become an obsession. I've had many obsessions through my life -- times when I fell for someone who didn't like me in return to moments when I desperately wanted something career-wise which simply wasn't happening. I think wanting these types of things is simply part of being human -- but finding contentment and peace is all about letting go. For me, at least, it's about not letting it become an obsession, but instead learning to be content even if I can't have whatever it is I desire.
The boy in the book said something along the lines of, "Why can't you see that I'm wonderful and good inside?" And the MC thought, "I can. But it doesn't matter to me." Yep, that's the way it often is -- it's not that we don't see the benefits of the other person or other situations, it just, for whatever reason, doesn't matter enough to us. Such a hard (and continually on-going) lesson. I still have moments of saying to various agents/editors: Why can't you see how wonderful my writing is? :) Maybe someday, one of them will.
Right now, I'm feeling very blessed (and grateful) that I'm content even without that. I don't have any current obsessions...when I do, I'll have to look back at this and remind myself that it appears to be a part of life.
What does obsession mean to you? And how do you handle it?