July 15, 2016 § 3 Comments
Two years ago I watched the pilot of a new show and fell head over heels in love with one of the characters. Nothing worrisome there; that’s what I’ve always done. But then my obsession shifted from the character to the actress. I stopped daydreaming about story lines for the character and started daydreaming about the actress giving interviews and getting recognized for her talent. Nowadays I’m so far gone that I daydream about her romantic life/ship her with her co-stars. I don’t want to fantasize about a real person in that way, but I’m also so scared of letting go of my obsession. I need to obsess over something and I know if it stops being about her it’ll become about someone else. I just wish I could go back to obsessing over the character instead of the actress.
I could talk about the science of obsession or celebrity worship, but there are plenty of articles about this on the Internet. What I want you to consider is a version of your brain that is unoccupied by thoughts of your favorite actress. There would probably be a lot of space for other thoughts, right?
It’s that uncomfortableness of being alone with our thoughts that makes us reach for our phones or mentally reach for our ships or our faves when we’re stopped at a red light, or when our friends use the restroom at dinner, or when we’re just about anywhere. Yes, it’s great that fangirls have such wonderful imaginations, and there’s nothing wrong with thinking about your fave, but we also have to make space for doing. . .well for doing nothing.
Doing nothing is something. Thinking about nothing is something. It puts us right in the present, for better or worse. It gives us the opportunity to look around, smell the smells, see the sights, feel our feet on the ground, and consider what life has to offer in this moment. And the more we strengthen our muscle that allows us to just be in the moment, the more equipped we are to handle uncertainty and stress.
So you don’t have to let go, Julia. You just have to grab onto something else.
What would it look like if you scheduled time each day, even if it was just five minutes, to just exist? To direct your thoughts back from that imaginary interview or flirty actor thought to just pay attention to your surroundings? Most days of the week I go for a walk and just pay attention to my neighborhood. There are cute dogs to follow, little lending libraries to browse, and trees to give me shade. And let me tell you. It is my mental health lifeboat.
If you have trouble hitting the pause button on your actress thoughts, it can help to have a mantra to silently repeat to yourself, regardless of whether you’re meditating or not. Something like, “I am enough.” Or “I am loved.” Or “I am as precious a cinnamon roll as [insert actress’s name].”
When we create the space for the present, we feel less bound by our obsessions. So breathe a little. Just rest a little. You can pick up your fangirl passions when you want to have fun, instead of feeling like you’re serving out a sentence. She’ll still be there when you need her.