posted on: Thursday November 8, 2001
by Maria Monaco
You could say that I’ve been stringing along obsessions my whole life. One by one they’ve kind of all joined with me together. They all live together in the garden of my mind in a kind of harmony that doesn’t eliminate competition completely, but instead uses it effectively. Each obsession has its place. They are the phantoms and delusions in my otherwise straightforward and controlled existence. Whether they are the cause or the effect of this existence I have yet to figure out. I don’t think it can be figured out, though, what makes us obsessed with certain things. There’s no way of predicting what will stay lodged in our minds so firmly that it would take a bulldozer to rip it out; it just kind of happens. Certain things fall together in a certain way so that a person, an object, a situation or idea, or any number of things can take on a greater meaning in our minds. Of course there are two types of obsessions really. I don’t want to label them good or bad because it really depends on the person or the situation. Let’s just say that some obsessions can grow like weeds. Although at the root they are just plants like any other, they are seen negatively because of their actions. They can take control, spread themselves over large areas, and make their presence known. If they are not taken care of, these weeds can cause a great deal of destruction. These weed-like obsessions are the ones that give obsessions a bad name in the first place. They can take over thoughts. They can create unhealthy fantasies. They can take over a person’s life. Thankfully, I haven’t yet acquired any of these weed-like obsessions, or at least I don’t think so. Of course one of the problems with these obsessions is that they can go unnoticed for quite a long time until one feels the effects completely, or until something happens that changes one’s perspective. The other type of obsession, I think, is a more natural part of the garden. We have to cling to certain things to feel like a part of something. We have to have roots. Otherwise we’re just wandering strangers to others and ourselves. We have to have these little quirks so that others can identify us. Otherwise, who would we be? Who would I be? I don’t think I can answer that question and neither can you probably. In this context, everybody is obsessed with something. Everybody has a passion for something whether material or otherwise. That’s what makes the garden grow, and gives life. Of course, along with obsession comes the opposite extreme of detached indifference. Again this can go two ways. A weed-like indifference can lead to a kind of walking death. This is a person so neutral that they are almost non-existent. I hope you can see the problems with this state of mind. It’s like a mind-numbing frost that kills all the plants and flowers. But then again, there’s the other kind of indifference, the easygoing kind. It’s that ability to not get so caught up in obsessions that you can’t change your mind and can’t explore new possibilities. Just like the second form of obsession I think this is also a natural part of the garden as well as a necessary part. While obsessions give us the background and enthusiasm for our actions, this type of indifference keeps us in check and keeps those weeds from taking over. It creates the variety that can make gardens so beautiful in their perfect blending of diverse life. Sometimes our obsessions reach a level where we just get stuck, where it’s not fun anymore. That’s when you have to step back for a bit and become indifferent to it. You have to find something new or maybe in the process of not thinking about it you’ll just find a new way of seeing things. Then you’ll be the naturally happy and obsessed person you were before, and your garden will be well-kept.