On Obsession

I’ve never been shy about my obsessive personality. I, of course, am obsessed with being obsessed. I find it so fulfilling to be so in love with something, so invested in something, so meticulously interested in something that you obsess.

Almost everything I fall in love with, I obsess over, at some level. Friends may be the only TV show I think of as a formative part of my growing up, but it’s certainly not the only show I know inside and out (hi, Gilmore Girls, The Mindy Project, Parks and Recreation, etc. etc.). Every sweet animal video may not feature a panda bear, a golden-retriever, or a big cat from the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation, but I’ll still geek out over any happy elephant video. I mean, literally no one compares even remotely to Beyoncé, but I’ll still listen to 1989 over and over until it’s memorized.

There’s some special sort of magic that happens when you’re obsessed with something.

As I’m sure you already know, because I broadcast my obsessions far and wide, I’m currently a crazy person about Hamilton. Yeah, just like everyone else. It has been such a true joy to fall so in love with something that lends itself so well to obsession.

First, comes the realization that everyone is not full of shit when they go on and on about how great Hamilton is. This happens when you make your way through a first full listen of the soundtrack. Second, it becomes your go-to listening material. I listen to Hamilton, um, all the time, but at least every time I run/cook/walk somewhere. Next, you go insane trying to get tickets. While waiting, you being to search the Internet for any glimpse of the musical you can find- any new tidbit or interview. When you finally see it, all hope is lost- you’re gone. This obsession is never-ending. Now you’re at the stage where you’re reading the original biography that inspired it in the first place. You talk about it all the time. Your poor fiancé has heard you try to rap “Guns and Ships” 20 times. Your friends think maybe it’s time you calmed down a little

But oh, it’s so great to be obsessed. I love this thing SO much that I’m reading this huge 800-page NON-FICTION book about a founding father and I’m excited about it! There is nothing more unlike me, traditionally only really into novels and memoirs and possessing an embarrassingly lacking ability to look at someone like a founding father and see how it can relate to me now, how it can inspire me now.

When I fall in love with something new, I feel so lucky. Some genius I’ll never know has created something for me to enjoy, for me to be inspired by, for me to find comfort and joy and recognition and hope in. How lucky am I? Are we?

My favorite part of being obsessed with something is how often your friends point you towards things you care about.

I don’t think I ever go a week without someone sharing something with me because they know I love it. So many people still send me things with panda bears because they know panda bears are my favorite animal. There was a whole Hamilton category on Jeopardy the other day and how did I find out about it? A fellow Hamilfan (okay, I didn’t make this up- a twitter account of the name just followed me, oh GOD) let me know. And best of all, I got to see The Mindy Project at Paley Fest and even crash a little cocktail party with the cast and writers all because a good friend knew I loved it.

But I also love that no matter how obsessed I become with something, I’ve got nothing on some of those super-fans. Like, sure I may have a Hamilton poster, a Hamilton t-shirt that I’ve worn three times in the last week (I did laundry in between, all right?), a Hamilton cup, and a Hamilton lapel pin that is always affixed to my coat, but have you seen some of the other people on the internet? I follow a few Hamilton fan pages (oh god, we’re going deep into my stalking tendencies), but I’m not the one making them. Sure, I’ve entered the lottery multiple times, but there was someone once while I was there who’d entered 40 times! Yeah, I visited Hamilton’s grave, but…oh wait, this was kind of crazily dorky.

So of course I don’t think I love Hamilton more than you love Hamilton or that my willingness to dive right in as far as feels marginally sane to me lessens the impact Hamilton has on your life. My bragging about my obsession is not to dampen yours. I’m just saying that I love being in love with it.

It’s pretty magical to think of some ordinary human creating something that some number of people will become obsessed with. Every time you create, you open yourself up to everything awful about people, but you also take a chance that your work might become someone’s obsession.

How cool to have so many people trying to create this fire inside of us- what a noble goal. As Eliza Schuyler might say, “how lucky are we to be alive right now?”

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