Ever since I can remember, I’d get these mini obsessions. Not the creepy stalker kind of obsession. Just a hang-up. Mostly a topic that my brain just couldn’t get enough of.
Starting in primary school, I was obsessed with boys. ‘Boy crazy’ my mother called it. All I could think of was boys, boys, boys. Having a boy like me. Having a boyfriend. Getting married.
Luckily my innate shyness kept me from chasing boys. But I worshipped and longed for them from afar.
Looking back, I think I was simply bored. Cursed with a mind that races 24/7, my brain requires food and a lot of it. It needs something to race about. Boys fit the bill for many years. Boys were my first obsession.
Then I met Rhys. The obsession was satisfied but my mind continued to race. I needed a new source of mental food, a topic to grind on to keep the old grey matter occupied.
As a new wife, cleaning became my next obsession. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. But that wasn’t enough either. After all, I certainly didn’t want to end up like my Nan who spend her whole life talking about dust, complaining about dust, fighting dust until, in the end, she became dust herself. ‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust’.
So I rationed myself. I did a normal amount of cleaning each week but obsessed about cleaning even when I wasn’t physically doing it. How do you clean brickwork round the fireplace? I don’t know either. Hoovering seemed inadequate. It crumbled under my scrubbing brush. Yet I continued to obsess about possible pockets of filth, corners of dirt.
Now I realise this obsession had nothing to do with cleanliness iitself and everything to do with my need to keep this racing mind fed. The obsession doesn’t matter. The topic doesn’t matter as long as my mind has mental fodder, i.e. an obsession.
As I wrote in my last blog post, grooming went from being a daily necessity to being an obsession that cost me thousands of pounds and much unhappiness. Not realising I was already overgroomed, I aspired to greater heights of grooming, cleanliness, hair removal, makeup, hair, nails. Enough was never enough. The obsession was never satisfied. I never felt well groomed enough.
That’s when it occurred to me that this had nothing to do with hygiene or grooming but everything to do with my constant need to keep my brain fed.
The particular obsession doesn’t matter. What matters is providing grist for the brain mill. Hence my obsessions.
This new knowledge provided the perspective I so badly needed. A breath of fresh air. Suddenly, I could see my Obsession-of-the-Moment for what it was: brain food. The fever had broken.
I’m finally able to understand that I have an obsessive mind. That’s just how I’m wired.
With knowledge comes power. The power to live deliberately. To recognize obsessions for what they are, so they don’t rule my life.
I can’t change the mind I was given. But I sure can change my behaviours. My obsessions no longer control me. They are my servant, not my master.