Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obsessions Can Bring Interesting Things Into Your Life

I had a lot of Australia-related dreams last night, but I think I'm going to keep most of them to myself.  There's lots of stuff I'd feel obligated to cut out, and if I cut all that out.....it probably wouldn't make much sense.  It would be too heavily edited. 

I'll just give a brief summary and say the dreams involved me having an Australian boyfriend; someone being a fan of Thaao Penghlis; sex; pornographic comedy scenes; and something with Bindy McKenzie.  

Then there was also this dream:

I'm at Blue Ridge Camp in Georgia.   The last time I was there I was a counselor at the Cystic Fibrosis camp.  Now it's been turned into an Australia camp.  I walk towards the cafeteria, and get all nostalgic. I start to cry.

I've had lots of obsessions in my life.  Australia may be the biggest. Another big one was Cystic Fibrosis.  So I think that's what that dream was all about.

I think the dream was brought on by things people have said to me in email lately.

One was a deep thought shared by a very nice Australian man who has also been obsessed with a country before.   He said we shouldn't over-analyze our obsessions, and just enjoy them while they last.   I liked that advice, although I think it fed into my fear of being abandoned by my passion.  What if I stop loving Australia?   How would I fill in that empty space in my heart?  What the hell would I do with all these books I collected?   Do I have to start a new blog?  

The other email was pretty rude, but I think it was sent by a child....so it's okay.  I HOPE it was sent by a child. Otherwise....I don't know.

This person is another non-Australian who is madly in love with Australia. I was initially excited because it's nice to find others like you.  One of my favorite email-pals is a Norwegian girl who loves Australia.  And actually,  she's going to be IN Australia in a few days.  I'm HOPING she might write a guest post for me.    

Anyway though....I thought I'd have yet another lover-of-Australia friend, but it turns out I was wrong.  The new one ended our correspondence by saying SHE loves Australia, and I don't. I'm not in love with Australia, and this is a mistake.   

Yeah.  It WOULD be a huge mistake if I didn't love Australia.  I have spent a lot of time, money, and energy on this Australia thing.  That would be quite a bummer if it ended up  I don't love Australia.  

I'm not sure why this person assumed I don't love Australia.  My guess is she's perhaps overly possessive about her passion. Maybe she couldn't handle the idea of someone else loving Australia the way she does.  

Who knows......

 Then a few months ago, I had a brief email thing going on with someone who believed it was mentally unhealthy to be obsessed with a country.   She had overcome her own past obsession with a country, and I got the feeling she was encouraging me to do the same.  I tried reassuring her that I'm quite happy with my love for Australia, and that it has brought wonderful things into my life.  

So I think those three things led to the Australia/Cystic Fibrosis camp dream. Oh! And also....a friend and I recently talked about being obsessed with countries and other things.         

Yeah. Some of us get obsessed. Is it a bad thing?

I don't think so.  

If you become very passionate about things, you learn new things, you meet new friends, you're introduced to new ideas.  Basically, things come into your life that may not have come otherwise.    It feels like destiny.  It might BE destiny.

The dream I had has made me want to share my Cystic Fibrosis story.  I shared the story once in comments, but I don't think I've written an actual post about it.   If I have, and I'm being repetitive....please forgive me.   

I want to share it because I think it illustrates how an obsession (even if it's regarding a horrific disease) can be a beautiful thing.

So here you go.

It started when I was in seventh grade.  I was at a doctor's office and saw a magazine advertisement about the upcoming TV movie Alex: The Life of a Child.  The story interested me because it was about the death of a child.  I had recently had personal experience with that. Our neighbor (the first child I ever babysat) had died a few months back from an immunity disorder.  

So I watched the Alex movie when it was on television. I think the obsession seed was planted, but I tried to push it away. I tried to ignore it.

There was a girl at our school who kept coughing all the time.  That's a symptom of Cystic Fibrosis.   I became somewhat obsessed with her, wondering if she could have CF.  Yeah. I know. That's weird.

At some point, my friend Ann, from St. Louis, came to visit. This is where we had just moved from, and the place where our sick neighbor had lived.  You know what....I dreamed about Ann recently.

Anyway, Ann came and I remember the obsession trying to push through...despite my resistance.    We went to the bookstore and they had the book Alex the Life of a Child.  I wanted to buy it. I didn't want to buy it.  I bought it. Despite having an out of town guest, I spent a lot of time reading the book. And I remember trying to sneak Cystic Fibrosis into our conversations. 

Let me just say....Ann was a very tolerant and sweet friend. 

My obsession grew, and for the next few years I channeled it in various ways.

I did volunteer office work for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation. My sister and I held basement sales and bake sales to raise money.  We participated in official fundraising events. We became the annoying people who knock on your door.  We're trying to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis.  Can you please sponsor us?

I worked at the Cystic Fibrosis camp.

I carried the Alex book almost everywhere with me.  I even slept with it. I was VERY attached.    

I wrote a short story and play about Cystic Fibrosis.

My first novel was about Cystic Fibrosis, and I later wrote another novel about it.

Then we moved again. I tried staying involved with Cystic Fibrosis, but I missed the Atlanta Cystic Fibrosis community.  I felt disconnected to the Nashville one, and the whole Cystic Fibrosis passion slowly faded from my life.  

Then in my last year of college, I was playing around on American Online chat rooms.   I saw a room called CF.  I thought it MIGHT be about Cystic Fibrosis, so I went inside.   It ended up that it WAS about Cystic Fibrosis.   I chatted a bit, and then started rambling on about going to the Cystic Fibrosis camp; and I blabbed on and on about Jewish stuff.   Judaism was my passion then.   I think I talked about how moving to a new place messed up my obsession because I became attached to a certain community.  I was soon leaving college, and I worried about fitting in with a new Jewish community. I worried another passion would fade from my life.  

Basically, I think I dominated the conversation in the chat room with my self-centered blabbering. 

What I didn't know is that transcripts of the chat room were sent to all these CF families.  I ended up getting an email from this woman saying she had four sons who went to the camp, they're Jewish, AND one of her sons lives in NYC.  I had also rambled on and on about maybe going to school in NYC.

She gave me her sons' email addresses.   I didn't quite remember any of them, but I wrote to them anyway.  They didn't respond....at least not immediately.

Then one finally wrote back.  His name was Tim. He didn't have Cystic Fibrosis, but his three younger adopted brothers did.   

I loved his email. The guy had a great sense of humor.

I wrote back.

He wrote back.

We kept writing back and forth.

Tim helped me remember who he was, because my camp memories were a bit vague. What helped was when he revealed he was Asian. There weren't many Asians at the camp.  

I developed a little crush on my new email-pal.  And I loved that I could show him this side of myself.  At camp, I was extremely shy.  Now I was more outgoing, and I was especially outgoing via email.

We kept writing for a few months.  Then one night he called me.  He greatly disappointed me when he ended the conversation by saying he'd call me again in a few weeks.   I didn't want to wait that long! But he ended up calling me the next day again...or a the day after.  I was so happy.

My parents said we had a wedding to go to in New York.  This gave me an excuse to see Tim in real life.  I was so excited. Then the trip was canceled.   I decided to be extremely bold, and said I'd go off to see Tim anyway.   Tim was nice and didn't think I was some awful stalker person.   He later told me that he had no idea I had a crush on him.  He thought I just wanted a mini camp reunion thing. 
 
I went to New York.  I stayed at Tim's house.  I wondered if the feelings I felt were mutual. I worried that they weren't.  But Tim slowly let on that he might like me. That was nice.

To make a long romantic story short.....   

We started dating.  We got married.  We had a child.

Sometimes I look at Jack and think, I have you because of Alex.  I might not be obsessed with Cystic Fibrosis anymore, but I was left with some wonderful gifts. I gave my time, money, and energy to Cystic Fibrosis.  But I got SO much more back in return.  

Now I have Australia.  That hasn't brought me a husband or child, but it has brought me wonderful friendships.  Some of the friends are Australian, and some are not.  Sometimes it's just a matter of my love for Australia putting me in certain places (or blogs) and I end up meeting people. If I hadn't loved Australia, I probably wouldn't have gone to certain websites, and I probably wouldn't have met one of my best friends.  

Also.....

If I didn't love Australia, I might never have read books about Bindy Mackenzie and her classmates.   That would be a HUGE loss.