Obsessions

Being somewhat of a hermit, I’m aware that my social life is…restricted. This is mostly by choice, because people overwhelm me with their fascinating antics and if there are too many people in one place, I don’t know where to look and my brain shuts down.

It is only when talking to my friends (in small groups, on the phone or via my best friend, Skype) that I realise how much other people are also like this. And how it’s the eccentricities of life that make the world turn.

Take obsessions, for example. Everybody has at least one obsession, even if they don’t want to admit it. Mine are numerous, no doubt increased by the amount of time I spend on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love my own company, but I think your brain starts to latch on to things to create a commonality within itself after a while. Just as you might read a book your friend has recommended (I have yet to read ‘Get Out More and Stop Being So Weird’ , Hannah, just as an aside), which you would then discuss with each other, or see a film together, or go to the same party, whatever – I think the brain has a fantastic ability to create this within itself. Hence, obsessions become part of life – they are familiar, they are a subject you could talk to others about if placed in a suitable social situation, but more often than not (in my case, anyway) they are something for my own brain to occupy itself with when the other part of my brain is switched off into fiction-world. (I often have to leave stories brewing in the back of my head for a while before I can write them. They formulate by themselves, but I daren’t check they’re ready for consumption until at least at a simmering boil).

Aside from the obvious of writing, I have a few obsessions. Friends close to me will understand my love of Lord of the Rings stems from an unquestionable desire to be Aragorn, minus the being a man part. This fantasy of rough good-conquers-all heroism directly contradicts my hermit lifestyle – you never know, one day I might save someone’s life by wielding a sword at a goblin, but the likelihood of this ever happening decreases relatively with the amount of time spent away from other human beans.

Tomb Raider has been an obsession of mine since I managed to get TR3 for PC when I was about 12. I started playing it so much, I dreamt of being Lara. OK, I dreamt mostly of exploding Lara as I repeatedly got the ‘all weapons’ and ‘explode Lara’ cheats mixed up, but you get the idea. I haven’t touched the games in years, but on the 5th March nobody, but nobody, will see me for days as the newest installment is released. I like other games, with a soft spot in particular for Prince of Persia, but for some reason Tomb Raider captured my imagination. This is, probably, in no small part due to the fact I discovered Lara Croft around the same time I was discovering that I was a lesbian. In fact, I think it’s Lara’s fault. Damn you, fictional game character for ruining my chances at a ‘normal’ life…

Shoes are a funny obsession. I’m not a girly girl, really – well, I don’t wear makeup most of the time, but I like having my nails look presentable. I don’t own tons of clothes, but this is mostly because I’m a very odd size to fit. I hate shopping, but love that moment when you find a perfect pair of jeans. But shoes. Well, shoes are a special part of my life. I used to be very fat, with size 10 (UK) feet – nowhere really does women’s shoes that big so I mostly lived in men’s trainers. Then two wonderous things happened: firstly, the shoe industry realised women’s feet are getting larger, and in particular Evans really expanded their range to beautiful high heels, practical work shoes, flip flops, you name it. The second was that I lost a ton of weight and dropped a shoe size. Suddenly, the world of shoes opened up to me – more manufacturers were making size 9 shoes, and they fitted me! Lucky for me, though, there are still few and far between when looking at all high street shops (which mostly go up to an 8). This is good, because I would spend every penny I had on shoes I would probably never wear.

I do not understand this obsession.

My brain doesn’t even have a common thread of conversation with itself about shoes. If I overheard people talking about shoes in a coffee shop for more than a quick ‘Oh I like your shoes’ ‘Thanks, they were from Primark‘, I would move seats away from such inane chatter. But I find myself admiring shoes more than I like to admit.

Lucky for you people who are worrying that I’m turning into an actual girl, you should be assured that I obsess over my Dr Martens boots, Batman Converse and DC skate shoes. But still. My latest obsession – in fact, ones I’ve wanted since I was 14 and are probably related to my Tomb Raider obsession now I think about it – are in my possession.

These babies:

Boots

I feel like I ought to get over my hermit lifestyle and visit Egypt, raid a few ancient places, hop to Cambodia to spend time with monks and raid a few other ancient places.

Yep. It’s official. I’ve gone insane.

Other obsessions include:

  • Getting a dog (when I can afford and when I don’t live in a shoebox in a shared house with 9 other people)
  • Writing (obviously)
  • Films (both writing and watching)
  • The paranormal (this is a new one, watch this space)
  • Moving away from London
  • Writing (Honestly, it takes up so much of my headspace I need to put this twice).

That’s about it. That I’ll admit for now, anyway.

So, what are your obsessions? Please tell me I’m not alone…

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

At 25, I’m young to be on chemo, but I guess that’s just life. It can be tough, but there’s never a point in feeling sorry for yourself – at 25, I’m lucky enough that the rest of me is fit enough to cope with the treatment, unlike many I see on my regular hospital trips.

The most difficult bit, for me, is what comes after treatments. Right now, I’m neutrapenic – this is when, a few weeks after treatment, your immune system just goes ‘Nope’ and a minor sniffle can become a major chest infection. Then there’s the night sweats, the insomnia, nausea, etc.

But never fear. As I lie in bed, right next to an open window, in Britain, in January, to keep the temperature down, I have something to keep me company: Ghost Adventures.

I know, right?

So here’s the thing. I have a big confession to make: I believe in ghosts. Goodness me, that was harder than coming out. But it’s true, I believe.

I wasn’t always a believer, then something happened which my sceptical mind could not debunk in any way. Then more things happened, on an increasingly regular basis. I genuinely thought if I told anyone, I’d be locked in a loony bin. A friend, who is also a believer, told me to watch Ghost Adventures. And I’m addicted. As I watch, my inner sceptic tries to debunk it as an entertainment show. But the work of Zak, Nick and Aaron is less entertainment, and more proof that – if they aren’t real – I’m not the only crazy person.

So what’s the connection between chemo and Ghost Adventures? Well, I started watching when I was on treatment. Going through this kind of thing inevitably makes you question your mortality etc, and your faith. I’ve never been a church-goer, but freely admit to at least hoping for a deity, mainly because the idea of such gives me comfort through harder times.

Again, what about Ghost Adventures?

Well, knowing that maybe, somehow, there is something after, it makes me not scared. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t going nowhere for a loooonnngg time, but it’s good to know that there’s a possibility of something else.

Maybe that’s a selfish thing. Maybe the hope that I can stick around to haunt my friends and drive them nuts tell them they are loved is just a selfish idea that the world couldn’t get by without my consciousness in it. But then, I can be a pretty selfish person – as can everyone.

The more I watch, the more convinced I am. Conversations with the dead through spirit boxes may seem like paranormal guff, but it lends hope.

And above all of that, it makes me know that my experiences with shadows, feelings, goosebumps, even conversations are not (always) the result of insanity. Unless all of Ghost Adventures is faked. In which case, please inform the loony bin of my arrival.