Obsessions Bite.

May 26, 2011

Okay, so here is what’s been going on. Here is what I’ve been thinking about every time I look like I’m listening for the past year. Here is what’s been distracting me from writing during my free time. Here is that comment or anecdote ready to burst from my anxious lips; from my hot, erupting brain. The thing that I’ve been visibly holding back in conversation so much of the time. Here is the thing I find it hardest to admit about myself.

**And I feel the need to put forth such a sensitive, revealing exposure of self as a penitent offering for not writing for so many months. Bless you, both of you, who read this. You shall now be rewarded with a large nugget of scandalous truth.**

Here it is. I, myself—she who is too cool for school, too hip for yo’ lip, too fab to…um…grab (and of course, I quote only myself here)—I am a mostly closeted Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanatic. FANATIC. Like, it’s fallen off into complete pathology.

I say “mostly closeted” because, while I will tell people I enjoy the show and occasionally engage in a little light Buffy chatter with like-minded individuals, I do not generally divulge the degree to which I am involved with this show. Even my darling male companion—he who introduced me to the long-gone television drama—only knows snippets of the reality of my sickness. He has grasped the stalactites and stalagmites of my geekdom where this is concerned, but he’s never seen inside the whole big, scary cave.

*waves from inside the cave*  Hi baby. Don’t judge me, mkay?   *vampire bats fly about over my head*

How did this happen, you may ask? Fair question, fair question.

So, I have resisted watching the show for years. As an awkward-appearance, slightly weird, and overly theatrical teen girl existing outside the skinny popular girl social orbit, when the show originally aired, I never felt drawn to the momentary glimpses I had had of the show’s protagonist. Sarah Michelle Gellar—a beautiful, tiny, perky teen girl (who at least starts out as a cheerleader). A cheerleader. No, please. Cheerleaders have always given me the wig. (Yeah, I see you, other Buffy fans who just enjoyed my use of the word “wig” here.)

You see, without having seen the show, I knew this archetypal girl at school, and…well…to put it delicately, she seemed to me a vile, heinous, Satan-incarnate bitch. And at 14, I was far too busy watching Dawson’s Creek to bother with a show that had the outright over-the-top special effects you see in the first few seasons of Buffy. I mean, come on. The Master looks like they put Mr. Bigglesworth’s head on Dr. Evil’s body.

So I never watched it.

Years later (about a year and three months ago, to be exact), I suddenly find myself as an adult (kind of), mostly living with my darling male companion, and this puts us both in the position of having shared programming for entertainment in the evenings. And hey—he just so happens to have all seven seasons of Buffy on DVD. He asked me if I would watch the first season with him, see if I could get into it (since he had seen the series once before and enjoyed it). And since the dear man had sat through every movie from my collection I could think to inflict upon him, I gladly obliged.

Well, gladly is the wrong word. Truthfully, I just thought it would be sort of unsupportive if I didn’t give it a good old try.

So, over the next few weeks, we watched the first season. Thankfully it is short, because the first season is not exactly the series’ finest work. This, of course, will be up for dispute among other Buffy fans, but I stand by it. The monsters in season one can be silly, the drama can be overplayed, and the special effects are old enough now to be more adorable than scary. However, as Joss Whedon is widely regarded for his winning dialogue, it was at least amusing, and I did really begin a love affair with the primary characters. So we moved on to season two.

Month after month, I watched diligently as Buffy, a character I grew to admire immensely for her integrity and general adorableness; Willow, who had my favorite ‘isms of the entire run; Xander, who I would so have dated in high school; and Giles, who I would so have dated right now (actually, Tara too); went on to defeat the Big Bad in story arch after story arch. Some plot lines were regrettable (*coughTheInitiativecough*), some were really compelling, and some ended up being sort of terrifying. That last season was dark, man.

It took us from February until about October to be finished with all seven seasons, during which I—no joke—became preoccupied enough to start subconsciously scanning a room for wooden pointy things the moment I walked in. That, gentle reader, was the beginning.

Two days after we witnessed the end of this show, to which I had devoted the at-home evenings of my every week, I found myself waking up in cold sweats, walking around with the shakes, hallucinating about vampire babies crawling on my ceiling and rotating their heads to look at me, experiencing unyielding hellmouthless restlessness, anxiety, and depression. General malaise. The Buffy and Angel love theme haunted my dreams. I listened to the Once More with Feeling soundtrack several times for a little bump, but it only barely took the edge off. I found myself feeling isolated and alone without my friends. Not, like, my actual friends. But without Tara and Willow. And Giles. And Oz. And Spike. It was full-blown withdrawal, and I was fairly certain it might injure me to stay that way too long.

And then it hit me like a stake to the heart. Oh my god. I had become a total and complete Buffy nerd; I mean absolutely to the core.

So, in order to alleviate my pain, and now that I had identified what I was, I made the decision to begin the show all over again. All the way back to the beginning. I work at a desk job where I can listen to things on my headphones, so I just started streaming it (intravenously) through my Netflix while I worked. I did this mostly in secret. I had literally just watched the entire series, so I was able to merely listen to it and watch what was going on in my memory with crystal clarity. And oh god, was that a relief. The world was back to normal. Joyce was still mothering. Tara was alive and waiting to be discovered. Giles was still a father figure. Angel’s neck wasn’t all thick and obnoxious. I could watch Faith get stabbed again (she annoyed the crap out of me). For that matter, the Mayor wasn’t a blown-up snake yet. (I love him beyond reason.) All was right.

Until I ran through the entire series again. Second time. This time I got through it in three months. Three months, back-to-back episodes. What a high. So, upon finishing season seven, I experienced the same problem. Sweats. Cravings. The fervent desire to see someone turn to dust after a well-timed pun or quip. But I knew what to do this time.

Season one, episode one—we meet again. I went through the entire series a third time. Three times through the entire series within a matter of a year and a few months and  change. I started noticing crazy, little things I might never have noticed. For instance, nearly all the monsters—if you listen to just the audio—are voiced by the Tasmanian Devil, as far as I can tell. Really. Listen to it. I found plot points I had never noticed before. In fact, I unearthed plot hole after plot hole. I know things no socially functional person should ever really know.

And just this Monday was the day I finished run number three.

Now. I sit here, on my computer, staring at the Netflix page I keep open and waiting on my far left tab. How many days will I wait? How many days will I pretend I’m done?

By the time you read this, dear reader, I wager I am already knee-deep in early high school vampire slayer angst.

It’s far too late for me.

Save

“The drug of the day.”

I will be upfront and say that which is no surprise to anyone who spends time with me: I have an overactive mind and a really wild and hairy imagination. It’s true. And while encouraging parents will want to applaud this in you as a child, telling you it’s a gift, that you’re creative, that you’re special, I find that the only benefit I tend to get out of it is the ability to stare at a wall or out a window for hours on end without ever getting bored or running out of things to think about and elaborate on. (And yes, Anal Retentive Annie, I realize I ended both those phrases with prepositions. It sounded funny the other way.) On the other hand, I find it hard to shut up. Or to shut it down. And the mean reds tend to come all at once and out of nowhere, and can spend plenty of time turning my imagination into a nightmarish playground. It’s cute. Really.

This has led me to ongoing past attempts to either find things to shut all the over-activity up or to ride it like a wave. Alcohol was a steady fallback, for sure, for a grand old 6 years or so. Barbiturates, cigarettes, holy Christ—caffeine in amounts that made my ears ring, and some glittering, sparkling other things I’ve tried that swirled around in my head, attempting to fix it, stall it, or calm it down.

After years of desperately seeking a new drug of sorts—something that revs me up when I want revving up and calms me down when I want to rest, I have abandoned my former remedies nearly altogether (with the exception of a can of pop here, a glass of wine there). They usually never achieved the desired effect, as they all have undesired consequences. Alcohol—hangover; pills—grogginess and necessity of prescription; caffeine—crash. I tried other things too—walking five miles home from work in the evenings, electrolytes, cleansing fasts, altering my meal habits, etc. All were “eh.”

I seem to have recently discovered my new drug. The one I take which wakes me up, puts me in a phenomenal mood all day long, knocks me out at a reasonable hour, gives me tremendous energy, costs no calories, has no negative after-consequence, and doesn’t make me binge on sugar. And that is working out in the morning. Why it makes a difference to work out in the morning, I’m not sure. Some metabolism thing? Dunno. All I know is that working out in the afternoon or evening is….just working out in the afternoon or evening. Working out in the morning is the freaking answer to what we’re doing on Earth or something. Because, just, wow.

How have I never discovered it? I used to think those people who work out in the morning are total wack jobs. Truly sick individuals who must have nothing better to do. But really. Rather than doing it at the end of the day when I’m ridiculously tired, I do it before work. And I LOVE it. It’s like some mystical force I can’t explain. You know how the perfect cocktail just hits all the right places as it goes down? This is that cocktail.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a pain in the ass. But I love that the energy lasts all day; I love that I can sleep at night; I love the positive framework into which everything seems to fit afterward. Fuck. What have I been doing with my mornings prior? Sleeping? Ahahahaha!


And I’m not one of those obnoxious individuals who will walk around in track clothes or talk freakishly wide-eyed to other people about the gym or my workout habits. Really, it’s not an interesting subject, and I probably won’t mention it much to anyone at all outside of this post unless asked. It’s just that it occurred to me today that I should be in a really shitty mood.

I should. People have days; this one is not mine. But I worked out this morning. Sounds stupid, but I swear to god. The sun is still shining.

For instance, my thumb is killing me. Two days ago, I very nearly snipped the entire middle of the face of my thumb off while attempting to open a bottle of wine. …don’t ask. My thumb freaking hurts! But, like all I can think about with regards to it is “Eh. The pain isn’t that bad.” Or thinking about how after wounding myself and laying face-down on the ground for minutes with my thumb held up in the air (like a child) for my darling male companion to fix it, he then put a black pirate Band-Aid on it and we spent an enjoyable part of the evening fighting with his pirate Lego set afterward, since my thumb bandage had been inspiring me to yell “Yaarrrr!” and “Avast!” (and if you think it’s easy defending yourself with a tiny Lego sword and pistol when part of your thumb wants to separate itself from the rest of your thumb, you have another think coming). And that makes me smile. So. Intense thumb pain—fun with pirates. You see, I worked out this morning. Everything’s peaches.

Another example. I realized I hadn’t brought my lunch today and all I have at my desk is an old can of condensed soup. Also, I’ve been cold all morning. My reaction? “Hurray! I love when we have soup weather.” Then I opened a bag of crackers at lunch which proceeded to spill Saltine guts all over my desk and pants, and I laughed. In fact, I think I even had the nerve to give it one of those isn’t-that-cute smiles. Bills to pay—no worries. It’s all wonderful. Collection agent called. Have a lovely day! Rolled my ankle a little walking here from the gym–well, thankfully it wasn’t worse than that! Yeah. I worked out this morning.

This sort of optimism is really pretty out of character for me. Also, I’m relaxed, focused, and energetic. Rock my f’ing socks. So yeah, I’m going to attempt to keep trying for the morning. If you happen to see me in a pissy mood, remind me, yeah? Good stuff, people. Good stuff.