Monday, November 17, 2008

Obsessions

I know I've written many posts and linked many videos about Twilight. But this a honest to goodness thoughtful and serious one.

This Saturday some of the cast visited Much Music for an hour long 'Twilight Special'. Being the devoted fan that I am, I tuned in. I have watched a few short videos of the casts public appearances. It's amusing at first, all the screaming, but it gets old fast. Which is why I've only ever watched the short videos. But this live appearance at Much was basically an hour long scream fest. It was, frankly, a bit much. I started feeling like a bit of a knob for watching it. Actually, I started feeling uncomfortable.

Here are these poor, drenched, freezing kids, who'd stood outside (some for TWO DAYS!) waiting for their chance to see the stars of this movie. Although it likely won't be followed up on I have absolutely no doubt that many of these kids will end up with pneumonia. They'll be sitting in the theater when the movie comes out, deathly ill, hacking their guts out, tears streaming down their faces because "OMG, it's just so beautiful!" (Right now being a fan kinda feels like getting caught playing Bratz dolls in your bedroom.)

It got me thinking about how I'd feel as a parent if my girls wanted to go and stand in the rain for two days to see something/someone they were obsessed with. Would I let them go? I want to say 'no way'. Peter says 'no way'. But the thing is I'm still young enough to be in touch with the 15 year old girl that I was. They girl who wore a gold band on my left ring finger and a single gold sleeper in my left ear so I could be like Robert Smith. Would I have stood in the rain for two days for the chance to meet him up close? Heck yeah. Would my mother have let me? I can safely say, no.

So how far is too far? At what point as a parent do you decide an 'interest' has become too intense? Can you do anything about it? I mean, obviously you can prevent them from spending two days in the rain and getting hypothermia but you can't control their thoughts. As I mentioned, I LOVED Robert Smith. I LOVED The Cure. Still do actually. Many times I sat in my room weeping over songs that I thought were so beautiful, so perfect. I had dozens of their posters plastered all over my wall. My obsession influenced my clothing, my jewelry, my hair color (not style ha ha!), my choice of alcohol. Did it hurt me? Well, I didn't go out on many dates but in the long term, no. I still love the band. I'm still a rather obsessive person (gasp! you're kidding!) but in a much more low key way. (yes, really.)

I don't think it's a bad thing to feel deeply about things. I do think that it's worth talking about. No one ever talked to me about why I felt so strongly about The Cure, or anything else I was crazy over. They just shook their heads, teased me or ignored it. I plan to do things differently. I'd like to know what my kids are passionate about and why. I'd like to have conversations with them about it. Perhaps sway them on things that I may not particularly be too happy about them loving. But I'll never be able to do that if I don't listen and really want to hear what they have to say.

So when the day comes that my girls are asking to do something outrageous because of their undying devotion to whatever I will seriously consider and weigh the pros and cons before laughing in their faces and saying "Absolutely not!"

5 comments:

bon said...

Ahhhh! Bless you! I agree 100% with this, that to know the "obsessions" of our children is a good chunk of knowing our children. Not that I will feed my childrens obsessions if I feel that it is going too far, or is unsafe... I'd like to hope that at least I am listening and talking and finding out why the obsession. Teenagers, even though they can sometimes seem a folk apart, they are still-forming humans.

I hear ya on wanting to distance yourself from the all out EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Screamfests of great Absurdity.

Dude... that kind of over the top devotion requires more ooompa that I have nowadays.

Jenn said...

I agree with you. I think it's normal to be crazy about certain things. I also think that as teenagers hormones can be over the top, so it is hard to accept that not all things can be done or be safe....

Jenn

jen k said...

oohhh..that's gonna be a hard one for me..
i'm just too damn over-protective...
but i guess it depends on the situation..i'm in no rush to deal.

elizasmom said...

I am so on board. I actually feel a little sad about people who have nothing they can rave on/geek out about. You gotta have a "thing".

It's an interesting question you pose though — how far would you let your kid go? I hope I know enough to let Eliza go as far as she needs to, to feel alive, and stop short of feeding something negative.

There was kind of an amusing story about the crazed fans in the New York Times the other day: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/movies/17twil.html?scp=1&sq=vampire%20of%20the%20mall&st=cse

beth - total mom haircut said...

This is a really interesting post. I actually was obsessed with Morrissey. (and before that it was Def Leppard:) I actually was allowed to go into the city to wait in line to have an album signed by him at Tower records when I was in high school. We cut school and waited in the rain all day long. And we didn't get in to see him. He left about half an hour before we reached the front of the line. Talk. About. Disappointment.

Huby sent me an email with a link to the Twilight Moms website asking if I thought you knew about it. I was like, Dawn knows everything about it. Anyway, it's here: http://www.twilightmoms.com/ but I know you're above that:)

Do you have your tickets yet? Are you going to the very first showing in your area? I have to figure out how to work it out to see it soon.

I've totally digressed. I really like this post. I think that obsession is sort of just part of adolescence. Kids are trying to figure out who they are and they latch on to people and groups who they feel they have an affinity with. Not that I've researched it, but after working with young teens for so long, I think it's just one of the easiest ways for them to work out what they stand for - it's like they're clinging to what they've figured out about themselves. As a parent, I just don't know how that will play out for me when they come to me and want to skip school to wait in line to see Morrissey in center city:)