What was the deal with my obsessive childhood interests?
August 25, 2013 6:06 PM Subscribe
I was a raging fan of several different media properties as a kid. I'd like to read or learn more about individuals who are likewise obsessed.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi to Human Relations (34 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
When I was a kid--from the time I was about six or so, until my late teens--I would often get obsessively into something for anywhere between a few weeks through a few years. Usually, this would be a television show (The Super Mario Bros. Super Show was the first one--later, Space Cases, Alien Nation, and ALL THE STAR TREKS), but sometimes it was a band (the Beatles, for all of sixth grade), book series, or period of history (the Renaissance, after visiting my local RenFest). I would think endlessly about this subject, draw dozens of pieces of fan art, write stories, act out narratives with my toys, and consume huge numbers of library books on the subject.
This was viewed as largely negative within my family; my parents often commented that I was "obsessed," and to be fair, as a child, I was happy talking endlessly about the subject or reading or creating art solely about that and rather less into, say, whatever was going on in school. Some of these subjects had a quasi-romantic component--I thought a male character or person featured was cute--but not all of them. I struggled a bit with anxiety later in high school and was dealing with some tumult at home (death of a parent) from age 8 onward, but never engaged in classic obsessive-compulsive behaviors. I'm not entirely sure the behavior was even abnormal, although the scope and age of these interests seemed distinct from the band crushes of other middle school girls. I once spent several months drawing Andy Kaufman paper dolls and trying to teach myself to speak like Latka from Taxi.
I'm pretty zen about this now--it doesn't upset me, and I seem to have channeled all that research energy into a successful creative career--but I'm curious whether these behaviors were particularly abnormal, and where I can read more about all-consuming childhood interests. Googling hasn't been particularly fruitful--there's quite a bit of parents worrying about children genuinely obsessively counting, or very young children being hung up on dinosaurs or vacuum cleaners, but not much that has resonated with my experiences.