Here's a realization for you:
I'm obsessive. Not in the mentally ill way of having to check the lock 8 times before being convinced it's actually locked (though I realize this is a real thing and I'm not making fun). No, I'm obsessive in that, if I'm excited about something, I'm REALLY excited about something. Though this sounds benign it is actually really powerful, and, as Spider-Man movies have taught us, power can be used in both a positive or negative way.
An embarrassing example:
When I lived in DC and worked for a congressman, I was miserable. I didn't have either the skills or maturity to do all parts of my job adequately, and as a result, didn't enjoy work. Though I was really spectacular at some parts (constituent services and interaction being my favorite), my inadequacies and failures played a much larger part in my emotional space. So when my landlord told me she REALLY appreciated the way I had designed my (utterly adorable) underground studio apartment I was flattered, and shortly, obsessed. On the weekends I would go to the Marrin Luther King city library 5 blocks away and shuffled through their small collection of design books. It was here that I read decades old tomes on design and learned the basics of color theory. With the continual encouragement (and contacts) of my landlord managed to get me a letter that gained me admission to the Washington Design Center. It was here that I feel in love with the feel of dupioni silk and marveled at the luxury that a yard of toile and a skilled hand could produce. It was here that my interest in becoming a designer morphed into an obsession, and soon it was the only thing on which I could focus.
Instead of focusing on my strengths (figuring out how I could best put my people skills to use) or working on my shortcomings (wow, what a benefit a short course on organization would have taught me), I quit my job to become a part time floral designer. When I realized this wasn't sustainable (approximately a week and a half later), I immediately started looking at interior design schools. It readily became apparent that going "back home" to Arkansas was my best bet financially. This choice also had the benfit of not bringing me to my actual home, as it was located 5 hours north of the people who would whisper behind my back at the grocery store. "She couldn't hack it in the big city and had to run back home," I knew they would say.
The story up to this point isn't great. I didn't face my problems where I was and I gave up on a long time dream (living outside of rural arkansas) in a really short amount of time. However, the truly embarrassing part of the story is this: Throughout my obsession I was so fueled with emotion (both the joy of a potential success and fear of the failure I was running from) that research fell by the wayside. I didn't truly know what interior design school was and, when, on the first day of class, my professor said that this degree was misnamed and instead it should be considered "interior architecture" my dreams, the creations of my ever rolling obsession, were shattered. Where was the fine oriental silk and mixture of nubby tweed and crisp Egyptian cotton in all this talk of angles and struture and support?
Through time, I have learned to ignore the commotion of my obsessions. It's still there: the heady rush of positivity and the feeling of being "absolutely sure". However, now I know to let it run it's course without acting upon anything. (In fact, my latest challenge is not showing those initial feelings in public. Apparently I'm very convincing under the rush of obsession.) I'm still a very emotional person, however, I've begun to balance it with some hard logic.
Am I doing this because of flattery? Prestige? Do I consider this a "magic bullet" solution? (If so I try to back away as slowly as possible.)
Does this opportunity best play to my strengths? Does this get me closer to where I want to be in life? Where exactly do I want to be and how does this fit into that overall life map? Because, while I am a big propent of growth, I have learned that changing life's course for the sake of an emotional obsession is, more times than not, a bad decision.
Do you relate? Let me know via Twitter at @paige_meredith.