I desperately miss teenage obsession. There is something so exhilarating and precious about our deepest infatuations from when we were young teenagers. I can still taste the summer when I was 13 and read “The Catcher in the Rye” for the first time. Then I read it again and again and again. Holden Caulfield mesmerized me, and his musings allowed me a peek into the inner workings of the atrocious middle and high school boys I would go on to date. I read “The Catcher in the Rye” every day for two weeks. And then I read it more sporadically over the course of the rest of the summer. Six years later, I still have the entirety of the first page memorized. I spent the rest of that summer consuming as much Salinger as I possibly could — I read every short story he ever wrote. I became intimately familiar with the Glass family. I saw the reflections of his PTSD and misery in his characters. I read his work so much that it felt like I knew him personally. I was obsessed.
Since that first summer of my teenagehood, I have read books that I like much more than “The Catcher in the Rye.” I have read books that made me cry so much I stained the pages with my tears, ones that addressed some of my worst traumas and made me feel so much less alone. I have read books with characters that I liked, who felt like my friends (as opposed to Holden Caulfield, who I could tolerate only because I was in his head). Yet, I have never become obsessed in the same way with a book ever since.
When you begin adolescence, you have so much time, and every new thought seems like a gargantuan revelation. These factors combined allow you to love with your whole being. Any piece of media that makes you feel anything becomes something you cling on to. For me, “The Catcher in the Rye” was not the obsession that was the strongest or lasted the longest. It was something much more embarrassing.
It was June 2016 when “Voltron: Legendary Defender” came out, an animated show on Netflix that follows the space adventures of the five paladins who pilot Voltron, a giant robot, made up of five smaller lion mechs — similar to Power Rangers. They team up with Princess Allura and defend the universe from the Galra Empire. The show was entertaining enough, but what caught my eye was the chemistry between the paladins, Lance and Keith. As soon as I finished watching the first season, all I could think about was Klance (their ship name).
Klance became my personality for the next year. I wrote dozens of one-shot fanfictions — thankfully, I published none of them. However, I did publish my singular multi-chapter fanfiction. It is currently still on AO3 under my real name and very incomplete. When I wasn’t writing Klance fanfiction, I was reading Klance fanfiction. I would read it from the moment I got on the bus after school until 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. Sometimes, I would be so exhausted from a long night of fanfiction reading that I’d ask my parents to call the school telling them I’m sick. And then, instead of going back to sleep, I would read more Klance fanfiction. I created a Tumblr blog dedicated to Klance and all the other gay space couples I was obsessed with (spacegaysalltheway.tumblr.com). I drew copious amounts of fanart. I am very glad my artist’s insecurities kept me from posting them. I dedicated my life to Klance. I basically worshipped Klance.
In retrospect, all of that feels very, very embarrassing. But I also find myself very nostalgic for that time in my life. I cannot remember the last time I liked something so much to dedicate myself wholly to enjoying it. I love when people really, really care about things. I love when they ramble and get lost in their fantasies. I miss when I was the one to really, really care about something.
Now, I watch or read something and then move on to the next. I consume but I don’t let myself truly indulge . I want to be obsessed again. In a society that promotes rapid consumption, I think it is very important to slow down and relish in our hearts’ desires. I think it is important for us to sometimes revert back to being 13 or 14 years old and enjoying something so much that it consumes us.