Obsession Reprise: The Dialectic of Desire


A few years ago I posted an entry on “overcoming obsession: outgrowing infatuation with straight peers” and it received a warm reception. As some of the commentators noted, this piece was written from the heart from first-hand experience. I enjoyed writing it because it was, in many ways, a soothing experience after the maelstrom of unrequited, non-returned interpersonal affection. However, nothing in this world lasts and lately I have found that this peace and tranquility has been shattered by a new obsession.

Much in the same manner previously, what shattered this peace was a boy. An asexual boy (a fun divergence from heterosexual), as I would later discover. First meeting as freshmen during our university’s summer bonding event, it was one of those ‘at first sight’ affairs; one of those moments where you can just tell from their looks, how they conduct their selves, and the information you have on them, that if only given the chance, you could make them happy. Speculation aside, I followed my instinct into the rabbit hole, wishing the best.

By now, you are likely guessing that the rabbit hole ended in a snake-pit of some kind; you would be correct: relations between the boy and I… ended poorly. I do not wish to bore you with the intimate details, especially since I find them too personal to share online with you kind strangers, but suffice it to say, I discovered parts of myself which I did not previously know existed and these parts caused some havoc on our friendship. I admit I did wrong, I maintain that he did wrong likewise; now we are suspended in a field in which we have mutually rejected one-another, and yet, tension exists between the two of us, tension which I do not know how will play out, tension which as much as I wished it dispelled, also want it resolved… perhaps a futile desire.

And yet, I am still stricken by the idea of this boy and confused on how I want this tension resolved. I feel that on some level that it is irresolvable, that I can do nothing, and that he must be the one to initiate contact (since I feel I squandered my ability to maintain healthy communication; for more on this aspect, and how I self-learned to communicate more effectively, see here); yet I feel he will not do that, though he sometimes glares at me should we notice each other on campus. I am confused. But should he send an email, what would I say, assuming it requires a response? How do I want things to end between us? Is anything possible? It seems like a shame to leave things as they are and let disease fester or scars fade until but a shadow of a remainder is left. Some things are funny that way… some things cannot be resolved while others you cannot force. What needs to happen will happen regardless of hope or desire, wish or ability; it is part of the void which is our existence.

But, what did I expect? This is a serious question. What did I expect would happen, that we would become partners and ride away into the sunset? That is what I hoped would happen, but it wasn’t what I was expecting; no, I was expecting friendship, and yet, why? That is ephemeral; even had we become close buddies, what could happen with graduation looming? One must remember that university is not like the propaganda videos… those ‘life-long’ friendships the cronies yap on about exist for but a tiny minority. So the question is—how long would we remain in contact post-graduation, should we have been friends throughout our time attending? A year, two… five? Sooner or later we would drift out of communication, as inevitably happens with people you never physically meet. So, in a sense, would this not have been more painful to lose a genuine friend to time, then overcome the generalized Angst resplendent from missteps? It seems likely. Though still, it never feels like so at the time, with the wounds still fresh. I have to learn, however, learn that this is a facet of my life and it is not going to go away. I need to master my own inadequacies and remember that life is rarely as intense as it appears.

In a way I feel burned. Though I do not know if it is connected to the ordeal I struggled through in regards to this boy, there was a point last year that I simply lost the desire to find a partner; this desire (mostly) continues to this day. Something in me simply snapped; I would see the various Breeders holding hands and ruminate on romantic entanglements and find myself musing, “Why would I want that? That which interferes with my studies and complicates my future? Why would I want to risk becoming side-tracked on a possibly futile romance?” Was this me being a realist, an attitude born from my failure to secure what I had hoped to be a viable partner? Maybe. Maybe not. I simply do not know. But I do know that I still feel little, if any, desire to find a partner at my current stage of life.

Nonetheless, this is a part of life. It is a part of my life. It comes in waves; I resolved the previous wave only to be confronted by a new one in a different form, one which demands different tactics and more nuanced navigation. The best we can do is learn from each wave. Study the past to learn the future; analyze our mistakes so as to not make the same ones again; compose and conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our station as a human while understanding that language will only ever represent us, our desire as well as our personage, to an uncomfortable degree. For people like us, Queer people and youth especially, bouts of obsession act as a fulcrum to our everyday lives—it latches onto the event horizon of a possible future and sees potential held within; what we see in these special people is our life, that other who shares our otherness and assuages the demons within that feed on the struggle to acclimate to a heteronormative world. The sad truth, though, as you know, is that this other only occasionally responds with gusto, and rarely in the manner had we hoped. So the trick is to learn to overcome, to watch our behavior and modulate our feelings, becoming, in a way, affect scientists, in order to meek out a living in a cold, violent world, occasionally blessed by those walking refrains which catch our eye.

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