Hi, my name is R.J. and I have a Lord of the Rings obsession.
And I’m not just talking LotR, it spans to the Hobbit as well. I am counting down the days until December 17th and, even though I have already bought the tickets and assigned seating in the theatre, I KNOW that there will be a line and I will be twitching all the way through diner with friends because I WANT TO BE IN THE THEATRE NOW.
My poor mother. Her poor friends that are joining us for dinner and the movie.
They have no idea.
I have asked for the One Ring for Christmas, as well as a guide to Sindarin so I can learn how to properly speak Elvish. My friends have been told that any guy who wants to marry me better damn well do it with an Elvish ring.
Do I have a problem?
No. I don’t.
Maybe to the rest of the world I do, but to me, being ‘obsessed’ with LotR or Alice in Wonderland, or Prince of Persia (the game, not the movie) is as natural as breathing. There are very few things in this world I can lose myself in. Middle Earth, Wonderland, and Babylon (it is Babylon don’t you argue with me) are three of them. The TARDIS is there, but I’m not including it right now because Steven Moffat is an asshat and I haven’t gotten the courage to wade through the last six episodes in the series.
I just can’t.
Escapism, the mental act of disappearing into another place has been with me ever since I was a kid getting made fun of at school. It’s not that I don’t like the real world, but the real world is….well, it’s real. Things like elves and dragons and such aren’t in our world, they’re in another place in another time and frankly, I like reading about them more than I like CNN or Fox news.
Being obsessed about them, wanting to re-visit the place again and again, or to learn the language, or obtaining pieces of that world isn’t wrong either. It’s fun. It’s the same mentality that Disney had when he introduced merchandising to the world when Snow White came onto the big screen. It’s a way to go BACK to that place, to bring it into our reality for just a bit and to escape.
And it’s so hard to find people who understand that.
The world we live in is full of people who like to shame others for not being like them. Fat shaming, skinny shaming, fit shaming (which is a thing, apparently) are all part and parcel in our world. People like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber are actual, real people in this world and we pay attention to them. God knows why, but there it is.
I don’t think it’s just the world, though. It’s the people. Frodo, Katniss, Bilbo, Alice and all of the others that we ‘obsess’ about are heroes in their own right. They transcend reality and become the archetypes of people that we want to be of situations that we want to find ourselves in. Who doesn’t want to go head to head with a dragon? to outsmart the Queen of Hearts? to be a beacon of hope in a revolution.
The problem with normal life is that, even though we’re the heroes of our own stories, our problems are not always external. Our own lives, our own trials are internal and intrinsic to ourselves. We don’t have the One Ring and Sauron to fight against and, though our government is seriously fucked up; there are no Hunger Games with which to start a revolution. No aliens are coming to kill us all, we don’t have the kaiju threat hanging over us. This fantasy, these stories that are told are all pretend. We made them up to put our problems into context just as we have for ages. And some stories, the most special ones, stay with us forever and strike just the right cord that we want to keep going back to them. Even though we know the story, we KNOW everything; who says what and when and what happens next, we keep going because the story isn’t about Frodo or Bilbo anymore, the story is about us. WE are the ring bearer, WE are Katniss Everdeen, WE are Keiji and the Full Metal Bitch, WE are the ones making the world right again.
And, honestly? That’s perfectly fine.
The best part is when you find friends who know, who understand your obsession and are okay with you being gone for days at a time because your fantasy world needs saving and you’re the only one who can do it.
Fantasy fills the gap in our hearts reality leaves behind.
So go forth! Find that thing that makes you happy, that slice of unreality that makes reality absolutely bearable and be obsessed about it!
Gather to you those people who know way too much about that one thing and hold them tightly to you. That one friend who points out the mistakes, that doesn’t like Peter Jackson’s adaptations, that Sheldon of the group? He might just be the person that can help you through that one level of your favourite game, or who can teach you something about that one thing you might have otherwise gone without.
Nerds are what make the world go ’round, my friend. Hold them close to you and never let your nerdy friends go, for the world is large and filled with judgmental assholes.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to watching The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies trailers and counting down the days.