infatuation noun. – origin 16C: from L. infatuat-, infatuare ‘make foolish’
“You have become an indentured servant to your own yearnings.” -Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert
Limerence is a term coined c. 1977 by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov, a neologism used to describe an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction for another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated. (Wikipedia)
Why is it that what we can’t have is so damn attractive? And then, if you’re anything like me, when you can’t have it, you work harder. I swear the minute I came out of the closet I automatically became 10 times more appealing to men (though, that may have been for a whole other set of reasons!)
A close guy friend of mine once confessed that he thought he was attracted to unavailable women mostly because of fear. It was easier, he admitted, to know that it couldn’t go anywhere from the start than to face all the buildup, rejection and/or messy follow through. Luckily this wasn’t a permanent fixation and he’s started seeing someone since then, but his sentiments certainly aren’t foreign to me.
My problem is: I’m obsessive about basically everything I’m passionate about. I do think it makes me a stronger artist because I’m constantly pushing myself to do more and to do better, but it can also be dangerous. When I become fixed on a project or piece or person, I get a little nuts. Just ask any one of my close friends if you don’t–God bless you if you don’t–believe me!
I think the real bugger here for me is instinct. For whatever reason, I have this hell of an instinct– also something my best of friends will vouch for me. While it’s a pain in the ass to be fixated on somthing you know isn’t “right” or will “pass,” it’s not so easy when you’ve got this unnameable gut feeling that you’ve got to power on despite rejection left and right. I guess this is why I’m a playwright. I could receive a rejection from every theater in the country (I’m at least half-way there) and keep pushing–and I will! A wise person once said, “If you don’t believe at the bottom of your heart that you’ll make it, you never will.” Oh, I know I will. It’s just a matter of time.
So I guess infatuation does “make foolish,” as the etymology suggests, but I think there’s also a sense of knowing behind it, don’t you? Whether we want to admit it or not, we usually know if something is just a crush or a trend versus something that we’ll be able to look back on and say, in the faithful words of my mother, “I told you so!” Call me a cock-eyed optimist (South Pacific, anyone?), but I like to think that where my life is concerned I’ll be able to say, “I told you so.” Don’t worry, I won’t be an asshole about it– I’ll say it quietly to myself.
One of my favorite mini-stories is one that a lovely woman I worked for told me about the love of her life, a man she was with for nearly thirty years who passed away several years ago. The two were friends for a very long time before they got together and he would always say to her, “You’re going to fall in love with me someday. You just don’t know it yet.” She said she would always laugh, brush it off or call him crazy. But he was right– she did fall in love with him. Hard. Arguably she’ll never love anyone else the way she loved him. Oh, to have that patience! It reminds me of one of my favorite passages from the I-Ching, “Waiting is not mere empty hoping, it has inner certainty of reaching the goal.”
I guess the question then is: what to do with all this pent-up eagerness? Well, my friends, I’ve got an idea! I was in two fairly incredible workshops with playwright Leslie Ayvasian this past spring and her writing exercises always involved some sort of prompt. At first she gave us lists of prompts, but then she had us come up with our own. Since those workshops, whenever I’m feeilng blocked creatively, I come up with a prompt and follow it. One of my favorites (call me a narcissist) was one that I made called: “Reasons You Should Date Me.” I must say, this one in particular was quite the self-esteem boost and I’d highly recommend it–especially if you’ve got a certain nagging limerence. It’s funny how letting thoughts escape from your noggin onto a sheet of paper can be so freeing. (Although, as a footnote bonus special: in the words of the Dad in Juno, “Find a person who loves you for exactly who you are. Good mood, bad mood. Ugly, pretty, handsome. The right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”)
–And… I think that’s enough of that! Now it’s time for yours.
So with that: best of luck, my friends. It’s only a matter of time.