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  • Kim Idol

The Rules of Obsession

Working out in a storm

My mind runs in loops.

Every time I eat almonds, I think of my grandmother who ate 8 every day and who died ten years ago. Every time I finish my last meal of the day, I remember my grandfather who always finished every meal, even if he had dessert, by eating a protein to stop his appetite and he died 40 years ago. Each time I do so many things I have to clear my mind of the past before I can return to the present and focus on what I am doing now and why.

There are rules for survival if you have a mind like mine. Food, T.V. and drawing all have rules, for example, because they do.

I have to work out, because I have to. They shut down the gyms, so I work out in a football field by my house now. Today while I lift the clouds are rolling in, the wind is picking up and small drops of rain are beginning to fall. The sky hasn’t fully committed to crying yet and I have six more sets to complete. Three sets of 15 and three sets of 17. The sounds of the coming storm are picking up, and picking up, but I have to concentrate on the lifts. I have to get them done.

I have to work out to preserve the balance that stills a mind that whirs like a blender set on its fastest speed. I don’t sit still. I take showers rather than baths. I take the stairs rather than the elevator because I can’t wait. I take my bike or walk rather than take the bus because I can’t wait. I must keep moving. It’s a rule, a part of the other patterns and rules of behavior that must be obeyed in order to satisfy a sense of order that maybe only makes sense to me.

When I need to STOP the blender, when I need to stop assessing my feelings and stop wondering what I can do about them and stop hating myself for feeling helpless, and stop planning for tomorrow and the day after, and blah, blah, blah. I have to trick myself out of my thinking state. I have many strategies. I pull out the crayons and Sasha O’Hara’s coloring books. She has swirly patterns and swear words in all her pictures. YES! FUCK! SHIT! DAMN! PISS! CUNT! I feel five times better just by writing those five words down. I can reprint the pages as many times as I want and (to date) I have colored in the same images hundreds of times.

And I always follow the rules when I do.

The rules of crayons

I cannot use a crayon more than once per picture. I may color any item while the crayon is in my hand, but it’s like chess, once I drop the wax stick to the side (never back into the box until the picture is completed) the die is cast unless I find a shape, previously dedicated to this color that I missed. Then I can retrieve burnt almond and address the mistake. (Of course, once I use the word mistake you know I have a problem.) If I complete a picture and the combination of colors fails to satisfy then I have failed, and I will have to fill it in again. If I fill the picture in successfully, I can put that design aside for a few months. It is a completed puzzle and I don’t want to fuck with the juju of that.

Certain shapes demand certain colors and there is a pattern to the way I color that never varies I’m Henning Mankell's painter who paints the same painting every time he paints (the same landscape either with or without a single bird). For the pictures that I have colored in dozens and dozens of times if you compare the ones that I colored in this month with those I did last month or with those I did a year ago, the themes may vary, but the way I assign dark and light is always the same.

The starvation rules

I can only eat after I’ve starved. I have to come to the table incredibly hungry in order to have earned a meal and then I can only eat less than I need. If I leave the table fully satisfied, then I’ve eaten too much. I have to go to sleep anxiously hungry, eager for tomorrow morning’s piece of toast and glass of nonfat milk. Otherwise I don’t deserve breakfast. I can fill my gut with tea or coffee and sometimes if I brush my teeth, I can ward off hunger pangs that way, but I have to go to bed hungry. Every 14 days I binge for one day. I am aware of a deep rage when I do, and I am always sick the next day when I return to the starving phase or, as I like to think of it, the safety zone.

The diet works. I keep losing weight and I can still exercise like a fiend. I don’t know what to do with all these drawings though.

The rules for T.V. watching

The T.V. is on all the time when I am home. There are shows for background noise, there are shows for watching while I complete another activity. There are shows I watch while I try to fall asleep and there are shows I play while I sleep and there are shows I just watch. There are movies I have seen dozens of times. There are movies I have seen 50, 60 even 100 times. They’ve become patterns that soothe me when I am anxious or unsettled. I don’t watch shows with animals. I worry too much about the animal and can’t enjoy the show. I don’t like hostage melodramas and I like crime shows but only if they feature cops and detectives. I don’t give a shit about crime families or spy shows or cartel melodramas. They stir something inside me that I don’t like to feel. I like shows where they solve the murder, where they solve the immediate problem, but I can’t always wait until the end. I read the last pages of a book first and fast forward to the ends of movies first and then I go back to the start.

I also read magazines backwards because those are the rules.

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