April 15, 2022 | LIFE | By Esabella George | Illustration by Xixi Qin
Why do we have these little momentary hyperfixations on things that bring us comfort or exude warmth? A person, a place, a feeling. The power of a song, a favorite movie, or even a person.
A hyperfixation is a kind of sensation, a distraction from almost anything else going on in your life. It holds such significance, but oftentimes it can be short lived. Perhaps, for a whole month, you are consumed by a topic or an area of interest, but one day, its magnitude just isn’t the same. You no longer check up on it. Usually, you jump to something new.
It’s that sensation you get when you come back to something that meant so much to you a certain time ago, and the moment you re-immerse into the world, you feel nostalgia: it all comes back to you.
It’s that song you never once hesitated to play on repeat slowly being pushed further down your playlists, until one day it’s not played at all. Then, stumbling upon the song, maybe months later, you are reminded of the person you were when that song had such a hold on you. That feeling is tremendous; you remember where you were when you first heard it, why you were so moved by it. It struck you for a reason, and you will sort of always cherish its existence for that reason.
The way we can one day go from something being our whole world to all of a sudden switching to a feeling of indifference is one of the scariest things that I think that our memory and brains are capable of. I have always wanted to explore why that is.
Often, a hobby represents a particular time in your life. You can revisit those spots in your brain, like a time capsule. The memory of past magnitude in our lives is there, but there is a lack of understanding for why that specific thing was worth so much.
Sometimes it’s evident in the way that humans have their sights set on something for their future. You may idealize or romanticize it for so long that once you finally get it, it does not quite live up to what you thought it would, or what your fantasy foresaw. That is my fear of a hyperfixation, or the downside. You may even resent your own ability to imagine because the freedom to imagine may create fallacies.
When it comes to a person, you are, for once, disarmed full of trust in the presence of this thing. I see this as the concept of our inner child being free from many of the realities of humanity.
Just as the responsibility and role of a parent is, from the beginning, a relationship that begins with fundamental blind trust, later in our lives, a person may come along every so often, and their significance is tremendous to us. This is because, for the first time since childhood, it resembles that blind trust.
It’s the relief you feel when you discuss values with another person and yours somehow, organically, overlap. It is, in some ways, a coping mechanism for the absence of being taken seriously for so many years, for having your emotions fully listened to isn’t so common when you’re grown up.
Perhaps the concept of a hyperfixation plays a role in our unique Block Plan. Have you ever had a class that you’re just not ready to give up yet? Three and a half weeks felt far too short. You are still deeply attached to the content, class structure, professor, and classmates; you’re not ready for it to come to an end without the proper closure you wish it had. We are forced to, in a way, never get too comfortable in a course or a position on the Block Plan, for that stability is so temporary.
Each week goes by; you have begun to recognize the feeling of a first Friday, a second Monday, a third Wednesday, etc, but we never get to determine when that immersion into the subject matter ends. There is always a time limit. We, as students here, may feel hesitant when a block we enjoy rolls around because we know it won’t last nearly as long as we hope it would.