Immersion or Obsession?

Since I’ve been going back into my old journal entries for previous posts, it got me thinking…

Back in middle and high school, I thought it was embarrassing the way I was, but as I’ve grown older, I appreciate (and miss) those times so much more.

I would spend days, weeks, months, in my own head, in whatever book or movie I had experienced most recently.

It wasn’t that my life sucked—though at some points it definitely did—it was that I was so easily immersed in Panem. In a dystopian Chicago or in the Glade. As a part of Dauntless or as one of the kids in the FAYZ.

They call it a book hangover. For me, that couldn’t have rung truer.

Book Hangover

Today, I wanted to show you guys how lame I was back then with even more excerpts of journal entries. I’m not kidding—these stories were my entire life at points. These two entries are from when I was first reading my favorite series (you guessed it), The Hunger Games.

In a January 4, 2012 entry titled “Obsessions,” I write, “In a way, I can’t wait to finish [Mockingjay]. But then again, it will mean these couple of weeks of reading the best books I have ever read will be over. All I have to say is that I’m falling in love with a fictional character.”

In another entry titled “It’s over.” from four days later, I (rather embarrassingly) say this, “I’m crying harder than I’ve cried in so long. I’m struggling to hold on to my fictional world of Katniss and Peeta. I’ve stopped crying now that I’ve written this, but I re-read that last page of chapter 27 and the epilogue 3 times: reading through blurry sobbing eyes.”

That same entry also says, “My mind is SPINNING, but I’m not freaking out about not being able to fall asleep like I usually would. Instead, I’m lying here, almost blissfully. Replaying everything. Replaying my fictional life I have been in for the past 2 weeks. Yes it’s only been 2 weeks.”

(Maybe this blog post should just be titled, “I was desperately in love with Peeta for far too long.”)

This final quote is from after I finished Delirium on July 12, 2012. It pretty much sums up how I felt after I finished any good book back then: “The world around me seems softer, quieter. A feeling of resolution and fearlessness all at the same time. Euphoria. I try to milk it while I can because recently only fantasies have been able to bring it out in me.”

16-year-old me bringing the melodrama.

'Do you have to be so melodramatic?'

So, what was the point of this? Maybe it was to make you feel less crazy if you get this way too. Maybe I just wanted to confess how much of an impact books and movies had on me as a teenager, and frankly, still 1000% do. And maybe it’s to give more recognition to the fact that plenty of people live in fictional worlds. It’s an escape, a chance to meet new people and thrive in new places. It may all be in our heads, but if it makes us happy when we may need it most, who cares?

The original dedication in my novel used to be something along the lines of, “For the thousands of lives I’ve got to live through stories.”

My memories are made up of so many things. So many stories, both real and not.

What about you?