I hope I’m feeling brazen

As soon as I typed the phrase “I have a tendency to hyperfixate on people“, a voice in my head said you’re gonna have to write about Polaris again now.

While my parasocial celebrity fixations are largely wholesome and harmless, my real-life fixations have most often been of the variety that could be labelled toxic. Mainly because my brain loves the drama of emotionally unavailable men, and literally can’t get enough of the fucking chase. Give me obtuse statements to obsess over the meaning of and it’ll keep me occupied for days. Give me imaginary hoops to jump through to get you and I will be gleefully bounding all week. I genuinely enjoy it. It excites me. It’s fun. But, I mean, it’s also clearly interacting with my childhood trauma. It’s not healthy, and it invariably leaves me with the same feeling I get if I binge eat 800g of chocolate. Alongside the inevitable carnage, obviously.

Polaris exists at the intersection of these two breeds of hyperfixation.

For a brief moment in time we had a paper-thin, at-a-distance reciprocal connection. During that time, I recognised the familiar sensations of a very powerful hyperfixation developing, only at that time I just called it love. And honestly, experientially, hyperfixation is love as far as I’m concerned. Who knows what it would have become if allowed to run its course.

Much like Guy Martin, I found myself sort of uncomfortably attracted to him, because I couldn’t quite figure out what to make of him and thus couldn’t decide if being attracted to him was an acceptable course of action. Over the years I would come to understand; acceptability was entirely irrelevant. Reading his messages made me feel like the fourth minute of Hot Knife by Fiona Apple, on 1.5 speed, loud and through good headphones, and the sensation didn’t wear off on the rereads. If I still had access to them, I’m willing to wager I’d still feel like that. I was, and always will be, profoundly elated that he ever existed in the same Universe as me and I got to know about it.

And then he bounced, so naturally, the chase was on. Why did he leave? Was it something I said? Let’s analyse every word and figure it out. Was it something wrong with him? Let’s list all the fucked up things about him that might exist that could account for this behaviour. Am I a worthless piece of shit human and that’s why he disappeared? Probably, but maybe we can convince him that you’re not if we carefully craft some sort of outreach initiative. My faulty programming had a fucking field day strategising the hunt.

But that’s just the surface level. Simultaneously, something deeper was happening. Something…spiritual.

The day after my first message from Polaris, I wrote a song. I’ve written quite a lot of songs in my life. I don’t exactly write them intentionally – they just sort of come out of me sometimes, when they’re the only adequate way to express myself to myself. I don’t know what to do with most of them, so they get stuck in the limbo of just being a vocal melody that I’m too scared to reveal to anyone. That’s what happened to this song too. But when I started this blog and I needed a tagline, the only thing that seemed right to use was a lyric from that song: following the flow, the flux, of living, breathing days. I always thought I’d change it because it was a lyric, not a tagline, but nothing ever rose to supercede it. That line neatly encapsulates my intention in a way I will fail to if I actually try, and for the purposes of this post, it demonstrates that Polaris awakened in me something I’ve been trying to nurture ever since. His impact endured.

Thus, my life is demarcated by Polaris. Before and after. The way I’ve chosen to live; the discoveries and recoveries I’ve made; the things I’ve created…everything I’ve become beyond who I was before can be cleanly and unequivocally traced back to him. That should be a fucking uncomfortable statement to make, but it’s not. Polaris was a hyperfixation. But Polaris was also a soul-changing event. Polaris was divine intervention. If you’re sensing biblical vibes here, then yes, I am living in the year of the Lord.

There hasn’t been a day that’s passed since I ‘met’ Polaris that I haven’t thought of him. And I have object permanence issues; I forget my own son exists sometimes when he’s with his dad. I’ve never met this person – as far as I’m concerned, he has no physical form. Yet, long after I was starved of any new Polaris-related input, there he is. It isn’t about him. It could be about him, too; he might be as magnificent a human as I believe him to be, I simply do not know. I had to learn to live with the agony of not knowing. Fucking Schrodinger’s Star. But I don’t even remember him at this point. He’s just a nebulous mass. It’s about what he represented for me. And will probably always represent.

So many things converged to create the experience I had with Polaris. It was nothing short of magical, and it was also too fucking much for my human self. It obliterated me. And then it transformed me.

And because I am who I am, if I was going to transform, then it only made sense that it would be through connection with another human that I would access that transformation. But this was certainly not how I imagined that kind of thing would go. And, my god, what an awkward aftermath.

Glorious Divergents

Further to my last post, I spent a lot of my day yesterday catching up with the activities of Guy Martin. I started thinking how nice it would be if there was some kind of meet and greet event, or facility for my son to, like, ask him a question or something. Or maybe some of his TV work would be engaging viewing for him. Because although the idea of my son one day careening around the Isle of Man on a superbike is not a comfortable one, Guy Martin is still a fucking beautiful example of a human being, demonstrating multiple values I wish to instill in my offspring.

And then I thought who are you fucking kidding, Yve? You’re not researching Guy Martin for your son’s benefit here, you’re just having a nice bloody time.

And THEN, fucking chest-deep in Guy Martin content, I thought holy fucking shit, Guy Martin is obviously neurodivergent*. Like it’s glaringly obvious that he’s neurodivergent*; how slow on the uptake can you be, super-fan-girl? And then I actually googled it and, sure enough, he’s diagnosed with autism, and he doesn’t give a single shit about it.

I actually highly suspect that almost all (if not all) of my long term favourites are neurodivergent*. Specifically neurodivergent* people who have learned to embrace, celebrate and nourish their neurodivergency. Most of my hyperfixations sprang forth years before I understood what ‘neurodivergent’* was, or realised holy fucking shit, Yve, you obviously have ADHD. Like it’s glaringly obvious that you have ADHD, how slow on the uptake can you be, person-who-lives-in-your-brain? …and I like to think my brain was guiding me toward the revelation.

I’m not actually diagnosed with ADHD. I was denied a diagnosis, it seems, on the basis that I did exceptionally well at school up to the age of 16. I didn’t actually get to speak to the psychiatrist responsible for the decision, but the message relayed to me was ‘if you had ADHD, there’s no way you’d be able to do what you did’. This made me very angry, and I drafted a lovely letter about it. I have an IQ of between 137 and 161 depending on which test you ask; school was easy, what I couldn’t do was brush my teeth. I may or may not send it at some point.

*Note: I struggled to find a link that adequately summed up neurodivergence in a way that reflects my understanding without including some aspects that I just don’t vibe with, but suffice it to say; a neurodivergent person, to me, is an individual whose brain is fundamentally, structurally and functionally different from the majority of human brains, leading to unusual strengths and weaknesses that don’t fit into society’s concept of acceptability. This is usually due to neurodevelopmental differences such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia (not an exhaustive list). I could ramble my psychology-enthused head off about the many complexities and implications of the term, but I’ll save that for another day, maybe.

White hot intensity

I have a tendency to hyperfixate on people. Mostly, these people are not people I know. This is lucky. It means they are buffered from the white hot intensity of my enthusiasm for their existence. I once wrote that I burn through things; I am always worried I will burn through people. At least if I never meet them, I can’t burn through them.

Sometimes, the hyperfixation runs its course and dies a natural death, leaving in its place a simple warm fondness. Like my childhood fixations on H from Steps and Pierce Brosnan. Other times it goes dormant only to resurface at moments of repeat exposure, like my fixation on Hugh Laurie as House. Other times, it is a commitment I must simply accommodate indefinitely. But, let me tell you, the accommodation is fucking worth it. Not only is the dopamine payoff for this extracurricular activity astronomical, but additionally, in my humble opinion, I have the best fucking taste in long term hyperfixations. These people go the fucking distance. They are just stellar human beings. They constantly teach me how to be a better one myself and inspire me with their all round spectacularity.

One person on my list of long term favourites is Guy Martin. I first encountered him on TV covering the World Sheepdog Trials in 2011 and was sort of uncomfortably attracted to him, because I couldn’t quite figure out what to make of him and thus couldn’t decide if being attracted to him was an acceptable course of action. Over the years I would come to understand; it very much was.

Cut to a few days ago; my son finding his autobiography and asking who he was, and me telling him with just fucking unreserved exuberance. Words of aclamation just streaming from my lips in a plain yet pointedly sincere soliloquy of veneration. And then I saw the way he was looking at me, and looking at the portrait of Guy Martin, and I thought oops, I’ve done something here.

So now my son wants to go to Guy Martin’s house so he can teach him how to build vehicles, and he keeps climbing on the arcade motorbikes because he really likes motorbikes now, and I’m a little bit worried I’ve set into motion a chain of events that causes him to follow in Guy Martin’s footsteps, which, as a mother, is a terrifying prospect.