Obsession is like fire reflected in a mirror, it sees only itself. Change, being my first enemy, become my closest companion. One in whom I trusted and became dependant on. I spent many nights contemplating the unscripted, sometimes chaotic course of my life. It was from this initial anxiety, that was born an acceptance, and later, an obsession. Change, my enemy, became my only friend.


Living became an improvisational art form whereby I only felt alive when I was moving from one new experience to the next. For years I did nothing but guess, taking leaps in the dark, playing what I affectionately refer to now as, the short game. Minimum commitment and maximum results. Results which, however fleeting, provided me with enough fuel to make it to the next thing. 

This obsession with change became like a thirst. I drank like a drowning woman helplessly swallowing salt water. So familiar had I become in this sea of change, that I had no choice but to drink. The blood in my body became tempestuous, as did my mind, which was so reliant on the pushing and pulling of a tide that did not know its own shore. There had been so much change, not even I, the map holder, could trace my way back to the centre. 

I had built a labyrinth for myself, with the finest materials, a silk woven story of illusion. This story of change became so familiar that the other books on the shelf seemed to be written in a very foreign tongue. Sometimes, I would sift through the pages of these other books but I had forgotten how to read them.  

I was always thinking, what next, and never satisfied when I finally got it. This blessed unrest kept me going in the face of so many dead ends. And though I am grateful for the momentum that it gave me, it is this constant seeking, that I am learning to tame. Still it unleashes itself. Rightly so, because no wild thing should be held captive forever. 

To allow for change but not be obsessed with perpetuating it. To read the many other books on the shelf that don’t tell me stories about myself that I already know. To find rather than seek, is my strongest antidote to this obsession.  

Thoughts like this crystallise with age, into perfect jewels. It is these jewels of neurosis that we come to know about ourselves and enjoy. After all, our shadows are also our substance. To possess these jewels and no longer wear them around one’s neck, to admire the beauty of change and yet not be possessed by it. This is my new obsession. 


Words & Photography  Shannon May Powell