In my life, limerence hits from time to time. I will become intrigued by an individual. These days, it often happens from afar, when I find an author whose work speaks to me. I’ll go on a binge, reading and rereading their work, studying and learning. I’ve had the experience of then meeting an author at an event, letting them know how much I’ve appreciated their work, and being met with polite distance. Thank you. Next. Huh?
I’ve been surprised a few times when that has happened, that my adoration is not returned. From a logical perspective and as a busy professional myself at times, I get it. Thank you may be all I have to give. And of course, the object of my affections doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall, and my brief encounter remains just that. And yet there is a bit of a surprise when it occurs, a minor bewilderment that my passionate interest in their work and them has gone unnoticed and unacknowledged.
Noticing this reaction, I find it links most strongly back to adolescence, that lovely time of life when one is trying to figure out not only who they are, but who they want to be, with friends, social circles, and eventually how to navigate the adult world. Its the time of crushes: on teachers, friends, adults, kids, athletes, actors, musicians. Anyone who might be a role model.
This is particularly easy to see among young teens. Watch the spread of a fad, whether clothing, hairstyle or music choice. I saw it a lot when I was managing the synchronized skating teams. A new figure skater would make a splash nationally or internationally, and suddenly younger skaters were imitating their style or a particular move. I can borrow a piece of what you have and it will make me better at what I do. Maybe. Role models are very important, as they do just that, model ways of being in the world.
The danger of role models is that its easy to want to be just like our model. The challenge for each of us is to take the aspects of a role model that suit us, and then incorporate them into ourselves. Another’s skills and styles might be viewed as a template, a place to start from while we develop our own skills and ways of being in the world. Ultimately, we each do our best work in the world, when we are most fully ourselves. As a very wise teacher friend of mine once said, “You don’t teach a subject, you teach yourself.”
We may start out in the world like the Jungle Book, with I Wanna Be Like You,
But ultimately we and the world are better off when we remember that I’ve Gotta Be Me.
For Ragtag Daily Prompt: Limerence