When Cat finds herself obsessing over people she hardly knows but is smitten with (like celebrities), she realizes it takes over her life.
She'll spend hours each day daydreaming about them, or writing about them. She gets irrational, her personality changes, and the object of her obsession takes over her focus. Cat's story is about how romantic obsession almost ruined her life.
Cat was mentored by Pamela Miller.
WNYC RADIO ROOKIES: OBSESSION
First Broadcast: June 16, 2005
REPORTER: Catalina "Cat" Puente
Running Time: 12:43 (excluding Host Intro, Outro and Music)
TRANSCRIPT (8 pages total)
HOST, INTRO: This week you're hearing from young people who participated in WNYC's Radio Rookies workshop in the North Bronx. Today's story comes from 16 year old Catalina Puente and is about what happens when a romantic crush turns into an obsession. A word of caution, especially for those with children nearby: This story contains some mild sexual imagery.
CATALINA ("CAT"), NARRATION: I've loved Sam Horrigan since I was 13. I'm 16 now.
(Sound from the movie "Brink" comes up and continues beneath the next section.)
MALE ACTOR: Oh yeah, we're going to have a good time, huh?
CAT, NARRATION: He's an actor.
SAM HORRIGAN: Hey, Betty Crockers!
CAT, NARRATION: He started out as a child star. He was in this movie, "Brink."
SAM: Ooohhh. Love the aprons!
CAT, NARRATION: I watched it over and over and over.SAM: Hey, Betty Crockers! Hey, Betty Crockers! Hey, Betty Crockers! Hey, Betty Crockers! (The soundtrack continues under next narration.)
CAT, NARRATION: I could spend up to a whole day thinking about him. (Film soundtrack fades out.) But normally, it's about four hours or so.
(Sounds of clicking keyboard come up, continuing beneath the narration.) Every time I go to the Internet, I look up things about him and go into web sites to see what girls have to say about Sam.
I am writing back to a few stupid girls that writes about Sam. I wrote this girl, and she wrote: "When I was 14, I got really drunk at Sam Horrigan's apartment and made out with him."
Whoa! And then I wrote, "That is the most stupidest lie I have heard since the lie about the world's going to end, and if it's true, I hope your tongue boils and burn into ashes. I am Sam numero uno's fan, okay? Now if I have to go all the way where you live to cut your head off for making such a big lie like that, I would."
Then some other girl wrote after me and she wrote, "Dude, chill! No need to threaten anybody. Sam is cool, but no need to get all freaky!"
(Sound of people shouting in school hallways fades in.)
CAT, NARRATION: My school hallways are always crowded and loud. When I go up and down the stairs, I always bump into someone I know and say "hi" and "bye."
(School sounds continue under the next narration.)
CAT: Where did Virginia go?
CAT, NARRATION: When I arrived at my high school as a freshman a year and a half ago, I had no idea what was waiting for me there. I was going down the stairs when someone was coming up, and I got such a surprise because that person looked just like Sam – the eyebrows, white skin, black hair, same nose, eyes, lips, and the same strong jaw. That's what scared me the most. I went, "Oh, my God!" But it wasn't Sam. It was just a regular student. It wasn't even a boy.
At the beginning, it just started with the feeling of how shocked I was that she looked like Sam. I guess I was too shocked to think I liked her.
Before I knew her name, I'd think about her at home, calling her "the Sam girl." Later on, I found out her real name. But I'm only going to use the nickname that I gave her, which is "K-licious," like the gum, Bubble-licious.
Now I have the letter "K" on my right thigh. I made it by rubbing my skin off with a toothpick. My older sister Maria thought what I did was crazy. My sister's 23, like Sam. The three most important people in my life are my sister, Sam, and God. My sister was the main witness to my obsession.
CAT: Explain to me how I used to be obsessed with this girl.
MARIA: (sucks her teeth) Oh, my God.
MARIA: Everything would remind you of her, even if it had nothing to do with her, you would find something, then say, "Oh, look - she wear this color," or "Look, she was wearing these boots." It's ridiculous! How – how your friend gave you a gum, she gave you a gum that belonged to her, and you still have it, you have it there like –
MARIA: And, "Oh, my God, what's that smell? What was that smell? That was her perfume, I know it! I know it! I'm a buy it."
CAT, NARRATION: She was the first girl I had different feelings for – like strong love feelings.
(Piano music comes up and continues beneath the narration.)
CAT, NARRATION: When I heard any love song, especially "My Immortal," by Evanescence, I'd think about her. That song makes me so sad. It reminds me of the things we could have done if we were together.
EVANESCENCE (singing): I'm so tired of being here. Suppressed by all my childish fears.
(Music continues beneath the narration.)
CAT, NARRATION: I'd just imagine: the lights off, us in the bed, nose to nose, fingertips to fingertips, not saying a word except some ‘I love you's. Playing with each other's hair. Breathing each other's body scent. We're both happy.
(The music comes up more loudly.)
EVANESCENCE: These wounds won't seem to heal. This pain is just too real. There's just too much that time cannot erase.
CAT, NARRATION: I wanted to marry the darn girl. I wanted to live with her. I wanted to spend the rest of my sorry life with her. (Music fades out.) I wanted to die with her. I wanted to be in heaven with her.
Until K-licious, the only crushes I had for women were women on TV. I came out to my parents over her. My mom said she didn't care and that she still loved me. I only told my dad when I was asking my family about my obsession. I was scared that he'd see me differently, be disgusted or end the conversation. The day after I told them, we talked about it again.
CONVERSATION BETWEEN CAT AND HER DAD
(translated from Spanish – Spanish breathes in between)
CAT: Something that I told you, that was important, what was that?
DAD: Yes, that you used to like boys and girls.
CAT: Yeah, and now?
DAD: And now, too. And you asked me how I felt about it. And I said that it happens to a lot of people.
CAT: And how do you feel that I told you that? Do you feel different than last night?
DAD: I feel good, happy because you have trust in me to tell your dad everything, and I am happy with you. (In English) I'm happy.
CAT, NARRATION: It's easier to show your feelings to a boy because that's how society is, for a guy and a girl to be together. I mean, a guy can't freak out when a girl tells you she likes you.
I heard a rumor – that some girl found out that I liked her and was going to curse me out in front of the whole school.
I assumed K-licious saw the desk that I wrote her name on. (Whispers.) I wrote that she was hot. (Her voice returns to normal volume.) And I thought she figured out about me crushing on her. I was scared and talked to a school counselor, who arranged a meeting with the two of us.
I was so terrified. I thought I was going to pee in my pants. She came in and I asked her if she heard anything bad about me. She looked clueless, and also beautiful. After a few seconds, she said, "No. But if I did, I wouldn't remember. I don't believe in he said/she said rumors." Then I said, "Good. But if you hear anything bad about me, it's not true." When I talked to her, my heart beat fast, like: ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom… (ba-boom sound continues under start of next narration)
The obsession was like a second person. It felt like I was responsible for two people: my regular self and my obsessive self. In my house, I was unhappy most of the time. But depression was a new feeling. I was sad for myself, that I felt this way over a girl who didn't even notice me. I would pray to God almost every night, telling him to send me a sign that if I wasn't going to get with her, to make me stop liking her, but if I was, to let me keep going. My sister was getting annoyed.
MARIA: After I figured out that y'all were never gonna get together, and this was going nowhere, I just wanted you to shut up about her and to move on and leave her alone because you guys were never gonna be together.
CAT, NARRATION: I started losing concentration in school, even though K-licious and I had no classes together. My report cards were disgusting. The feelings were so strong - it started to hurt. I used to cry in the bathroom because it was the only door with a lock.
CAT: (Sighs loudly.) I remember those mean days.
(Sound of Cat turning pages of journal)
CAT, NARRATION: I wrote poems and haikus to clear out my mind.
(Sound of Cat reading continues beneath the narration.)
CAT: I feel like I'm trapped, trapped as the walls around me. I want to get out.
CAT, NARRATION: Maria told me: "Don't tell me anything if you don't got her number or have not done anything with her." So what I used to do was, while I was in school, I used to think of a good lie to tell my sister, so she could be interested in my talking about K-licious. Because I had no one else to express myself to. Almost every day, I would come home with a story. I felt scared to tell Maria about the lies because she might lose trust in me. I decided to confess.
CAT: Do you remember when I used to come from, um, from school, and I used to tell you stuff, like what happened to me today?
CAT: Can you tell me like, one of the, like, stories that you remember?
CAT: Do you remember when I used to come from – from school, and I used to tell you stuff, like what happened to me today?
CAT: Can you tell me like, one of the, like, stories that you remember?
MARIA (dramatically): Oh, um, "Today, guess what happened to me? I don't have my I.D."
CAT, NARRATION: I told Maria that K-licious stole my high school I.D.
MARIA: "And, um, she said, ‘Oh, if you want it back, you better come to school, because you never come to school.' So I can't wait to go back tomorrow. She's gonna give me back my I.D. Oh, my God. She's holding it. She put it in her back butt pocket. Oh, my God." (Laughs.)
"When she gives it back to me, it's gonna be from her pocket! Oh, my God!" (Laughs again.)
CAT, NARRATION: We're the stupidest sisters in the world.
CAT: Are you in a good mood?
CAT: I just wanna know.
MARIA: I'm always in a good mood.
CAT: I need to tell you something.
MARIA: What you did?
CAT: Something I need to confess to you.
MARIA: You have another story.
CAT: No. Like half of them that I said…
MARIA: Were fake!
CAT: How you came up with that?
MARIA: I don't know!
CAT: Because you started saying, "I don't wanna hear if it's nothing good." So for I had nobody else to express myself to.
CAT: So I used to lie for I could talk to you.
MARIA: You're idiot!
MARIA: Eeeww, that's sick, yo!
CAT: I know.
MARIA: Why would you do something like that?
CAT: I know.
MARIA: I'm not mad. I'm just saying, that's so weird. Why you did that? You didn't have to.
CAT, NARRATION: I was surprised Maria didn't think it was such a big deal. I think why she didn't get mad with my confession was because she probably thought it was more stupid.
Every time we had a school break, I'd think about how to slow down my obsession. Winter break was so depressing because I didn't see her. But then I started thinking about her less. But when I got back to school, it all fell on top of me again.
Finally, the summer came, and there was a rumor that she might move. So I might never see her again. I decided to end the obsession. I felt like an old lady whose husband just died after 50 years together. I tried not thinking about her, and I punished myself a little by not giving myself pleasure, like listening to songs and reading things that would remind me of her.
(Sound of "Still Standing" comes up.)
Sam helped me a lot, too. (Cat laughs.) I would watch Sam all the time. Like I kept watching the episode of the sitcom, "Still Standing," that Sam starred in.
(Sound of sitcom, with laugh track.)
FIRST MAN: Why Jeeves?
CAT (speaking along with the soundtrack): Because he's our butler, dude! He does everything we tell him to. He's our designated driver. He goes on burger runs. He does our homework.
SECOND MAN: Babysits my son.
CAT: Whoa, buddy!
(More sounds of laugh track.)
CAT, NARRATION: Even though K-licious looks like him, (sound of Cat squealing at TV) it was a whole different kind of love from what I had for Sam.
CAT (Whispering): Oh, he's so gorgeous.
CAT, NARRATION: Plus, it's sadder with her because I know I'm not going to get with Sam. I missed K-licious. But by the end of the summer, my obsession was leaving. On the bus on the first day back, I was nervous that, if she was there, I might fall in love with her again. When I got to school, I saw her. (Sound of a teacher speaking in the classroom.) But I didn't react like I thought I would.
TEACHER: I like your paper, but it's a bit ambiguous.
(Sound of the teacher's voice continues beneath the narration.)
CAT, NARRATION: I have classes with her now –
TEACHER: It's a big word… No, no, you look it up: "ambiguous" …"vague"…"unclear".
CAT, NARRATION: Unlike before, when I just wished I did. I'd get uptight for the first ten minutes. But then I'd just relax and forget that she's in the class. (The teacher's voice fades out.) If that was me last year, I don't know what I would do. I know I wouldn't be relaxed.
Maria asked me if I was completely over K-licious. I stood speechless for a while. (She lets out a breath loudly, and pause follows) I wanted to say that the obsession was gone. But I decided to answer as honest as I could because I didn't want Maria to doubt what I was saying.
CAT: I have to admit that, I am 99 percent over her. But like, there's like one percent that is still on her.
CAT, NARRATION: It's scary because I don't want to think about her. But sometimes I just do. I still like K-licious, but not so, so in love. I have a piece of love in my heart that my heart won't let me erase. Until I have a real relationship, maybe I'm not going to be completely over her.
FOR WNYC, I'M ROOKIE REPORTER CATALINA PUENTE, "AKA" MRS. SAM HORRIGAN.
(Music Out-tro: Instrumental of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow.")
HOST OUTRO: Tomorrow's Radio Rookies report "Parenting Pointers" comes from Carlos Gonzalez. Learn more about all the Radio Rookies at wnyc.org.