noun. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
“What are you passionate about? What is your passion?”
Frankly, that’s a lot of pressure, and I think we Americans use the word “passion” a little too loosely. There is not one thing on Earth that makes me want to jump up on a table and yell for hours about how I love it so much that I can barely contain my passion for it. There’s not one damn thing that I would point to and say “yes. This thing right here. THIS is my passion.” I think that would only result in putting a lot of weight on one thing in my life. Once upon a time, I spent 4 hours a day playing the piano. Even then, I wouldn’t have called it a “passion.” I would have described it as “this thing I do that I enjoy that keeps me from killing people.”
Does that mean I don’t have any passions? I don’t think so. It’s just means that I simmer instead of boiling. Keeps me from scorching things, don’t you know.
It’s like when you hear a song that you LOVE and you play it for a friend and the friend is like “it’s ok.” Their lack of enthusiasm kind of harshes your buzz. You still love that song, but you’re a little frustrated that no one loves it like you do. You could play it for 100 people, and no one would love it like you do. Eventually, you decide to stop frustrating yourself and just say “I love this song, and that is enough. I don’t need anyone else to love it with me.” But there’s still that little part of you that wishes that someone would love it with you.
The most I ever do anymore is make someone a mix CD. “Don’t tell me what you think,” I’ll say, and hand the thing over. I construct a delusion where the giftee loves every song on the CD but never says so because I specifically told them not to tell me. I also never ask if they even bothered to listen to it. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know if that thing I spent hours on is being used as a coaster. I don’t want to know if it’s lying under a pile of bills. My delusion is so much prettier.
The point of the music metaphor is exactly why I don’t go around standing on tables, yelling about why I love something. If other people respond with “well, that’s dumb…and get down from the table,” there’s a part of me that is really hurt. If I keep quiet and keep things to myself, I never get hurt.
Thing is, when you express your love for something by saying, “I like this thing” instead of jumping on a table, people accuse you of not being passionate about anything. Like you’re the human equivalent of oatmeal. A soulless automaton built for work and closet organization. (OK, I also get excited about closet organization. Stop judging me.)
I keep quiet about my passions because I know damn well that a lot of people would indeed respond with, “well, that’s lame…and get down from the table.” Sure, the appropriate responce is to be like, “well, that’s what I’m into and fuck you if you think it’s lame” and to sincerely not care what those people think. However, we all know that some little part of us still would be a little hurt. If you’ve mastered the art of perpetually sincerely not caring, here’s your fucking cookie.
In writing this blog, I remembered a day that sticks out as one of the best days I’ve had with my boyfriend. We hung out, ate Taco Bell and then walked around Mt. Olivet. Previous to the this post, I had thought that I enjoyed that mainly because walking around Mt. Olivet was good “couple time,” free of the distractions of phones and computers. That’s part of it, but the other part was that we did something that is one of my “things” and he had a good time. I like cemeteries because they’re quiet, they’re full of history and human drama, and the headstones and monuments are pretty. It was a lovely day and we walked around and looked at things without being rushed or interrupted. Part of the reason why that day sticks out in my mind is because I was able to share something that I love with someone that I love. It’s like making someone a mix CD and having them say that they loved it even though you told them not to give feedback.
Tune in tomorrow when I at least stand on a chair (as opposed to a table) and list 10 things I’m totally into.