i love it, don’t you?
simply intoxicating — there’s nothing better.
just so exciting. all-consuming. it makes you feel alive.
feeding that passion is the best reason in the world to crawl out of bed in the morning, & you never have to wonder what you’re going to do with yourself all day again.
but, to not have passion? a burning passion? i tried that already, so no thanks.
“what do you want to be when you grow up?”
ask a child & they’ll tell you right away, no problem — because the sky’s the limit.
me, i wanted to be a movie star. not an actress, a movie star– there’s a big difference.
i remember what my family said. all sarcastic. “martha thinks she’s such a glamour puss.” like it was stupid — & i thought i was so cool & awesome.
i remember thinking, “well, what’s wrong with that?”
&, it kind of hurt, really. yes, it did.
what happens to a lot of us, i guess. feeling like we can’t do it. that it’s unattainable, whatever it is.
buying into beliefs we let people put on us.
i knew there was something about me. i was the funny kid. maybe it came from being the youngest of 4 children, desperate for attention, but it doesn’t matter. i made people laugh, & i knew not everybody could do that.
anyway, we get out in the world & lose our self confidence, our ability to trust ourselves, & even the feeling that we’re worthy of having it at all. besides, following a passion is indulgent — a useless idea we picked up somewhere along the line.
not only that — following a passion can take really hard work, you know. & it could be we’re just a little lazy.
just thought i’d throw that in…
still, i had a way with words & i knew i could communicate. down deep inside, i knew it.
so, think about it — what about you?
maybe you know what happens when you shove things down. end up with someone else’s dream. spending your time living someone else’s life when that’s really their job — not yours.
passion defines us. it’s who we are.
do you still remember what you said you wanted to be when you grew up?
have you ever felt like something’s wrong — something you can’t put your finger on, exactly — just that there’s an empty, disjointed sensation you just can’t shake. like you’re not fully experiencing life. & it’s beginning to feel uncomfortable…
it’s like when your stomach is hanging over your jeans. they just don’t fit anymore. maybe they never did in the 1st place. they’ve finally gotten so tight that they suddenly split up the back when you bend over.
that’s probably an awful analogy, but i think you know where i’m going with this.
so, what happens?
there’s a person i know who i’ve been thinking a lot about lately. one of my favorite people in the world & they’re going through a hard time. i’ve known this person forever. my whole life, really, & in many of my earliest memories, this person is there.
had looks, & a killer personality. not only that, he was smart –like brilliant-smart, in every subject. smarter than i am by a mile, & i kind of hate those people, know what i mean?
still, with so many things going for him, my friend’s jeans split up the back. maybe it was cut-offs & not jeans he was wearing, but that’s not important. what popped out was an inner-feeling, i guess. just a distorted, scary picture of himself. not real.
what popped out was a damn lie.
i’d tell you if i knew the true reason — I’m not a mind reader, but like i said- i’ve known this person a very long time, & i think he bought into some people’s ideas that were neither fair nor true, & rather than proving them all wrong & following his passion anyway, when the opportunity came to take the easy way out, he took it.
but easy became a habit & what came next was not a pretty picture. sapped self-worth, a loss of confidence & some really lousy choices. in his words, “it’s a pretty shitty deal.”
but, then, maybe i’m completely wrong about my friend. i mean, what do i know? i wasn’t exactly leading the passion parade myself.
i had this desperate, gnawing fear that wouldn’t leave me alone. i’d see myself as an old woman sitting in my rocker on my front porch looking out at the stars. just kicking myself. so disappointed in myself, because my potential was nowhere.
when i’d had every opportunity to change my life every step of the way.
i was about 40 when my wheels came flying off. to tell you the truth, i basically lost my shit. time was running out & i had no idea how to stop it.
& it only gets worse when you have kids of your own, you know?
i had a notion earlier today. something every kid should learn in school. i mean required, serious, no-kidding classes, early-on where they’re taught to follow their passion & hold on tight.
i finally got help.
yep, from one of those paid professionals who you can tell your deepest secrets to.
mine was a man. a kind man. not a lot older than i was really, but he seemed much older — an old soul, that’s what he was..
twice a week for an hour & a half, i’d be crying on his same blue-striped, velour sofa. i felt like i was crazy, & there’s probably something to that..
there was a breakthrough one day.
with one question, just a string of words, the man saved my life.
it wasn’t groundbreaking or earth-shattering. nothing anybody on the street couldn’t have asked just as easily, but it must’ve been the right time. his question was simple:
“what’s the thing in your life you want to do more than anything?””
“write a book.”
the words tumbled from my lips, free-falling from the cobwebs of my troubled mind.
his follow-up question — what he said next truly startled me. probably shouldn’t have, but i’m telling you, it truly did.
he tilted his head & looked at me intently. again, a question just so simple:
“why don’t you?”
seriously, i mean, really – think about it. unless they’re shoveling dirt on your casket, it’s never too late.
as began writing this, i realized something. that little girl who wanted to be a movie star — it occurred to me that’s still who i am. maybe not what i originally had in mind, but i am going to star in a movie. rather, my words are.
i can’t see it yet, or even what it looks like, & i don’t know how, & i don’t know when — i just know that they are.
so, about that word passion…..
what do you think it means?
i just happen to have my dictionary right here on my desk. can’t live without it. random house dictionary of the english language
the unabridged edition
pas-sion (pash’en), n. 1. any emotion or feeling, as love, desire, anger, hate, feat, grief, joy, hope, etc., esp when of a powerful or compelling nature.
here’s another definition – i personally think it fits:
6. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything, i.e: a passion for music.
a few entries down the page, my finger stops on another word. a sad word.
pass-ion-less (pash’en lis) adj. not feeling or moved by passion; cold or unemotional; calm or detached.
i’m telling you, with his two simple questions, that man saved my life.
what’s your passion?
i hope you’re one of those fortunate, fulfilled people with their fires still red-hot & blazing.
& what about those kids of yours? they don’t have to be your blood-kids – maybe someone else you can motivate. look around you — people are everywhere.
in case you’re concerned about the old friend of mine, don’t be. i was there in the very beginning & you don’t know him like I do. he can move heaven & earth.
we all know that for smoldering coals of passion, all it takes is a little fanning to kindle a flame.