I'm passionate. About a lot of things. It tends to scare people away from me and I've spent a lot of my life being told to calm down, be cool, chill out and relax. In response to this advice, I've tried to quell my passion, to smoosh it down beneath the surface, but it always pops its crazypants head up and says howdy at the most inopportune times. It's like that gooey ectoplasma we had when we were kids, the more you try to fit it into that little capsule, the more it squishes out the top and down the sides. It simply won't be squished away like a bad secret.
I've gotten into a lot of trouble because of my intense focus on the things I care about. I've gotten into fights with my brother that have lasted years because I'm fighting so passionately to prove my point, I don't want to see his. I've pushed friends away because the intensity of my passion exhausts them. I've ruined relationships because I wanted my passion returned in the same way and was disappointed when it wasn't. I've been told (not recently, thank god) that my intensity and exuberance was unprofessional in the workplace.
At the same time, passion has given me so much joy that I value it more than any other feeling. Loving lots of people and things doesn't make my feelings less special or deep, it just means I'm more open to expressing them. I experience so many wonderful things, things that I take into my heart and keep like a sweet dream that I can hold on to even while I'm awake. I'm passionate about sunny days in spring and I walk down the street with my eyes closed, face upturned to really feel the sun on my skin. My heart skips a beat when I look into a clear, starry night sky and see the bright crescent of Venus shining beside the moon. I get excited about Big Macs and write about them and their deliciousness. And I love my people with an intensity that frightens even me sometimes.
At times I've told myself to lie to people about how I feel, for the love of god, shut the fuck up before you blow it. But the truth comes tumbling out. As I've grown and experienced more life, I find I don't want to keep those words in my heart anymore. I don't want to squish my passion down, I want to share my world with others and see if they feel as passionately as I do about sunny days, Venus and Big Macs. I want to know what makes their heart beat faster or stop altogether in awe.
We should cherish those big things that make us passionate, the things that catch our breath, make us wonder or bring us joy, but it's okay to be passionate about the little things too. I can be passionate about chocolate and nuts, but that doesn't mean I need to have chocolately, nutty babies with my Mr Big to make it worthy of my passion. It just means I really like chocolate with nuts in it. We sometimes make the things we are passionate about bigger than they are to justify our passion, but it's okay to enjoy them immensely no matter how insignificant they seem to someone else.
We also tend to grasp too tightly to the things that make us feel passionate because we like that feeling so much, we want to feel it over and over. But that's the charm of passion, it can be fleeting, that's what makes it so special and amazing when it does hit you. Like a white, hot flash of light, sometimes it's gone before you registered it happened and all you have left is the searing image imprinted on your heart.
The fact of the matter is, passion and love are grand feelings that I'm no longer willing to suppress. I've come to the conclusion that I need to embrace this passion, to revel in it. To explain it to people and let them know I don't expect it back, but it's there more truly than anything else I have to give. That it's okay for them to express their passion too, whatever it is. It's not my passion that scares people, but the unexplained mystery of what it means. Sometimes it just means that I love you. Not a bad thing.