I’ve been asked to write about my passion. We hear this word thrown around a lot. We’re all expected to have at least one passion, right? Sometimes it’s not that easy to know what it is. So today I’m going to talk about what passion feels like for me and what I am passionate about and how I found it.
So, as a little girl I think I was passionate about kitties. Holding one evoked such a feeling in me, in my heart, in my brain, in my body. One time in particular I remember being frantically told not to hold the kitty too tight (I may or may not have had a choke hold on the little fur ball). An adult, delicately but with purpose, tried to pry my surprisingly strong fingers from its little body. I felt overwhelmed with something that I just had to act upon…I was so IN the moment. This “thing” took over my sensible thought process (do four-year olds have a sensible thought process?). One might think I was possessed. Or was my little four-year-old self experiencing a sudden burst of outright passion?
Later, as an adult, something always nagged at my self-esteem and my heart….it was the pressure to have “A” passion. Oh, the bewilderment and awe that I felt for people who just knew…they knew exactly what and who they wanted to be. Those people feel those overwhelming feelings for their life’s work, whether it be for their job or their art or their cause or their “whatever it is” that takes them over. It’s something beyond happiness don’t you agree? Something with a driving force and a heart beat of its own. But something happened and I now know what I was in awe of.
I’ve wanted to be lots of things…for a while I was going to be a travel agent. Then I wanted to be an office manager, a professional dancer, a drive-thru coffee millionaire, a real estate agent, a lawyer, a small business owner, a marketing manager, a t-shirt mogul, an interior designer, an accountant, a teacher…but none of those things stuck. I felt like I was really missing out on something big. I had no identity. I’d sit and think about passion. What it meant to be passionate and how to find mine. For years, I’d sit and think and feel heartache and think some more and feel more heartache.
I’m not sure when it occurred to me that I had something inside me that had been there since as far back as I can remember. But it finally did occurred to me. Finally! I had this memory of watching my grandfather in his darkroom developing negatives and making prints…watching that little silver boat go back and forth and back and forth until an image miraculously began to come alive on that blank paper. The smell of the chemicals, the low red light and the blackness and my grandfather quietly working away until he decided it was time to rinse and hang the image to dry…it was absolute magic! He’d grab some film from the fridge, load his camera, set up the lights and plop me on the stool and snap. Family and friends occupied that stool for years. Everyone would talk about his images as they’d look at them hanging on the wall in the living room. I listened to everyone comment on the beauty of the subject and I kind of revelled in the whole experience. I felt like I was witnessing something really special. And I was.
I think I was eight years old when I picked up my first camera. Years ago, when I began to realize that I had a little brewing passion of my own, I was going through old boxes of memories from my childhood and I came across some of the many images I’d taken as a kid. Horses. My dog. My grandma. My dad. The old oak tree. The barn. At that moment I was pulled back in time and remembered that feeling of being outside by myself with my camera in hand. It was a cold winter day. The sky was grey. The wind was blowing. Leaves were crunching under my boots. I felt exactly the way I felt that day when I took those images. And just like that, the last piece of the puzzle fell into place. Just like that! Like bright flashes, all the images I’d ever taken began flipping through my brain like a movie reel…I’d been taking pictures my whole life! I always used it as a way of escaping into another realm, a trance, a place of tranquility, a place where there was just me and my camera and my passion. What? Wait? Yep, there it is people. MY PASSION! Oh, by the Beard of Zeus I had one. Phewie! All the years of struggling and the pressure to find my passion…to find that it was already there? Well! 🙂
So, I jumped. I freaking jumped. Me and my camera and my brain and my ideas and my joys and my frustrations and all that stuff that comes with it. It’s not all roses but that doesn’t matter. Not one bit! Because I love it all. I love that it takes me over and has a heart beat of its own. I love that I have a choke hold on it and that I can’t put it down and that it’s mine. It’s my magic and no one can ever take that away and it brings me so much happiness that I can’t even really put it into words (although I may just have done that).
What is your passion? What has been lurking behind the scenes that just needs to be unleashed? Please share! I love to hear other people’s stories.