know I write a lot about work, but it’s only because I’m a workaholic/don’t really have a personal life besides watching Netflix and going for runs- I live on the end of both extremes. So yeah, I write about work, but I’m not apologizing for it! I guess when I started teaching *~a YeAr AgO~* I had no idea how much cool stuff I would be able to do, and how much what I do professionally would affect me personally.
A couple weekends ago I hosted a poetry night at a coffeeshop where some of my past students read poems written in my class. It was seriously so amazing. I just kept thinking about how I facilitated the creation of those poems. And then I think, even if my students hate every single assignment I give them, they have no choice but to learn from them (except the students who literally copy and paste song lyrics as if I don’t know every word to Eminem's Lose Yourself(which I actually don’t but, like, I can still recognize the song)).
Idk, maybe I’m channeling too much Freedom Writers, but it’s crazy that my job gives me the opportunity to help people create art from their experiences, whether painful, beautiful, or somewhere inbetween. When giving a student an assignment, there’s no telling what they’ll produce. It can be scary, because it’s the moment of truth: did I teach them right? Did I lead them astray? And then, when you read the poems about slut-shaming, body image, healthy friendships, and existential questioning, there’s a wash of relief that students- people- can actively engage in a written medium that is so important to me. A relief that my passion is not lost on others.
But more than just being personally rewarding, think about it this way: the more you do what you love, the more exposure people will get to what you love, and the higher the chances that other people will start doing what you love. Eventually, you will be surrounded by other people who saw you doing your thing and thought to themselves, I wanna be like that guy, I wanna do what I love! and your passion will literally change your environment. Or, maybe people will judge you because they don't understand your passions, and that's okay too, because really they're just sad little people living their sad little lives.
An example from my life: I bought a camera last fall, and even though you KNOW I have troubles with labels, I’ve since started a small side hustle with it. I love working behind a lens, and this eventually led me to some pretty great connections in that field. I was able to connect with people who also have a passion for photography, and I learned so much from them. It’s all about not only finding something you love, but also finding others who love the same thing, and who love you.
Sometimes it’s hard to do what you love because you have a real life job that gets in the way, or you lose steam because what you’re writing/crafting/building/creating is gathering dust somewhere. You’ve accomplished a task! Now what? Without a person our people in your life who do the same or similar things as you, your enthusiasm can dwindle. Even with those people sometimes you feel like giving up for a simpler life working the ground (translation: binging every season of X Files as I am currently doing (in my first draft I wrote "dying" instead of "doing" and that, too, is accurate)).
I am a firm believer that if you are someone who does not have a passion, 1) yes you do, and 2) your time is being wasted on things you don’t care about. It’s true: no one has time for someone who has nothing substantial to talk about, so eventually you will find yourself in circles with people who also have nothing to talk about and then your life will be one bad meme that no one is sharing on Facebook (I’m taking you to CHURCH!).
Being passionate can be scary because it requires you to make an effort, and to fail sometimes. It requires you to do more than you’re comfortable with and to ask people favors and put yourself in awkward situations. It requires you to do more than just be, which is the hardest part for some people. The moment your life is about comfort is the moment passionate people stop seeking you out. Without passionate people around you, you’re swimming in a sea of mediocrity and probably enjoying it.
Your passion matters. Let yourself be a passionate person and see how much happier you are. The more you allow yourself to do the things you love, the more understanding you will be of others who are doing what they love. Maybe you don’t get someone else's passion, but supporting them is so so important, because unless what they’re doing is harming you or others, your lack of support says a lot about your character.
It’s healthy and good to take breaks, to have fun, to enjoy being lazy every once in a while. Vacations and rest have to end though, or else they stop being a break from reality, and become your reality. And I totally understand if you feel like this is me on my high horse talking down to you- I’m being ridiculously preachy and I kind of hate it. But this is real, and these are my thoughts.
ANYWAYS, I went to DC this weekend and it was fabulous and I waved at Obama’s house and I think I saw his dogs pooping on the lawn.