On becoming what I am not

So, I have this whole new passion and it’s taking up a lot of my life. It is not just something I am passionate about, it is a capital ‘P’ Passion. I am guessing you already know this, but just in case you have never experienced the raw, serotonin dosed, heightened sense of awareness state of being that is having a Passion, than you should know that it is about as life changing as having a baby.

I want to say that a Passion is just like having a child, being both demanding and rewarding, and usually requires the purchase of a bunch of stuff you never even knew existed a month ago, but that imagery is a little too soft and cozy. Really, a fresh, developing Passion is more like riding a bull. A racing, crazed bull that you, through some freak occurrence, have accidentally found yourself on top of. Your only chance is to grab hold of its horns, try to steer it towards soft ground, and ride that sucker until it wears itself out.

Be bull or child, you cannot choose your Passion. You can try to direct events, dictate the future by putting yourself in proximity to what you want to want and what seems like the best direction to go. People enrol in law school and keep going back to the gym, hoping to grow a bit of motivational enthusiasm for what is good for them. Good habits grow and goal attainment is done this way. Ultimately, though, your brain still isn’t getting that spark. Your Passion chooses you and you have to learn to live with it. That is how people become a lawyer by day and a Dungeon Master by night.

My new passion is not something I would have chosen, given a menu of events and potential hobbies to get neurologically worked up about. If I could choose any activity to develop a deep, inexplicable infatuation with, it would be house cleaning. Or preparing healthy meals. Or even playing legos and trains with children all day long (which is kind of fun, but doesn’t exactly get my blood boiling, if you know what I mean). It would be something that I already do, already have to do, and thus neatly solve the getting-stuff-done versus getting-my-rocks-off battle of time.

But, no. No no no. Passions cannot be easy. They are contrary beasts. They will not be found handily available in your environment. No one ever finds their passion back behind the toilet bowl one day while tiding up. A Passion requires time you do not have, stuff you do not have, knowledge you do not have, and, if you are especially unfortunate, physical ability you do not have. That is because, at the heart of it all, a Passion is about who you could be and want to be, not who you already are.

The bull, it turns out, is not accidently rode. Oh, maybe you didn’t mean to get up on its back and then tick it off so it drags you out on a wild, adrenaline churning ride, but seeing as you somehow put yourself in the vicinity of the bull in the first place, you are not totally innocent. Something in you saw the subliminal exotic beauty that is the Passion and wandered closer for a look. When you find a Passion, you already want your world to be seriously rocked. You want a shakeup, a change, a new entity in your life, to catch you on fire, burn away the boring, and let you rise up anew.

Becoming what you are not is damn hard work. And sitting there, wishing you could be doing something different, or be someone better, is like sitting on road spikes: you have to get off your butt, but you know that it will cause damage. Either way it is uncomfortable. The question is which is worse? Cursing yourself for being chicken and sitting on a spike, or cursing yourself for getting up, refusing to take the easy way, putting yourself through pain, the humiliation of the incompetence, and sweat?

Sometimes we get much more than we bargained for. This new Passion of mine is something so far beyond my comfort zone that I have to give myself pep talks. I must keep reminding myself that I make progress every day. That I am learning (hmmm, delicious learning) and to avoid thinking of how far there is left to go, and what I will do when I get there. My Passion is a mean old thing. It makes me exhilarated and then it makes me cry.

I did not choose this. But I will see it through.


  1. Well put. Sometimes I wish I had less/fewer passions so I wouldn't resent those have-to-do tasks so much for taking me away from them. I'm a lawyer by day, crafter by night, so the start of your post was especially hilarious for me!

  2. I find my passions changing, too. And now that I am seeing that you are enjoying skating more, I am wondering what kind of kick-ass workout that is for getting the fat off my hips. hmmm... I think I need to find a sitter and take a drive over to my local rollarena and try not to kill myself.

  3. From the looks of the sticker on your helmet (I think)...roller derby!!! You go girl ;)

  4. I love roller skating and sewing :) Looks like we have some common "passions"

  5. *vigorous nodding* This post NAILED IT. And what's the Roller Derby speak for Good Luck? Happy Hunting maybe?

  6. That is great! Good luck. Around here it is woman's tackle football. Had to take a break to have my baby girl.

  7. Thanks for putting into words what I couldn't. xx

  8. I use to roller skate when I was a kid, but never did roller derby. Watched it a few years ago though.

    Have an awesome time with it!

  9. I see this post is almost a year old, but I wanted to let you know how timely it is for me. I found it by googling "blogs like soulemama", b/c I am addicted to Soulemama in the same love / hate way & feeling the same life changing forces in my life. Thank you for this beautifully written post (I am going to print parts & hang them up where I can read them daily for awhile) & I sure hope your Passion has taken you to all the places you need to go since writing this!