The person who came up with the "Someone is Going to Love You Just the Way You Are" pep talk has reasons to thank me.
Mammoth reasons to thank me.
I am absolutely certain that if she and I had crossed paths when I was thirteen she would have sprinted back to her computer after five minutes, pulled up the word document with the rhetoric inside, and proceeded to delete the entire thing.
Stamping the backspace button frantically all while grinding her teeth, "I regret I ever said that. No one is ever going to love that girl for who she is."
I really wanted to begin this post by telling you that I landed my first gig as a "girlfriend" through lying. It was when I was thirteen, the same age as when I dodged the lady who created the "love yourself" pep talk.
You see, I learned pretty easily that I was either going to have to find a boy who took strange delight in writing cryptic homicide novels and could talk for hours about Sinead O'Connor, Priscilla Presley, and children in the developing world, or I would need to adopt whatever his passions were.
The latter was much easier (and I still haven't found a boy who appreciates Graceland).
And so I scoured instant messenger conversations for passions in order to win a boyfriend. And I found one, thanks to Dave Matthews Band.
The boy was passionate about Dave Matthews and I set out to win his heart through memorizing lyrics and making flashcards of the song titles.
And I stand sturdy in the fact that the purpose of this post is not to tell people the dangers of changing who you are for another person. I can assure you, I still wrote cryptic novels regardless; I just learned some new Dave songs as well.
Despite the fact that the relationship lasted less than 48 hours, or the fact that he dumped me via AOL profile, or that the only treasure between he & I was a receipt for a hat that I never gave him, which I proceeded to staple to a page of my diary (the receipt, not the hat) and cry over for weeks after, I learned a great deal from him.
And about what it means to be Passionate & to embrace your passions, even if they happen to be angry feminist singers. To own your Passion. To love a song deeply or to be able to spend hours talking with words like "acoustic" and "scales". To light up over a mere mention of a band, or a country, or a kind of food.
And since that 48-hour boyfriend, a winding list of remarkable individuals have come along to show me what it means to be Passionate about Something. Some Idea. Someone.
Most days in New York City affirm to me that the people who really understand and "get" life are the people who legitimately leak Passion. They leave Puddles of Passion wherever they go. And other people find those Puddles, put on their brightest pair of wellies, and splash in them long after the person is gone. It is how anything beautiful, wonderful, useful, and world-changing was ever created, through someone first having the Passion to fuel it.
NYC, she has some pretty passionate people in her borders. I found one just this morning on the way to work. He was clutching a pile of fashion books. DIOR scrawled on the back.
Just the way he fell into these books seconds after sitting down on the subway made me itch to sit beside him. To read along. To ask if I could follow him from place to place.
"There is a Puddle of Passion forming beneath your feet," I wanted to tell him. "Do you mind if I follow you with a mop?"
You might want to tell me to pump the brakes right now but that is just me: I leech to passionate people. I would post calls to Passionate People on Craig's List daily if they had not started charging.
Lucky for me, I live and breathe within a city that defines Passion. People come here to follow Passion. People claim their Passion lived here first, before they ever sought out their name within the skyline.
New York City needs an ark builder, another Noah, because soon enough the floods of Passion are going to wipe us all out. And we will need a boat to stay above surface in this city.
My best friend, she inspired this post.
I was walking to the gym this morning at 5:30a.m., cursing God for bare-boned temperatures while laughing to myself over the fact that my best friend adores U.S. presidents.
Yup. She loves them. She is all BFFL with Lincoln and would totally be Facebook friends with Hoover if he had gotten the whole social networking thing down.
And I am proud of her for that. That, to me, is beyond cool. Beyond Trendy. That, to me, is Timeless.
I am very lucky: To have encountered a person who handed me a pair of rain boots and invited me to stand in her Passion Puddle with her.
She is very lucky: To hold such a Timeless Passion. A Passion that won't fade easily or become old-fashioned like palm pilots. That girl is going to love presidents for the rest of her life. She will be floating on a rocking chair in a River of Passion when she is eighty, over Clinton & Roosevelt.
And I hope the same goes for you, and me, and all of us.
Your passion, whatever it may be, hold it tight. Never let it go. If I have not exhausted you with cliches just yet, here is one more: Follow that passion.Find ways to weave it endlessly in & out of your life.
Talk about the passion in coffee shops. In too quiet libraries. In rowdy sports bars. In church (unless your passion happens to be those same cryptic novels of my childhood). Tweet about it. Blog about it. Surround yourself with individuals who live for it too. Make movies about it if you are into film. Write stories about it if words are your constant companions in this world.
Get up. Go out. Buy some rain boots. Hand them out to people with a fair warning, "Listen, you are going to need these babies if you plan to hang out with me for a while. For you see, I am pretty passionate about ____________________________."
Fill in the blank.