A Journey of Passion.

I’m all about passion.

In fact, if passion was a football team, I’d be at every single game in the stand with a bullhorn, cheering. I’m the head cheerleader for passion. I’m passionate about being passionate.

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a weird thing to say.” Maybe it is. Maybe it is a weird thing to say, but I’ll say it until I die: I’m passionate about being passionate. v Every person who is born is born with a purpose, wired for something special and unique. Accepting that is the easy part. Once you’ve done the easy part, the hard part follows. The hard part is finding that thing. You know, the thing.

The thing that makes your heart pound out of your chest when you think about it, talk about it, do it. The thing that consumes your thoughts and brings so much joy to your soul (JOY, not happiness, there’s a difference.) The thing that is completely you—so much so, in fact, you wonder why it took so long to find. That thing is your passion. Occasionally, it’s difficult to find but once you do, there’s no more wondering.

Finding my passion was difficult for me. I knew I had a purpose, or at least I thought I did, but I had no idea what that was. I was always searching for it, intent on finding it. I tried. I tried really hard to find it and there were moments when I thought I had. I didn’t. That’s the thing about passion: it can have many forms. You can be passionate about more than one thing, about people, about places. You can enjoy many things, but does that mean those things are your passion?

I found my first pseudo-passion in high school. Two words: Hollywood. Movies. I was determined that I’d write and direct movies. That was it. Bam, I’m ready. But, college led me to South Carolina and suddenly, that passion dissolved. Sure, I still love movies and TV, but I knew that wasn’t where I needed to be.

In college it was a lot of things. It was so many that I can’t even begin to list them all. I discovered my passion for the homeless and for HIV/AIDS awareness. I discovered my passion for ministry and college students and leadership. I pursued things and tried things and found ways to get involved. But, those things weren’t my passion either. Not really. Sure, I have a heart for all those things, but I knew that wasn’t where I needed to be.

Those pseudo-passions led me to Nashville, which led me to South Africa, which led me back to Nashville. There in those moments after my trip, I found my passion. Soon after I met two lovely women named Myra and Victoria, and my passion seemed like something I could actually, maybe, really do. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should back up because there’s something you should know…

When I was little, all I wanted was to be was normal. My childhood was less than normal and I longed for the day I could venture out on my own and find myself, find a husband, have a family. I wanted stable. I wanted to be one of the normal people who have real jobs and friends and hobbies. I accepted in college that this dream is unrealistic. It’s not who I am and I will never be that girl.

I’m the girl who’s in love with words.

The one thing I’ve always been when none of the other things have panned out is that girl. The girl who dreams. Who pretends that unicorns exist somewhere else. The girl who hid in the basement as a kid so I could write down stories and no one would see me. The girl who filled in answers of the math tests in second grade, so I could read a book instead. I’ve always been a writer, even before I knew I could be.
I had this poster.
I remember when words came alive for me. I read Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, The Boxcar Children and every Goosebumps book R.L Stine had written. I envied the characters. I wanted a secret garden and a talking pig; we had a pig, but he didn’t talk. I wanted to live somewhere else, far away from where I was, and have scary adventures.

Movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid completely took over my life. I wanted to be Ariel. I even pretended I was when I was in the bathtub. (You know, the scene on the rock when she sings, “I don’t know when. I don’t know how…” and then swoosh—the wave comes up. Yea, I did that. It made a huge mess every night, but I didn’t care. )

I talked to candlesticks and clocks. I imagined that the old man next door with the huge pond was evil and his pond was a magical gateway. I thought the house on the hill was the home of three witches and that I was somehow a witch too. I had one best friend who I let into my magical world, but no one else. I was fine alone with my Barbies and my thoughts. I loved stories and Power Rangers and anything that meant I didn’t have to be me.

In college, when I was trying to find a passion among all those things I said earlier, I took a writing class. I was good. I mean, they liked my writing. No one had ever read my writing before (except fanfiction and that didn’t count.) It wasn’t long before I had a minor in writing. I really liked it but still, even then, it was a hobby. I never called myself a writer until my senior year—and even then, it was half-hearted.

I never called myself a writer until that trip to South Africa. It was there I learned how important passion was. The people we worked with there gave up their families to do the thing they were passionate about. A guy named Mzo smiled so big when he talked about those kids; his passion was contagious. So, when I came home to Nashville, I had a new mantra: be passionate.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that my passion was writing. It was so simple, so blatantly simple, that it was overwhelming. From the first word, I knew that it was my thing. I knew I was a writer. I’d tried to deny it to myself, tried other things, tried to find it somewhere else, somewhere less scary, but it was me. It was part of me. I had to pursue it.

When the day came that Myra came into my store, my store of all the bookstores in the area, it was definitely a big deal. She will never know how much encouragement she gave me in just those few moments. She gave me an idea that I could do it if I tried—and she meant it.

Ever since then I’ve called myself a writer. I’m other things too, I have other labels: bookseller, blogger, nanny, sister, friend. But, I’m a writer. It’s the thing I’ve been my entire life and never knew. That’s the funny part about passion: it will wait until you’re ready. I wasn’t ready before—I honestly believe that—but as soon as I was, there it was. We’ve been together ever since.

I’ll never go back to how I was before. I’ll never live without my passion. Before I was lost and scared to try things and unsure. I was drowning, stuck in a hole and never going to get out.

Now, I know who I am. I’m a writer. You may never read my books or my blog or my tweets. You may never see my name in a bookstore or on a page—you may never know me at all, but I know me.
I’m also the head cheerleader for passion. I’m passionate about being passionate. Everyone needs to have that thing that makes their heart sing, that completes them, that pulls them out of the pit and stands them on their feet again. If you live a life without passion, then you’re wasting your life. You’re wasting your potential and your time.

It’s not always easy. It can be a long, hard road with twists and turns, but it will always be worth it in the end. Passion is always worth it because in finding it, you find life. And a reason to cheer.

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen for you and to you and because of you.” T. Alan Armstrong.

“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping, waiting…and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir…open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us, guides us. Passion rules us all and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace but we would be hollow, empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.” Joss Wheadon

Originally posted as a guest blog from one year ago!

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