Tag Archives: finding passion

A Beat In Your Heart & Wind In Your Hair

Inside a brightly painted frozen yogurt boutique, we swapped fears about the future. There is nothing worse than fretting inside a neon green & hot pink shop, where strangers stand feet away sprinkling toppings onto their vanilla & chocolate swirl.

We were scared + tired + hesitant to believe that self-worth is a thing we build daily. It is like a house, built over years & years & storms & blizzards & knock down, drag-out moments with our mirrors & zippers & scales.

“You’re so passionate,” she drawled. “My sister says I don’t care about anything.”

There were days, I thought, when maybe she didn’t. Maybe, she walked through the haze of college with a book in her hand and a test on her mind and not a single second was spent debating a better, brighter future. Not a single second inched into dream mode.

And then, I thought, I’d punch my sister in the face if she told me I didn’t care about anything. But only because we know it would never be true. Only because I have seen the light dance on countertops in just the right way, seen it catch the front of a glass storefront, seen it play with people’s smiles on Saturday afternoons, and I love it.

Only because I am a Jeep girl. I have sat in the back of a red Jeep Wrangler with the top down and felt the wind whip my hair into a beautiful, alive frenzy. She is a Honda Civic with the windows up and the A/C on & her expensive sunglasses perched on the bridge of her nose.

In spite of all the funeral dresses and breakups and goodbyes and failures, I love the light that skips across our forearms on Sunday drives. I love the rush of a highway cruise.


This world gives us too much to love. It hands us thunderstorms on Friday mornings & photo shoots on Tuesday afternoons & couples waiting in line for coffee with their hands in each others’ pockets like promises to always be the thing they keep.

And I realize that I’m passionate because I’ve let this life kick me in the gut and knock me to the floor and tell me that tomorrow will never look as good as yesterday. I’ve spent nights with my phone in my hand and my life on the line and enough fear in my bones to text my roommate that maybe, maybe my heart was giving up. Maybe we ought to go to the hospital.

On the way home, I told her to find what mattered. I’m still waiting. She believes that life is a day-in, day-out grind session, without so much as a beat in her heart for passion. She believes in waking up and doing work and going to bed and starting all over again, without ever sparking her excitement for life.

She’s built a wall. Not a safe haven for self-worth, but a wall that says the future must always be practical & controlled.

This life is too good. This life is too good to walk sorry all the time. It’s too fresh & new & possible to seem unimaginable that someday, she could be somebody’s somebody. That she could have a life outside of the monotony. That work could be more than a job. That sweat could produce goodness, newness.

I want her to hum symphonies of happiness while she sits in rush hour traffic. I want her to love her job. I want her to believe in something so real & raw her heart hurts when she cannot help it be. God, that’s the only way to live. Isn’t that the only way to live?

Places for the passionate: fro-yo bars, couch cushions, silent car rides.

We sat in the frozen yogurt shop with lime green walls and hot pink stools for half an hour, while she threw her self-worth into the nearest storm drain.

“You’re so paaaasionate, Kaleigh,” she said. “My sister says I don’t care about anything.”

I started thinking I might punch my sister in the face if she told me that. Kels all coiffed in her latest thrift store skirt and fishnet stockings, ready to take hold of the Saturday night while I corral this girl into a future that doesn’t leave her feeling worthless.

Why do I care? Where did I dig up this passion?

I’m flashing back to nights spent in my red plaid pajama pants, laying in my bed, texting my roommate to come upstairs and make sure I wasn’t dying. The nights I laid on her bedroom floor and begged her not to drive us to the hospital if I got up now now now.

It’s not so much passion as knowledge: the kind that’s better suited on the pages of search engine results than locked inside my brain forever.

“You’ve just got to find what matters to you,” I say, racing through a green light and down a hill. “What defines you.”

The Logical Girl in the passenger’s seat sighs and I think back three minutes to my own self-doubt. The moment before we got in the car to trudge home.

I told her something I’d been holding in my gut for seven hours.

“I watched every single Ellen and Taylor Swift interview on YouTube today,” I blurted out, hoping my level of lame might trump hers. “And legitimately felt sad because I’ll never meet her.”

Sure, if I had enough money and time, I could wrangle up some bills and call all the Q102 contests and beg them for backstage passes to be a screaming fangirl with an autograph in my future. But that isn’t the kind of meeting I wanted.

I wanted her to tell me I was doing something. I wanted her to be my friend, reassuring me I had all the heart in the world, even if some people couldn’t see it. I wanted her to acknowledge a couple hundred hours of my hard work jammed into projects to raise girls up the way she does with her own time.

My friend just laughed, told me she couldn’t stand her—famous for tearing boys down.

And I wondered what passionate might feel like for her.

It has, for me, always been this: sitting against my bedroom door, writing fragments and images that hurt but heal. Images I know too well but might still conjure up a familiar feeling in a girl who finds them searching Google for “lonely crying girl” or “signs he doesn’t want a relationship.”

But it’s hard to admit that to her now, so instead we talk about the passion she can’t seem to find.

It’s buried under seat cushions like pennies and leftover Easter jellybeans to match the color of the shop walls behind us. It’s lurking somewhere deep inside her.

I know it. I know she’s got a wall built around her, a Logical Line that says the future must always be practical and controlled.

But if she wants to be happy, she might have to find a piece of passion. A piece of the girl who isn’t afraid to hum symphonies, pulling into a parking space. A girl who ignores the snickering neighbors, high on weed on the front lawn, while she digs house keys out of her purse.

She’s going to have to find a place in this world.