What I Feel I Should Jot Down
I have begun writing this in a tone that would probably belong in a 1960s student’s notebook, scribbled with all sorts of comments related to whatever lesson in mythology they have recently taken part of and I asked myself a couple of questions:
Should I write this? Should I write this? Should it be this, that, should it be the same extremely pretentious attempt of tripping over words with the sole aim of sounding elevated, when the same could be achieved with a couple of concise words? Should it even ‘be’ in the first place?
The answer is a resounding no on all fronts. Still, I’ll try because I feel like I want to. It’s not been hurting me, but it’s been troubling me for a while and I think the catharsis would be well warranted.
I don’t understand passion and I think it’s just me.
It feels like a lofty, bleak and eminently depressing statement, but I’ve stood behind it for long enough to understand that it’s true. And, as truth often does, it stings.
I don’t have a timeline of events, nor any justification for it. I could potentially go back through my life and recollect all of what has happened to me, with me or around me and piece together an answer, but I don’t think that’s necessary. It doesn’t reflect who I am right now. If anything, it’ll make this already alienating feeling – or lack thereof – even more potent.
To start, I don’t want to say I don’t feel passionate. I do, for a fair number of things that I could definitely say I’d pay (and have paid) quite ambitious fees to be a part of. I’ve issued several impassioned, almost hyperbolic speeches and tirades on topics ranging from the most inane of technicalities to the haughtiest of philosophies. From time to time, I do feel that sort of tingle when something I enjoy is being discussed or brought up, or alluded to. But it stops there. At the tingle.
I think the first word I associate with this feeling is jealousy. Undoubtedly, it’s zeal and fervour that drives the people of this community – artists by nature or trade – to prosper, to create, to engineer, study, discuss, elevate. It’s perfectly puritan idealism, it’s a form of spiteful nihilism, it’s a desire far beyond capability, it’s a want, a drive, a fundamental of being, but the through line that unites them is that, behind all that, there’s a spiritual dwarf with a sizzling rod that pushes you to do it. I’m jealous because, for me, there’s none of that.
I’m aware of the ‘woe is me’ nature of this soliloquy, but I think it’s quite sad. To clarify, this isn’t a critique, a cry for change or any manifesto-like tendency being exhibited. I’m not quitting, I’m just sulking because I felt like it. Because ultimately, it’s self-diagnosed othering.
Off the top of my head, if you were to ask me about something or anything I’m passionate about, I could give you answers. And they’ll change. Or there might not be any at some point. Points which repeat with harrowing frequency. Until, frankly, it makes me doubt if they were even there at all. If that passion I have felt, even if temporary, was nothing short of a performance, an act just so that I could delude myself into fitting in.
The impetus for me writing this thing is funny, not in the laughing way alone, but in the way that makes you feel odd. There were talks about someone I know showing off a collection of something they liked – or maybe loved. My instinct was that it would be something rather limited. A pair of assorted knick-knacks, maybe some unique memorabilia here and there. Mind you, I only thought that because my theory of control beckons me to interpret everyone as versions of myself, grumpy and moderately trenchant, with maybe a gender, face or trait swap occuring.
The collection was gargantuan. Italics doesn’t begin to describe my awe, which, at the time I’ve concealed through sparse, flippant comments. But as it grew in pictures of handtowels and coasters, I started wondering: ‘Have I ever felt like doing that for anything?’
It wasn’t a novel question, but I think the anvergure of their collectibles put it in a very poignant light. I couldn’t help the immediate comparison between them and myself, then between the community and myself, then between everyone and myself. And, surely, I’m not unique, yet I have yet to encounter someone with my level of apathy.
I go online and there is passion. In speeches about relics of anime past. In wars of boisterous remarks on either side of technicalities. In a piece of art, media, a sketch, a letter (alphabet, not mail). And I want to talk about that. I wish I could talk like that. But all I find myself able to muster are placating comments said in a low whisper. Maybe an occasional shout.
As I sat there on the sidelines of conversations, watching and musing, I started sketching out some ideas. How this passion of people can unite and divide, drive and brake, create and destroy. But mostly, how it feels like it’s indefatigable. How every hour of every day, it feels like there’s something throbbing with excitement, but for me there isn’t any. How it makes people want to do so much and all I’m around for feels like a simple means to an end.
So, really, I feel like the power passion has on people, exhibited in varied and highly numerous ways, only spites me. I find myself wishing many things due to who I am, but the one I find uttering the most is: “I wish I had passion like that guy over there who spent 3 hours discussing pixels created before I was even a sperm cell.”
And the performance of a moment, becomes the performance of a lifetime. I want to have a body I like, but it feels like an ideal buried under lead. I want to have my name in bookstores, but it’s just a failing spark plug. I want to have some nucleus of relationships, but most of the time, I just don’t. I want to put pen to paper, but the fire in the engine was just a dying ember.
And so, in this crisis of ‘want’s and ‘wish’s, I find myself submerging words in an essay that says nothing to no one but me, in an attempt to explain to myself who I am and coming short of any answer or solution. It’s pathetic, honestly, but necessary.
In truth, I don’t think I’ll understand passion. I think I’ll be left starving, staring through an apathetic-grey looking glass, at people who sing and dance and write and draw and work and toil and cry and shout and laugh. It could be me, could be innate or could be learnt. It could be curable, but journeying for the cure seems like it’ll kill me before I could even glimpse it.
Its power, large and immense as it is, will remain largely foreign to me.