I have spent 4 hours and £15 in a Starbucks today, slouched on my iPad reading a chapter on Protestantism as the basis of British national identity, wondering when it was the last time I felt any enthusiasm for what I do. It was 2 weeks ago, actually, when the seminar topic led me to research and write extensively about the birth of the national myth of Italy. It was the first time I enjoyed what I was doing since the setback of the marks from the last semester, when I have nearly dropped out of uni. Only this morning my FB memories brought up a blog post from the 2016 edition of Love Blog. It’s all about my passion for old things and the stories they tell.
At some point in my quest to make history my profession, I became so tangled into my own sense of identity as an academic and the achievements that go with it that I have forgotten why I wanted to do it in the first place. What in my eyes was failure meant I couldn’t carry on, as if doing things as an amateur isn’t good enough. Like it means I’m not smart enough, and that threatens me. I already talked about rediscovering how my identity is received from Jesus and not achieved by me, and I am slowly trying to apply it to all aspects of my life and trying to find my passion again for the things I am, deep down, passionate about.
First of all, I have decided that no matter what social media tells us, it’s ok to lose passion and sometimes doing things half-assed because you have to, especially if it’s work and your career. Chances are, as a creative and a wannabe-recovering perfectionist, my half-assed work is better than many people’s full effort anyway, because I just have a habit to try and run a marathon like a 100mt sprint and burn out in the process. There are aspects of my job I love, playing with colours and materials and seeing something come together from out of nothing is one of them. Admin and paperwork, setting up the marketing and to an extent even the design of a website (which is a visual thing I would normally enjoy) not so much. As I fight an illness with the long day at a trade event each week followed by one unable to get out of bed, the whole business of running a business has lost its appeal. Instead of forcing myself to find my mojo again, I have decided to let it be and just take it a day at a time. The same applies to university and blogging, although I seem to still have more passion for the latter than I have for the former two together (hence why I’m backdating the posts for the week I missed due to peak illness).
Another thing I have lost passion for is politics; I am still passionate about the community and the potential that politics has in driving change and achieving the common good, but I don’t follow the news and the speeches and the whodunnits that politicos and pundits seem to feed off. I don’t feel about a reshuffle like a child on Christmas Day, and aside from being a political “wife” (speaking of which, I have developed a taste for statement jewels…), I have drastically reduced my time hanging out in political circles. All that I do lately is, on good days, campaign-oriented, but the bad days are outnumbering the good ones, and even that feels like a chore. Ironically, cleaning the kitchen (which is a household chore) has become my new favourite activity to do when my energy levels allow me out of bed with some free time.
Something I haven’t lost my passion for, no matter how difficult our relationship is at this time, is the Church. Once I have accepted that an institution made of humans will inevitably be broken, and I needed to be graceful towards her in the way I expected her to be graceful to me, and allow the Holy Spirit to mould each and everyone involved, I have found in me a deeper longing. Past the guilt for something beyond my control, and the feelings of inadequacy instilled in me by those who try to make them look like they are in my control and I’m just lazy, there was great love that can be more freely expressed and pursued if I “let go and let God”. Coming clean about the struggle has been weirdly cathartic.
There is a fil rouge in all this, which is to let go of pressure (whether from others or myself), expectations, ideals of what things should look like, and accept that it’s ok to be down, it’s ok to go through the motions, it’s ok to live a life that isn’t constantly purpose-filled like the hashtags say. In some twisted way, it’s precisely in these lows of life that I have found a passion I had abandoned: that of living an authentic life, embracing the mess of it all without polishing the diamond for an audience feeding off the carousel of unrealistic standards and pretty things.
Today’s blog post has been part of the Love Blog Challenge 2018 on the subject “Passion”. Find the rest of the series here.