I had an odd question thrown at me the other day, and I’m still not sure what my answer is.
“What are you passionate about?”
Well. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said “nothing”. Post-surgery and pre-breakup of an unhappy, stagnant relationship, I felt very little passion about anything or anyone, least of all myself. My self-esteem hit rock bottom.
If you had asked me five years ago, I would have said “my partner and my children”.
Ten years ago, I probably would have said “reading”.
If you had asked me thirty years ago, I would have said “music and theatre”.
But this is NOW. What am I passionate about now? And right now, which I consider to be the very best time of my life to date, I am passionate about so many things I don’t know where to start.
I’m passionate about gender equality, so, on this International Women’s Day, I’m going to start there. We hold up half the sky. Long gone are the days where I will accept being categorized and defined by men. We work equally as hard and feel equally as deeply as men. We are beautiful and successful on our own terms. We’re starting to wake up to things like pay equity and body acceptance. I don’t have to be what you think a woman should be. I’m a woman, and I’m the best judge of what the best me is. Right now, it’s a pre-Raphaelite cowboy, because that’s what I want to be right now.
I’m passionate about LGBT rights. My son taught me that, for which I will be forever grateful. Be who you are. Period. Identify with what speaks to you deep inside. Follow it, embrace it and be it. I think it’s a basic human right to love whomever you want, and none of the state’s business.
I’m passionate about speaking my mind and standing up for what I believe. I no longer stay quiet out of fear of reprisal. If I think it’s wrong, I’ll say so. I try not be an asshole about it, but I will not be silenced, either. Far from making me a pariah, I think it’s opened up a lot of dialogue and made people think about their own views.
I’m passionate about my health. I eat well, I drink less, and I exercise daily. I’m not perfect, but I’m better. I’m more energetic, and I sleep better.
I’m passionate about literacy and social justice. I’m passionate about opportunities for marginalized people. I’m a firm believer in education and second chances. I believe that our worth as a society can very much be measured by how we care for our most vulnerable members.
I’m passionate about my work. I’m passionate about access to justice for the disadvantaged.
I’m passionate about feeding my creative spirit, through writing, music and futzing around with bits of fuzz and yarn.
I’m passionate about the goodness in people. I’m starting to feel alive and connected again, through my friends and my family. I’m starting to feel attraction to men again. I’m starting to feel hopeful that I will one day find the person who is the right fit for me, at the right time of my life.
And finally, I’m passionate about truth. I’m passionate about being truthful and honest, and hopefully kind. I’ve had a long journey of deception with myself, of trying to mold myself into something someone else would want. And finally, after nearly fifty years, I’ve become someone I like.
I’m a loudmouth. I’m silly. I’m opinionated. I’m quirky. I’m a thinker. I’m a worrier. I’m an analyzer. I’m affectionate. I’m a fashion disaster. I’m impulsive. I’m addictive.
And I’m passionate again.