Beyond the Passion

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Passion. So many thoughts, feelings and emotions, condensed into one beautifully simple, yet complex, word. There are so many different circumstances that passion can refer to. Defining such a radiant, powerful phrase can be a challenging task; at best, here is an honorable definition which may explicate some of the word’s more prominent meanings.

As strange as it sounds, the origin of the word “passion” is passio, which means suffering in Latin. Typically, when one experiences passion, feelings of suffering or despair tend to arise as well. Passion emits an unbridled energy that is unlike any other. It is unmistakable and undeniable. Historically, passion was interpreted much different than it is today. Take for example, the widely recognizable story of Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare encompassed passion and suffering through Romeo and Juliet’s relationship; he demonstrated the extent of suffering that the two endured up until their untimely deaths, solely to live in the passion of each other’s company. They endured two very different sides of passion throughout the story – their anger, anxiety, and frustration in a physical sense they tried and failed to forge a relationship against their family’s wishes and a purely emotional passion that arose from their deep feelings of love for one another. While passion does have a technical definition, it is really one’s own to define.
Hebbel once stated, “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” This is very true, in the sense that, without passion, there is nothing great to be done. Passion fuels the fire that burns in each and every individual. It motivates us to do both the mundane as well as the challenging tasks we are faced with each day. Hebbel along with many other great historians, authors, religious icons, and other famous and unknown individuals have been quoted about passion in ways that show the variations of how people interpret this and the personal meaning the word has to them. Passion can be attributed to feelings about a place, person, thing, idea, and like Romeo and Juliet can range from a drive to get something accomplished to a profound enduring love. A simple Google search can emit page after page of such contributions to the literary world.
Great pieces, such as paintings, composures, poems, films, and other types of artwork are all passion driven. Passion is the creativity behind masterpieces; a pianist’s soft melody, a painter’s portrait, a director’s film. Each individual is driven by devotion to succeed in the goal they are striving to achieve. A singer without passion for their melody will lack the emotion and connectivity to the words that elicit the joy, anger, or undying love to their listeners. A painter’s brush strokes may fall flat on their canvas and just appear as random lines instead of a great masterpiece without their artistic enthusiasm. Passion is creativity of the soul for many individuals.
When the word passion comes up, typically our minds journey to thoughts of intimacy. Two people joining together to express their love for one another is one association of passion. Due to this association, the relationship aspect of our lives is brought up. We all yearn for a burning passion towards another person in this world that is like what Romeo and Juliet shared; minus the unfortunate death of course. When passion takes over, physically and mentally we experience a connection with a significant person or object. Passion in a relationship is incredibly important, whether it is a relationship between lovers, a mother and her child, or a loyalty between siblings or best friends. Passion can be seen between two people beyond a physical intimacy between lovers, it can be the gentle touch of a mother to her newborn or her protective instinct and unconditional love for her children even when they reach adulthood. It can be seen in the trust and loyalty between two friends and the way they hurt when the other is hurting or feel joy when the other does. It can be the drive and ambition between teammates for their sport or fans rejoicing the big playoff win of their hometown team. All of these are connected through passion. It keeps us yearning and always wanting more from that relationship as well as always wanting to invest more of one’s own time and energy into that important element in your life.
However, passion isn’t always seen in a positive light. Passion can be misdirected as an obsession or infatuation. This type of passion can be dangerous and harmful to the unaware object of desire, whether it is in the physical or emotional sense. A celebrity stalker who torments and scares someone with their attempts to connect with their object of desire or a religious zealot who kills hundreds of innocent bystanders during a suicide mission still have this deep passion for their cause but it is not viewed in the same romantic or encouraging way.
To me, passion defines who I am. Throughout the past few years, I have endured my fair share of pain and suffering. I have taken that despair and converted it into a burning devotion to the elements in my life that are most important. My passion is dance; my body is my tool, and the stage is my canvas. This passion I know is my own to define and belongs to only me; just as every other dancer in the room or on stage may have their own version of passion seeping through their veins and dancing for a million other reasons at the same time. To me, passion is the drive and emotion I feel when that stereo turns on and the music starts to seep into my blood and my heart beat becomes one with the bass of the melody. I begin to have an intrinsic connection with the lyrics, the instruments, and the spirit of the singer and naturally translate their words and sounds into movement. My mind automatically blocks out all distractions for the time that. I am in my moment, my own private world. Passion sets me free from any misery and it allows me be who I want to be for that short period of time; the way I can just escape from my surroundings with no demands of school, no responsibilities, or no parents for the next few minutes, few hours, even few days. I can pretend to be someone else or embrace the complicated but extraordinary individual that I am and the infinite number of feelings that I have at that particular moment. My passion swallows me whole and can take over my body for days on end. Dance is the only focus that I have. It is my outlet, my means to express my resentment, my sorrow, my frustration, my confusion, my exhilaration, my peace. It is how I keep sane. Artists have outlets they use to define their individuality and create their masterpieces. Passion is what allows us to do so.





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