The Eternal Fear of Artistic Passion and Pursuance | Teen Ink

The Eternal Fear of Artistic Passion and Pursuance

May 3, 2019
By Aplg8 BRONZE, Pekin, Illinois
Aplg8 BRONZE, Pekin, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

As a relative believer in the idea that we, as human beings, only get one life in this universe, the wonder of the disbelief in passion intrigues me. Why do individuals choose to take average, everyday jobs in place of those filled with passion, love, and respect? During my research, I discovered that the true enemy is fear- fear of the unknown, of loss, and of risk. Society is the one that creates such fear- a seedling that settles in and prevents us from creating a truly better world; however, fear can overcome. Through perseverance, knowledge, and acceptance, the threat of fear can be removed and, in place, it can be utilized as an ally. This path, while fearful, must be taken- it is the only way to truly improve upon the world in which we live. If we desire to pursue improvement, in both self and public, then we must pursue passion.


As a man who struggled with his public image for years, the notorious Charlie Chaplin himself would know the pain of feeling as though he had failed; yet, he never faltered. He continued pushing and striving to bring positive messages to the world, even when those messages were rejected. In such a way, Chaplin succeeded both metaphorically and physically: he eventually won over the minds and hearts of the people, and he never broke his own morals by giving up. One of the quotes Chaplin lived by was “You’ll never see a rainbow if you’re looking down.” He believed that if one is not pursuing their dream, then they will never achieve it. If that is the case, then why do the people of the world, many of whom have cosmic interest in the artistic field, choose to not pursue their passions? If it is as easy as working for it, chasing after such vivid dreams, then why look down rather than up for a rainbow? If reaching our goals is achievable, why do we, as the human population, choose to not run after them? Many traits seem to affect this courage, such as gender perceptions, wealth, societal opinions on career path and more allow for fear to set in the minds of the world’s population and sway them towards more “traditional jobs” in preference of the passionate careers the world should be striving for. Chaplin knew the risks of pursuing such careers. He knew where it could, and would, lead him- both the successes and failures. He decided to pursue such a life still due to the fact that he knew the truth- he needed to pursue it. The containment of such knowledge created a near requirement in his own mind. Fighting such desire, as he had realized and expressed through his life’s work, only hurts oneself and the world. While the specifications may waiver from individual to individual, this same principle applies to all people of Earth. It always has and it always will- the reasons as to why, as well as why the world’s population often avoids this pursuance, will be analyzed in the following essay.

Unnecessary fear creates more danger than the implications of what is feared itself. This fear, while designed to create caution in the mind to aid in the avoidance of dangerous situations, actually prevents the human mind from pulling from the courage necessary to overcome the obstacle at hand. Rather, it deflects our focus from the true issue and places it upon rather “improper” obstacles, or ones that are no true threat to ourselves. For example, it is explained how this scenario is true in the September 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil where “Among the many lessons of the homeland terrorist attacks of 2001 was that fear has powerful public health implications. People chose to drive instead of flying, thereby raising their risk of injury or death.” (Dealing with the Dangers of Fear: The Role Of Risk Communication). In this case, the fear created from such attacks caused individuals to place themselves at a higher risk in order to settle the stress and anxiety present due to this seemingly grander and more present threat. This recklessness is arguably far more dangerous than taking on the fear itself. The same issue is present during a fear of anthrax infections where “Thousands took broad-spectrum antibiotics to prevent possible anthrax infections, thereby accelerating antimicrobial resistance” (Dealing with the Dangers of Fear: The Role Of Risk Communication). Thus, it is evident how resisting against one fear only causes more issues to arise- included in this case is that of artistic passion. Pursuance should not be avoided merely due to a fear, especially when avoidance only causes more issues in the end. However, these issues may not only be societal but also in individual and public health. Concerns surrounding health, including “chronically higher-than-normal levels of stress suppress the immune system” (Dealing with the Dangers of Fear: The Role Of Risk Communication) may arise. In fact, it is present that “In one poll of emotional responses to the attacks, during 1–3 October 59 percent said they had experienced depression, 31 percent had difficulty concentrating, 23 percent suffered insomnia, and 87 percent felt angry.” (Dealing with the Dangers of Fear: The Role Of Risk Communication). Mental health is an idea that is becoming increasingly important to our society; thus, it is to be asked why we, as both individuals as well as a society, willingly choose to decrease our life fulfillment by avoiding pursuance while increasing stress and fear that leave a burly impact on our mental health? When we choose to place our fear on the most present issue, we allow fear to control our minds and bodies- a circus mirrored model of what should be in actuality. Where, in light of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, what had come of the “Nile virus, or the risk from drivers using their cell phones? Those risks weren’t gone. They had just been replaced in our awareness by hijacked airplanes and bioterrorism” (Dealing with the Dangers of Fear: The Role Of Risk Communication). Danger, if searched for, is present in all situations- such a fact is certainly no reason to avoid a pursuance of passion. If an individual can accept the risk and danger of texting while driving, as well as, after time, terrorism in the skys, then why should this fear- the fear of failing, be any different? Nevertheless, it can easily be said that a fear is always present due to a “stressful stimulus” (What Creates Fear), created by a release of pathogenic chemicals that cause symptoms such as “racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response” (What Creates Fear), thus our minds have every right to fear whatever obstacle is present. In addition, it has been shown that “Risk-perception studies have found that as our awareness of a risk rises (this is sometimes referred to in the literature as “availability”), so does our fear.” (Dealing with the Dangers of Fear: The Role Of Risk Communication). The more we learn of an issue, the more we fear it- thus, in logical fallacy form, knowledge is what creates fear. However, this most certainly is not the case. Knowledge, while it can induce fear, can also aid in the release of fear. The more you learn of an enemy, the more you learn that they are human just like you. If one becomes informed, they may realize that the issue at hand can be overcome- it may take work, but it is possible and necessary. The truth is that “Fear wants you to take it on, to compete with it and to force yourself to flourish. Success in all areas of life entails risk and the courage to make bold decisions.” (Huffington post). Allow for such to occur, and miracles will ensue. As Franklin Roosevelt once said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

While fear itself can easily be flipped into being a motivator is the pursuit of passion, society often causes individuals to have more fear than what is truly necessary. Where society is an abusive stepmother to the individual child, the individual child is a moth to the light of their teachings. It’s a method that, far more often than not, has more negative consequences in comparison to positive. Society poisons the individual’s mind with false and threatening information, with which the individual sees no issue with. A truly gruesome symbiotic relationship that has lasted since the beginning of human evolution- a oak that takes many spiraling forms. One of these forms are perceived gender stigmas. Due to societal commentary that occur throughout our lives, there are “skewed ideas we all have in our heads about what men and women can or can't do” which “are incredibly hard to root out.” (Chicago Tribune). These stigmas, such as that men cannot have emotions nor can women do any exclusively physical activities, prevent individuals from pursuing passions. An example of this is expressed in the modern day culture web television series, which ironically takes place during the late 1950’s, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, where the titular character breaks the mold of gender stereotypes and pursues her passion of stand up comedy. The series follows a path that leads Mrs. Maisel to a point where  “Her husband wants her back, her boyfriend just proposed to her, and her career is rising like a hot air balloon. She has free invisible daycare and enough money for Chanel hats.” Just like all other women, the truth is that “Midge shouldn't fall for that insidious myth about women and careers.” (Funny girl: Mrs. Maisel shouldn't fall for that insidious myth about women and careers). By ignoring society’s judgemental stares and pushing through the fear of such, one can pursue their passion fashionably as well as becoming a role model for others- a flag in the middle of battle field, giving inspiration to those who need it. However, gender isn’t the only face that this issue wears. Another societal commentary in the pursuit of passion is that of mental disabilities, such as Aspergers; most specifically, this event is true during WWII experimentation, where “Asperger's Children leaves readers with a haunting moral question regarding his place in psychiatric history: how many children did his diagnoses save and how many others did they send to their deaths?” (Determiner of Fates). Society creates beliefs around what traits a person has, such as Aspergers, that affects how well they can function in that society. However, one can argue that, as individuals, we are the ones that create society’s commentary. Continuing upon the example of WWII experimentation, the choice to view these people as such was that of all individuals within that society. As individuals, we are the ones who create society’s opinions. Thus, are the victims of society’s views not the victims of us, as individuals? Are we not the ones who victimize and prevent the pursuance of passion? “It was also in the Nazis' New Order that he and his colleagues focused their efforts on children whose "deviant behavior" cast doubt on their ability to conform to the spirit, as well as the physique, of the ideal Aryan” (Determiner of Fates). It was during this horrid period in time, these people were not considered worthy enough to live, let alone pursue their passions. This belief was a societal one, shared by the majority of Germans at the time. Yet, that is just it- this belief, just as all societal ones, is not an absolute. Society is made up of all individuals, this much is true; however, it functions as a filter. In this filter, ideals stick for long periods of time and the majority rules. All functions that betray this fact are filtered out. In truth, societal opinions are a symptom and must be treated as such- their negativity can easily far outway their benefit, and do. “When pyrogens bind to certain receptors in the hypothalamus, body temperature rises… One purpose of a fever is thought to be to raise the body's temperature enough to kill off certain bacteria and viruses sensitive to temperature changes… people sometimes die from fever.” (Why does your body temperature rise when you have a virus such as the flu?). These opinions can be helpful, such as keeping civilization in line; however, nearly always the negativity flattens the positivity and the fever kills the patient. Martin Luther King Jr., a man far beyond his time, once said “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.” (Martin Luther King Jr., “I have a Dream”). Following in the footsteps of minds like his and pushing through societal opinions is the only true way for us to follow our passion and succeed. This unnecessary fear it creates is just that- unnecessary.

Through the previous research provided in this essay, it is evident that fear is the largest issue in the pursuance of passion; however, how is such an emotion to be overcome? The truth, not surprisingly, lies in knowledge- in being informed upon the issues that lie in wait beyond the shadows of society. For example, the acting field is one of great varying degrees, education, work quantity, and so much more. In thought, the entire field is truly a dependent variable, which can be a very daunting and threatening aspect; however, with enough research, this fear can be weakened. “The average Actor/Performer salary in the United States is $55,944 as of March 28, 2019, but the range typically falls between $46,102 and $68,306.” where, as stated,  “Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.” (Salary.com). Suddenly, as you begin discovering more and more, for example an actor’s “medium of choice” (superscholar.org), which affects the skills you need to possess, you begin to feel less threatened. Where “theater actors need to have great voice projection” (superscholar.org) and “film actors need more subtle movements and expressions as audiences can view them close-up” (superscholar.org), it is realized by a pursuing actor that the level of skill-based diversity previously believed to be required truly isn’t. Stress is relieved and fear is weakened. Other facts, such as how “a college education is certainly not mandatory to succeed as a professional actor or actress” (learnhowtobecome.org), “Acting workshops… provide one of most effective networking opportunities available.” (learnhowtobecome.org), and how “An experienced agent can help actors succeed by offering a huge network of contacts” (learnhowtobecome.org) all release the fear captured in the mind- it’s realized how, while risk is certainly involved, the mind has nothing to fear. However, it can be argued that, even after being informed of issues, obstacles can still arise. For example, how companies often “...regularly cast a small ensemble of actors to play multiple roles” (Where'd I Put My Character? The Costume Character Body and Essential Costuming for the Ensemble Actor). This issue, no matter how informed, can still arise and cause tremendous stress levels to persist, which, in turn, can create obstacles and failures. In addition, it’s quite evident how “The "business" as they call it is all about dealing with rejection, and handling yourself when you come across a part that you didn't want at all in the first place.” (Difficulties that Actors Face). Failures upon failures upon failures will create the same issues as the previous obstacle- stress and a lack of confidence. However, it’s a battle of the mind. With pursuance, knowledge, and persistence of confidence, these obstacles can be overcome. It “involves learning about composure, yet maintaining confidence.” (Difficulties that Actors Face). Passion pursuance is a game of the mind. As long as the player realizes that, he loses the ability to lose.

We fear what we can not foresee- the unknown. We choose the “relative safety” of traditional jobs, such as that of an office worker or a law enforcement officer. Thus, we avoid true passion as it leads to an unknown and unaddressed future. It is fear, created in our own mind by being provoked by both our thoughts and society, that holds us in the darkness of the world. Though this fear can be created by gender perceptions, societal opinions, wealth, and much more; however, such threats, while still exist, are not to be taken too seriously. Where there is a will, there is a way. Through knowledge, courage, and perseverance, the same traits that keep actors afloat, one can keep up with their passion and succeed. The journey is long, difficult, and generally full of far more failures than successes; yet, to fully succeed in life, it is a journey that must be taken in order to bring the full closure to the mind, body, and soul.


The author's comments:

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