Monday, March 14, 2011

Passion Vs. Irritability

Passionate: (adj)
having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strongfeeling; fervidexpressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling;emotional

easily annoyed; readily excited to impatience or anger
abnormally sensitive to a stimulus.

Recently I have found myself in more situations than usual where I am speaking with passion about a topic and the reactions of those around me suggest that they are perceiving my passion as irritability. After this miscommunication, the tone does in fact turn more irritable but not because I was irritable about the topic but more that it is a socially normative concept that only people who are angry or "abnormally sensitive to stimulus" will engage in such intense emotion about a topic. Anger/irritability is the only socially acceptable form of passion. Even if you say the exact truth and that truth is so poignant and convicting that the other person(s) question their own "moral high ground," if you say it in anger it can be written off. Anger is powerful and the dismissal of that power is all too common in this "out for myself" "sticks and stones" world.

There is a part of me that is rather offended by the culturally accepted norm that people in general and ESPECIALLY women do not and should not get passionate about something unless they are angry. Since when have we decided that it is alright for us to be emotionally castrated by denying the pure and simple fact that beliefs, especially any worth holding, are also worth our PASSION. I hold firm that if I'm going to bother to believe in something I will do so fervently. There is no reason for me to "calm down" or "take a deep breath" while I'm speaking passionately because there is NOTHING to calm down about! Calming down would only diminish my outward display of how strongly I hold to a belief that I am expressing. And to calm down or take a breath as to not offend others by how passionately i speak, am I not implying that my beliefs are less valuable to me than the opinions of others? How strong then do I hold onto those beliefs if I am so willing to lay them aside to appease the cultural norms that stifle passion and individual beliefs for the sake of not appearing angry?

Passion, not irritability or passivity, is what fills your being to enable you to do dangerous things for something you believe in. Passion is the thing that gives you courage to stand up for yourself and those who cannot stand up for themselves. Passion is what caused Christ to turn tables in the temple. And passion is also what caused him to allow himself to be put to death. His passion for us was radical, sometimes dangerous and always culturally uncouth. Passion is powerful because it's what allows cowards like me to speak truth and reason with conviction; a conviction that I suppose can bring conviction to the hearts of others; that is why it is socially dangerous. In a world that turns from the energy of autonomy, conviction and passion is a 180 from the path this world is on.

To be passionate is NOT to be irritable or angry. Likewise anger is NOT a display of your passion.
I intend to continue being passionate, continue speaking what is on my mind and heart. Beliefs are not things you should come to flippantly, nor should they be held so loosely that they will by thrown to the floor by the sideways glance of a social-manners-marm.

I'm passionate, deal with it.

I will not calm down.
I will not take a deep breath.

And no... i'm not angry.

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