Peace is a lie, there is only passion. – The Sith Code
I find myself at odds with my passions often enough these days. Not so much that I have them, but that I subject others to them.
I once subdued them, and it made me miserable. I didn’t write. I didn’t play. I didn’t create. I didn’t express. I kept my feelings to myself, kept my mouth closed, and kept everything inside. The only one that ever knew what was going on inside was me, and even then, I sometimes forgot it because I simply buried it so deep. And it nearly undid me. On a spiritual level, it killed me. I was miserable. I was angry all the time. I was betraying myself, and who I wanted to be. And in my misery I was making others miserable.
Eventually I gave in and let myself out. It’s been an almost unstoppable flood of emotion and expression and passion since. It’s like all the years of restraint have been being made up for. Not that that’s always been a good thing. I think it’s good in the sense that I’m being much more true to myself, even if it means others are uncomfortable or disapproving of me and my expressions and emotions. I fully recognize that sometimes others are hurt by the ways I allow myself to express my Self; it hurts me too, since I try very hard not to cause harm to others with my words or emotions (though admittedly I can be very caustic at times). But the fact is, it happens. And it hurts me when it happens. It’s a thing I struggle with, and probably always will, at least as much as I struggle with finding the balance that temperance brings.
Temperance… that’s a thing. Or it’s supposed to be, at least in the language of the ideals I tend to value. But it’s also a thing I struggle with. I think that some people, in particular those who know me best would argue that I’m not the most temperate person around, and some would probably even call me intemperate–hell, I’ve been called dangerous, toxic, unstable, and accused of having “flipped my lid” and being “fucking crazy”, so I think intemperance is almost a compliment at this point. To me though, temperance isn’t about being some eternally calm zen master, it’s about knowing when enough is enough and stopping there before it becomes too much (in other words, excess). And that is a thing I also struggle with. Sometimes I get carried away and driven by a mind set on fire by a heart that burns too hot for the soul it carries.
I’m not one of those people that thumps my chest and believes in the “You have to accept me as I am!” nonsense. No one has to accept anyone as they are. When two (or more) people want each other in their lives, concessions must be made on both sides, which includes sometimes reevaluating aspects of themselves and making changes that accommodate the other person. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. We only have to accept ourselves, and if we can’t, then we need to change. We can choose to accept someone else or not, just like they can choose to accept us, and the choice is only right or wrong for the person making the decision. We can’t make others accept us, but neither should we try and force someone to change themselves to accept us. In the end though, anyone chiming the tired old bell of “Take me as I am or fuck off!” is simply taking another route at demanding acceptance, and odds are, they won’t find it. They’re also the same people who are most likely to fail utterly at understanding social mechanisms and will be the first to complain when they find themselves at odds with the conventions of the social circles around them.
I feel like I’ve gotten off track here, and maybe I have, but honestly, I’m not really sure where this thought process is wandering, so I’m just going with it. If you’re still here, cool. If not, that’s okay too. I’m doing this for myself anyway. I just feel like sharing. Or something.
In some ways, I envy people that live passionless lives. The thought of living in a black-and-white numbers based world where restraint is the measure of life makes me cringe. The world–we–are so full of color that I can’t imagine subduing it. Sure, there are neutral tones in life, and they too are a necessity of being, but they’re only part of the painting. And they aren’t lines, they’re shadows and shapes that give life texture and depth and perspective and focus. Life isn’t meant to be lived in a box, and the problem with anyone that tries is that they are often trying to fit the entire world into their box.
I can’t imagine at this point in my life living without surrendering to my most primal instincts and emotions on a regular basis. I can’t imagine not painting life with the entire spectrum of colors available to us, while still allowing the black and white and grey to be part of it. But that’s the trick, isn’t it? That’s where that balance comes from, and ultimately, it’s an issue of balance: riding that edge is when I produce my best work, but it’s also when I do the most damage to others. But there again, to me, balance isn’t about remaining still and calm in an unmoving state, it’s about keeping one foot on either side of the line, and allowing a dialogue between the heart and mind that is most beneficial for each other.
In the end, I’d rather be overly passionate and prone to giving in to those passions that subdued and restrained in a box of my own or worse, someone else’s, making. It means that often enough I weather the storm, but I’m okay with that.
Because I am the storm.