Do you ever feel as though your passion is a hot air balloon?
I totally do.
It’s beautiful and buoyant. It rises above all other things and spurs you on to great heights. It’s ignited by a flame that burns deep within and floats dreamily along of it’s own accord, taking you along for the ride. This is the poetic facet of passion. This is the fun part. What people don’t tell you about passion is that it fucking sucks sometimes, too.
Hot air balloons catch on fire. They spontaneously combust. They get buffeted around in the wind and rides get cancelled when the weather is rough. This for me is parallel to my passion, which of course is writing. When the north winds blow a little too hard, the rain starts to fall and the hydrogen ignites, all my hopes and dreams tend to go up in smoke along with the balloon until Valentine Balloon Tours commissions a new design and we’re released into the wild once more.
I hate this up-and-down pattern. When I’m in a stinking, fuddled, fermenting lull, my desire to write catches fire and burns like old film. When I feel as though I’m floating on clouds, lit from within by a fervent desire to create and filled with passion, the words just pour out. So how to strike a balance?
Usually, falling into a lull starts with something so, so small. Like missing a credit card payment, or having an argument with a sibling. I feel crappy for a while, but the problem usually resolves itself and I move forward with minimal angst. Then, something else happens. I might realise I’ve gained a couple of kilos, or forgotten about an event I was supposed to attend, or had an argument with Nate. Then I feel tired. Nothing major; nothing a coffee and a good night’s sleep won’t fix. I write it off as a bad day; I don’t bother writing and I collapse late into an uneasy sleep.
Next, something really crappy happens. Like losing a job, having a falling out with a friend, or failing a subject at school. I catch myself thinking, ‘If I had have just spent more time focussing on other things and not my writing, this wouldn’t have happened’. I feel guilty for not working, simultaneously feeling guilty for not working on the other areas of my life. This usually results in night after night of broken sleep, perpetual tiredness and an ominously oppressive feeling of overwhelm. But if I’m serious, I don’t really even think much about writing at this point. By now, I’m just trying to get from day to day.
And then, the Universe pulls out the big guns. I’m getting tea-bagged by the biggest cahounas there are – those belonging to the entire world. Knock back after knock back. Debt. Loneliness. Oppressive fear. Guilt. The guilt is the worst part. I believe that I am a champion of love, compassion and positive thinking. So when I can’t bring myself to love or think positively, I feel as though everything that I live for, everything I have worked towards, is a total lie. And then I rememeber that Christmas is just around the corner, sharply preceding New Years, and it’s all I can do not to book a one way ticket to Bali, crawl into a warong and live there forever, surviving on self pity and nasi goreng.
And then, today, I picked up a pen, found a piece of note paper with the corner ripped off, and started writing. And just like that, my hot air balloon service is back in business. I’m not even sure how it happened. I think maybe it was a higher power – the Universe, God, or something. All I know is, I was lying in bed crying my eyes out just because. And then suddenly, I wasn’t anymore. I wrote a letter to whatever it was that got me out of bed, got dressed, scrubbed out and reordered my office and made myself a proper meal. Which is far more than I’ve managed to accomplish for myself in the past couple of months.
If your passion is ebbing, your life imploding, your world evaporating – pick up your pen, put it to paper, and just write. I have no doubt that today, it may have saved me. And I know that things are going to be okay. Maybe not immediately, but for the first time in months, I have an actual plan. And it feels so, so good.
How’s your hot air balloon doing at the moment?
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