Saturday, August 27, 2011

when passion is not useful in life.

I've learned a lot from my friend Sara lately.

She is a very wise and smart person, who has helped me understand a lot about myself and the effect I have on other people.

For instance, she is helping me understand the effect my passion has on other people...which is something I have never thought about.

This conversation came to be after I talked with her multiple times about the pseudo-relationship I was in last year. I told Sara how it never made any sense to me. When I was with this girl, who I was in love with, she seemed to emotionally and otherwise echo this feeling. But when I would leave, it was like we were still just friends. It was an awful and unhealthy relationship, and from my talks with Sara I understand why this all came to be.

Let me start off by saying, I am an extraordinarily passionate person. I put my entire heart into my relationships, my music, my work. My heart has never known protection or walls or what it is to be guarded. I am thankful for this (sometimes), because I believe this sort of free-flowing passion is one of the most pure ways someone can express emotion.

The first time I ever hung out with this girl outside of school was to study for our "Bible as Literature" class. The first time I ever hung out with her I knew I could love her like I have never loved anyone else before. Up until this point in my life, I never knew this feeling was possible. The only comparable feeling was when my band and I had an amazing show...but even that is not adequate. She just wanted to be friends, as the story goes, but that did not change how I felt.

So the more we hung out as strictly friends, the more I realized that I wanted to love her, that I did love her. And I let her know this. I let her know this through how I treated her, how happy she made me without even trying, how much joy and passion filled my heart and spilled out of my mouth when we were together. The next thing I knew, one day I was dropping her off after we had breakfast at Bob Evans. She got out of my car, but had yet to shut the door. I called her name. She stuck her head back in the car and asked "What?". I told her "Nothing!" but in my head what happened just then was she kissed me when she stuck her head back in the car. But there was no way I was going to let her know that. She could see right through me "You thought I was just going to kiss you when I stuck my head back in didn't you!" she said absolutely beaming.

And she was right, I did want to kiss her. So much. So, the next thing you know we were kissing in her driveway in broad morning light. There were fireworks and bombs and crowds roaring and angels applauding in my head. The girl who I had been friends with for 2 months before hand. How did this happen? I was confused. Did she feel the same way I did? She had too of...right?

Six months later, this was still going on. We were practically dating, but only when we saw each other. Other times she treated me like an enemy, a brother, a mentor or her mental therapist. And all of this confused me. A lot.

Fast forward to this summer where I have met a few beautiful women. All of them, loving time together, not so much time apart but when we are together everything seems wonderful.

I am sure you have your own, simple and wrong theories as to why this is.

My friend Sara has helped me understand these instances in a different way.

I am a passionate person. People get swept away by passion. Passion is a fast, but peaceful and beautiful river that when you put someone in that with you it's almost as though they are helpless to fight against it. Passion is infectious.

When you hang out with someone who is happy, what do you end up feeling? Happy.
When you hang out with someone who is sad, what do you end up feeling? Sad.
When you are together with someone who is super passionate, what do you end up feeling? The same thing they are.

All the great (albeit terrible sometimes too) leaders of the world were people of great passion. Undoubtedly. That is one of the huge reasons so many people listened and respected them. Because they spoke the convictions of their heart like most people don't. They weren't scared to show their emotion. They opened the flood gates and let the water rush in.

You get swept away by it. I think that's what happened in those failed relationships. These girls never wanted to get invested in me, but because of how passionate I am it just overflowed to them and for a few minutes maybe they felt the same.

Ultimately though, they don't. Passion can never change peoples mind (unless of course that's your intention). And I never want to have to try to win someone over to feel the same way I do.

I can not be with a girl that does not share equal passion. Not just about me, I believe, but about life. I have met too many woman that are easily swept up by passion and it ends up being confusing for them and hurtful for me because up until now I have NEVER realized the effects that passion can have on other people, in particular people that you are romantically interested in.

I hate this idea, though I believe it to be true. I hate it because it makes me step back from my idea of dating, my idea of just going all in. Because I think when I go all in that is when people get swept away by "the moment" and get confused with how they actually feel.

So the question then is have I ever dated a girl that TRULY liked me for who I am and not because of how passionate I am and how I just put my heart out there? And how do I know the next time if a girl truly is interested in me, or if my joy is just over flowing to her.

I want to be loved because I simply exist, and for the entirely of all the horrible and all of the great things I have done. I want a woman that is strong and does not let herself get swept away by passion until she knows she feels the same, or maybe what would make more sense is a woman who is equally as passionate about being vulnerable and loving as I am.

I want to be loved for my soul, like I love her for her soul and all the beauty and sadness and joy and her doubt.

Until that miracle happens, of God somehow being like "THIS IS IT. THIS IS HER." I have realized I need to keep my joy and passions in check with women. I need to not date, I need to not hang out with a girl unless we both genuinely see each other as friends or family (shout out to Ms. Fouts and Ms. Woods!!!). This seems impossible, to be honest, but I know that this is a step in the right direction for my life.

I don't want to become a less passionate person by any means, I just want to learn how to refine it when I am around a beautiful girl who I'm romantically interested in.

If you are a passionate person, be aware of how your passion affects other people. I am excited to learn more about myself through reflecting with others. I don't think I do that enough.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

10 Records that Continue to Challenge Me As An Artist (in no particular order)

In a recent mini documentary featuring Jay-Z and Kanye West for their collaboration record, West at one point says "I want to make music that is just SO GOOD that it makes other people not want to try to make music anymore."

What a statement to make. That was my first thought.

But then I thought about longer, and I knew exactly what he was talking about. Multiple albums popped in my head, albums that I not only thought were spectacular, but albums that made me think "Man. This is SO GOOD. I can't even begin to imagine writing something that good. I should just take a break."

There are records, for me, that raised the bar SO high for me as a musician and a songwriter that there came certain points where I would stop writing music for weeks to months due to knowing how far out of reach that bar they set was.

Here are some records that have truly challenged me as a musician, records that raised the bar to unthinkable heights that I am still striving, with every song I write, to reach.

1. Florence and the Machine: Lungs

2. Bon Iver: Bon Iver, Bon Iver

3. Matthew Good: Avalanche

4. The Ataris: Welcome the Night

5. 1997: ...A Better View of the Rising Moon

6. Lydia: Illuminate

7. P.O.S.: Never Better

8. Dashboard Confessional: The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

9. This Will Destroy You: This Will Destroy You

10. The Graduate: Anhedonia