Last night as I was driving home from my last Uber run, I was listening to the program ‘Music for Listeners’ on KRTU FM 91.7 here in San Antonio (hosted by Michael Thomas and Rolando Torres). And just as I got onto the highway to head home, they put on ‘Bad’ by U2, the live version from U2’s 1985 EP ‘Wide Awake in America’. All the lyrics of that song came to me even though I haven’t heard this song in a long time. And as I was driving along singing the song, I thought:
When did I lose my passion?
Then I answered: I never lost it. I just kept it silent. I buried it and hid it away. Why? To keep people from giving me shit about it, to not be ridiculed about it, to not be told I was an idiot for believing in something more than myself.
I first heard the band U2 in 1983 when I saw their video for their song ‘Two Hearts Beat As One’ on MTV and got into them through their album ‘War’ then their other two albums prior to that, ‘Boy’ and ‘October’. Then there was their concert film in 1983 ‘Live at Red Rocks’. They were punk influenced but they weren’t so much angry as passionate because they were (and still are) Christians. In fact, before their album ‘War’ they seriously thought about giving up music because they weren’t sure they could be rock ‘n’ roll musicians and Christians. Luckily, they realized they could stay true to their values and make the music they wanted to. And yes, they’ve been mocked and gotten a ton of shit for wearing their hearts on their sleeves. But they’re still around and still making music and I’m forever grateful for that.
All my life I’ve asked why the expression of passion, of faith, of all emotions from pain and sadness to happiness and love make other people lash out and hurt those who feel that way and show those emotions. For so long, I’ve never had an answer but now I do:
Someone who feels emotions, who is in touch with their feelings is an affront to someone who is not in touch with their emotions, someone who puts emotions into very rigid boxes and any deviation from that is an affront that has to be destroyed if it can’t be put into place. I say this because all my life I’ve felt like when I truly expressed my emotions there was someone who hated me for it and flat-out told me. And because this happened many times, I began to believe I was WRONG in having emotions and showing them in any way.
In the last six years, I’ve broken the silence around my thoughts and feelings. Putting my emotions into words has been very painful at times but well worth it. Because once you put your feelings into words, no one can silence those feelings ever again. You’ll take shit for it, but you can always tell someone to fuck off with their shit, too.
Music has always touched me deeply, and the song ‘Bad’ has made me cry over the years when I listened to it. But tears aren’t a bad thing and losing your shit over a song isn’t wrong either. Why do people have a problem with something like this, I’ve asked. And my answer: because some people don’t want to deal with emotions, not just their own but anyone else’s. I’ve always felt like no one wanted to see me show emotion, like crying or happiness. I used to think my timing always sucked and that I never could read people the way I should. But reading people and trying to navigate their emotions while brutally suppressing my own is NOT my purpose in life.
Over the years, I’ve stayed away from music for long periods of time. It’s like I felt like I had to listen to my thoughts or my silence, and I felt like I had to try not to feel so much. Now I know that’s a load of bullshit and I feel like I’m being a rebel here. But I’m just a pissed off middle-aged bitch who has run out of fucks to give to any asshole in this world.
So, you don’t have to give up your passion, your idealism, or your faith despite what feels like a big tidal wave of fascism, conformity, and conservativism that is threatening to all of us. DON’T GIVE UP YOUR PASSION, YOUR IDEALISM, OR YOUR FAITH! Put your thoughts and feelings into words. Feel your emotions from good to bad and every way in between.
And to anyone reading this who may be saying to themselves that wasn’t your intent to make me or someone else feel bad, then ask yourself what was your intent then. Ask yourself why you think and feel the way you do and keep asking until you find all the answers you can, but I will warn you that you might not like the answers you find, and you will have to deal with them. I say this to counter hate, to try and bring genuine emotion out of the silence.
I haven’t lost my passion and I never did in the first place. I’ve just gotten in touch with it. I embrace it and stand tall in the face of anyone who will try to destroy it knowing they never will. Passion lives forever.