My mother and father like to talk about the night I was born. Early morning is more like it—4:47am. According to the both of them, I did not cry when I arrived. Instead, I looked around the room like I was taking it all in. The doctor said, “It looks like she wants to say something.” I was ready to live this life, even in the delivery room.
I have this memory of being almost four, when we had just moved from New Orleans to Richmond, Virginia. I sneaked out of our house and walked to a nearby neighbor’s home. We had not yet met this family, and when they answered the door, I said, “I want to see your house.”
They tried to give some kind of logical reason why I couldn’t but I–and I swear, people, I remember this–said, “I. WANT. TO. SEE. YOUR. HOUSE.” (Even before making each word its own sentence was cool, I was doing it.)
This poor, confused couple let me into their house and when I was done with the first floor and they tried to shoo me home, I demanded to see upstairs. As we were wrapping up the upstairs tour, my frantic mother banged on the door and returned me home. Now that I’m a mom, I’m sure she was utterly humiliated and terrifically confused by my behavior. (And I’m kind of wondering why this couple let a pre-schooler boss them around.)
Why did I go to the neighbor’s house and demand a tour?
The same reason I was born looking like I wanted to say something, I think. The same reason that you’ll find a blog post from me on most days, and the reason I hate sleeping.
I’ve never wanted to go to bed and, while this is the case for most children (can I get an Amen, Moms?), I was an extreme case. “You didn’t want to miss anything,” my Mom says, and this is still so true.
I remember staying up all night long to rearrange furniture during junior high, then getting dressed and going to school in the morning. On church retreats I would be the one with the idea to stay up all night then go watch the sun rise. In college, my poor roommate and now best friend, Ginny, suffered at the hands of my bizarre nighttime whims.
“Let’s make a life-sized mannequin and put it in the girls’ room next door!”
“Let’s dress up in weird clothes go get donuts at midnight!”
“Let’s go roller-skating in the hall!”
“Let’s paint something!”
Sleep, though a necessary evil, is time wasted. Time when I am not doing, creating, adventuring, being. In a world full of things that I want to do and experience, sleep seems like the enemy. If I could do away with all sleep, I would. Because I’m driven, and sleep cannot quench that drive.
This weekend at Blog Elevated, both John Saddington and Karen Walrond talked about finding your passion, about finding what is YOU about you. Why you are blogging, why you are writing, why you do what you do. Since the conference, I have been smoldering with ideas and creativity. I have a book to write (in addition to, you know, those other ones I’m already writing), blog posts to write, and a whole lot of other projects. Yesterday I spent something like five hours baking. BAKING.
So what is my passion? What makes me ME? Where, exactly, is this drive taking me?
I am not sure I can answer those questions.
The drive keeps me up at night, keeps me churning out blog posts and pumpkin cupcakes and lists and newsletters and taking photos, but I do not know where it is taking me. Niches are good, I keep hearing. (NOT at Blog Elevated, which I appreciate.) Find your niche and stick to it, they tell me. (They also tell me not to write long blog posts. Whoops.) Make some goals! Have a plan! All of these are very practical-sounding.
But I like my life bursting at the seams, the niches bleeding into one another as I run from a blog conference to roller derby and come home to bake and write a book about faith in Jesus. There are also these little people, these ankle biters, and I love the smell of them and I want to be creative with them and watch them play and I want to make a fort and pretend to be a monster and listen to the stories they make up and the dreams that left them breathless at night.
That thing, the common thing that marries all the random in my life together is my drive. I am not making money, really, and though it would be lovely to get paid to write, I will not stop writing if I don’t. I would love to have a little community here, a bunch of rabid/crazy followers who subscribe to my personal brand of eclectic chaos. But I will keep writing into the void even if you never comment and you unsubscribe to my newsletter. I can’t stop. I am compelled. I am driven.
My drive and my passion are somehow about creating, and that’s a very vague answer. But I feel like God has given me some kind of passion for living that plays out in a lot of different ways in my life. There are times when I give the drive to write or blog or roller derby too much weight and have to re-prioritize my head, remembering how important the people and the relationships are. Those things drive me as well, but I am also driven to something that seems sort of grander, though not necessarily more important, than being a wife and a mom. That’s just me. At times I embrace it, and at times I feel weirdly guilty that I want to be a mom and love my family, but I also want to follow wherever this drive is taking me beyond that.
I am thankful for the urgings of the speakers this weekend to take a look at my life and my passion. In some ways I wish that I had a better, more clear goal. Instead, I am left only with a drive for living and creating.
I feel like it is a gift. It is something God knit into the fabric of my tendons and my cells in the womb. I think I will be labeled a crazy old lady when I sneak out of the old folks home in search of frozen yogurt with sprinkles and a nice sunset. I hope, as long as I am peddling my brand of crazy on this blog, you come along with me.
How about you, readers? Have you thought about what makes you YOU? What are your passions? What is your drive?
Linking up with Imperfect Prose this week.