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Summer Reinvention: Forgetting Passion and Finding Myself

Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 14
I was always good at hide and seek.

Hiding is easy. You have to find a good spot to crouch in, and stop breathing. Pretend you’re a piece of furniture in the room and everything becomes remarkably easy. It’s the seeking that’s harder, actually. You have to differentiate between the pieces of furniture and the un-breathing objects and realize that one of them is live and animate.

I started freshman year with bucket-loads of ambition, an answer for everything, and exaggerated expectations. After Googling “how to get into Harvard” approximately a quarter of a billion times and faithfully taking notes, I realized that what I needed was proper work ethics, loads of intense extracurricular and academic awards, and – the big zing! – passion.

Passion. Now that word stops me short. Eight or nine months ago it meant the usual academic and extracurricular achievements I prided myself on. It meant my dramatic flair and my love for writing. It meant my unrelenting desire to become a pathologist. Passion became sort of a placeholder. Something to lean on.

And now, I’m kind of afraid. Because after a lot of ups and downs this year, I really don’t know what or who I am. I was always able to classify myself as “passionate” before and no questions were asked. Now, though, all the things I accepted as facts seem to be elastic.

I have a theory. My theory is that if you have a smile plastered on your face, people have no reason to doubt its reality. This is essentially what my life was like for the last year. It’s so easy to put on a façade if you wish as desperately as I did that it was true. So, for the last year, I was vivacious, gregarious, and extroverted; I was involved in everything and smiled at everyone.

Yes, I looked so happy. But inside I was hurting. Because I had a mother sick with degenerative disk disease and a weight problem and school had a constant tedium I found upsetting and I felt ill at ease with some of the religious practices I observed and I didn’t feel as though I had friends I could rely on.

It’s not as easy to come to terms with those things as to hide behind the passion excuse. Although I do love the writing and acting and learning, that’s not the person I am. In me is a desire to grow and teach and help people and be good and kind and love those around me. I think that little part of me is a bit scared to rear its head because it takes a whole lot of courage to challenge the rest of my personality.

Like I said, hiding is easy. It’s the seeking that’s hard.

The person I was looking for is hard to find, but she is there. And I’m still looking for her, but I’m going to find her.

This is the summer I hope to find myself, passion notwithstanding.
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
Thank you for this essay. You somehow articulated how so many people feel - hiding is easy, it's the seeking who we really are that becomes the most difficult part. I can tell, though, that you are an incredibly gifted writer and I love your voice. I hope you continue to share your thoughts with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs
Stageoflife Co-founder
Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 3:45:59 PM
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Comment by Inspired

Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 14
Thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate it!
Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 6:41:35 PM
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Comment by Nate DeRose

Joined: 12/11/2012
Posts: 90
Congratulations, your essay has been chosen as our 3rd place winner for the June Summer Reinvention contest.

Here is a link to the summary page:

We are looking forward to your future submissions!
Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 7:55:32 PM
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Comment by Inspired

Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 14
Thank you so much!
Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 8:45:51 PM
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