Let's all face it: being aloof is the new cool. It has been since I was in middle school. Toning down your excitement is all the rage right now. Being excited or passionate about things is wicked cool and honestly? I'm completely over it.
Being raised by an elementary school employee comes with it's perks, namely an inability to be embarrassed by most things, and having the same energy level as the Energizer bunny. Growing up, my parents encouraged everything I loved -- buying Breyer horses for me(yes I was the horse girl), taking me to Denver to watch Drum Corps Events, letting me join the swim team/band/theater. Whatever I wanted was at the tip of my fingertips, and I couldn't wait.
I don't remember when the transition began, but someone began hinting that having any positive emotions was taboo. People were mocked for wearing their favorite TV Shows proudly across their chest, or for participating in spirit days a little too much. This plague of apathy spread until no one was safe, and we all became shells of who we once wanted to be.
High school saw, in me, a growth in apathy. But not for the things I cared about; for the way people cared about me. Sure, I started just as rugged as the rest of us – admit it, we all do – but I soon discovered that I wasn't making any more friends that way. Either I wasn't aloof enough, or I didn't seem to have any emotion about anything. Finally, I made a decision: I was going to like whatever I wanted with as much passion as I want, no matter what anyone says.
It worked. I found myself falling in love over and over again with everything I had once dropped. I picked up old series, watched new shows, and obsessively talked about all of it. I allowed for every positive emotion, every burst of excitement to flow through me and out into the world. I was met with backlash, of course, and scorn, but I found something better within it.
I found a group of people who unabashedly loved the things I loved, and supported me in everything. With their help, we turned whole clubs around. Suddenly, band was cool and exciting. People were glad to join it, and more were coming. Theater was no longer for the "cool people"; complete nerds were joining it and learning more than they ever thought possible. What started as a small idea in the back of my mind blossomed into a school-wide movement to allow Peer Counseling on campus.
Excitement is contagious. Passion is contagious. When you do what you love and love what you do, people start catching on. The biggest mistake I've ever made was allowing myself to pretend I didn't care. I spent years of my life, wasted, on being "cool" and "chill"; I'll never get those years back. But what I can do now, and what I challenge everyone to do, is to love.
Love your pets; love your television shows so much that you dress up as your favorite character every day; love your book series, your comic series, your movie series; love whole heartedly and unabashedly and completely. You'll find that your best friends are the ones that stick around.
And to those of you who have attempted to squash my passion for anything, or told me to "chill" whenever I get overly excited about things, I hope you find your love too. It's dark, living in that middle school mindset of indifference. Find your way out.
Until then, step off and let me live my passionate, incredible life.