Turning to Passion to Overcome Comparison
I was seventeen when I saw one of my favourite post-rock bands live for the first time. Before the concert, I had only listened to one of their albums but it was an album I played over and over, immersed in a trance, almost possessed by it. I remember walking around the apartment with headphones on, melting with the walls as the sounds turned my body into something fluid, something no longer finite, something that became one with everything around me. I was ravenous for this music, feeding off it day and night. I used to call these obsessive episodes "Godspeed Fever", for the name of the band was Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Not everyone's cup of tea, but I was lucky to share this passion with my brother.
Our seats were high in the beautiful theatre. The band was far but we could see everything from there: them, their instruments, the screen that played mesmerising images, the rest of the audience... and the magic that unfolded like waves rolling over each of us. Music is meant to be listened to but that day I could also see it, feel it. And it did something to me. I let the waves wash over me and transform me and whatever this band was giving me, I took it home and it has lived within me since then.
Perhaps that's why the first tattoo I ever got is a design from the album that introduced me to them.
What this means is there is no competition, or at least there shouldn't be. We're all swimming in an ocean of creative works that touch us in infinitely different ways. And it goes beyond creative work; it encompasses everything, all the things we love and those we love. Us, too. Nothing and no one is meant to reach every single beating heart in this world. What a relief. What a relief in times when we feel small and insignificant. As we strive to be better, as we're struck with jealousy when we think others got it right and we got it wrong, all we need to do is remember the works we love, the works we're passionate about because we see immense value in them, regardless of whether others see it too or not.
I sit back to immerse myself in the sounds of the guitars, the violin, the drums. I'm seventeen again. I'm wearing green cargo pants and a simple tank top. It's May and it's warm already. I stumble upon a tall man with long, black, curly hair before the concert and I intuit he is one of the eleven people who are going to gift me something miraculous. (It's GY!BE and it's the early 2000s. Not easy to recognise the band members, which added to that aura of mystery).
When I leave the theatre, I'm blazing with passion. Everything has value but not everyone is able to see it. Tonight, I've seen it. I've seen it and it has transcended what I've experienced inside that theatre. Tonight I see value in all things, including myself. Tonight all is alive and vibrant. Tonight darkness shines as much as the light.
All it takes is returning to that which awakens our passion.
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