Author: Alex Blank

Passion

Passion

It happened quickly. So quickly, I hadn’t noticed. Suddenly, I saw and felt everything as it was. I had never believed in the notion of denial—I am a type that analyzes everything closely, which means I am always prepared for anything I might feel. I know everything about myself, and I don’t hide anything from myself, period. Or so I thought.

The denial wasn’t about my love for singing and music, no, that was, and is, as tangible as the words on this screen. Like these words, it had been very real—but also locked behind a glass door, its own screen. Untouchable. An exhibit at a museum. The museum of pre-knowing. Freud himself would have been proud.

I realized that my biggest love, my first love, was a toxic kind of love. I surrendered my entire self to it, and it didn’t give anything back; except for love, but that belonged to me in the first place. It originated within me, and then connected to the variations of dreams and expectations, strengthened by the 27 Club, by fans screaming like animals at the figures on the stage, by the special treatment, by belonging to a higher realm of being. Through the virtue of having a “unique tone” and a gift for transferring emotions, I believed I could have reached that realm. Maybe I was right, maybe I wasn’t. It doesn’t matter at this point. What matters is that it almost destroyed me. Is such a tiny and naive potentiality of greatness even worth it?

I hated to admit that, but when I finally managed to invite the possibility of taking a break…I felt relieved. I felt as if a huge weight was finally taken off my shoulders. It was still there, but it was staring right at me instead of breaking me apart from within. Somehow, it was easier to look at it from a distance, to see it in its natural state: exhausted and burnt out. A love chewed over and spit out. A passion project gone wrong. I stared and stared at it, and after a self-destructive period of “grieving,” for the first time in many years, I began to organize my life around myself. And I have found solace in writing.

I signed up for a creative writing class at my music university. After a group free-writing session, I was the only one who was granted applause for their piece when we were reading them out. This might have given me a push towards, ‘Okay, why don’t you try this out, let that destroy your life?’ but I knew better at that point. I treated writing like something on the side, like a lover I would sneak in and out of things as I pleased.

Although I try to maintain a distance towards everything I might potentially love, I do treat writing more seriously now. How couldn’t I? It gave me comfort when I was suffering from heartbreak. It offered a new kind of love: a selfish love, locked in a solitary room, hidden under a blanket. Writing was for me. And, thankfully, it still is.

With writing, there is no performance anxiety, there’s only the aftermath, which is easier to handle.
There is no immediacy, no need for spontaneity or regular interaction. In terms of personality, lifestyle, structure—me and writing are a perfect fit. Come to think of it, isn’t that what love is all about? Love should feel safe. It should feel heart-warming, comforting, fulfilling. It shouldn’t be scary, heart-wrenching uncomfortable, no matter how thrilling or passionate it might be. It’s difficult to let a first love go, but first loves are not always meant to last.

I still love music with all my heart, I always will. I will always be a singer. But I’m also a human being, who has a right to choose where to put in their passion. That’s what passion truly is—not something we receive, but something we put out into the world. It’s not passive, but active. Only through being so, it enables us to control it, to understand it, to live on equal terms with it. To change it, if need be, because we are not fixed.

Music might have very well saved my life; writing has sustained it.

After moving to London in 2018, Alex has been experimenting with various forms of writing. Through prose poetry, journalism, playwriting, and so on, she’s currently working on a memoir. While trapped and infuriated within London crowds, she likes to explore the themes of identity, loneliness, and one’s relationship to time.