I remember those little quizzes we took back in elementary school. Write three words that describe yourself. Our labels, our identities. Who we wanted to be or become. How we hoped the world saw us. How we saw ourselves.
I remember writing ‘creative’ because that felt like the one true word for the way I couldn’t stop writing or doodling in my margins, or continually was assigned the drawing parts of my group projects, or loved art class the most. The other two words were harder. I had always been an athletic kid, but did I want that label as one of the only other descriptions of myself? Or what about ‘funny’? I wanted to be likeable. Or ‘smart’? I wanted to put my brains first. Was ‘pretty’ too conceited for a fourth grader? ‘Short’ too superficial? Was I a bad person if I didn’t write ‘kind’?
I remember struggling with those quizzes, with those personality tests, with just about anything that asked me to figure out the person I was and wanted to be. How I saw myself—physically, emotionally—in comparison to the way people I loved, or liked, or knew, or even disliked felt about me was hard.
For the longest time I just wanted to be noticed. Then I wanted to be liked. Then it felt like I was constantly shifting my image to fit the picture around me.
Then I wanted to be strong, but even now I struggle with what ‘strength’ means—does it mean you are resilient or unapproachable, independent or intimidating? Can I be powerful, but delicate, too?
The more I think of my identity, the more I feel like I’m a mix of things, like maybe humans aren’t meant to be categorized so strongly. Maybe we’re just supposed to feel and care and be, and not have to understand what it all means.
But if I were to categorize myself, if I were to slap a sticker to my chest, and say ‘this is me,’ there’s only one word I’d want it to say: passionate.
Above all else, in every way that I live and love, I want to be passionate.
I want to be the kind of person who breathes authenticity into everything she does. Who, from the moment you meet her, is filled with light and energy and exudes that so overwhelmingly, you can’t help but feel it in your bones when she leaves.
I want to be the kind of person whose laugh lights up a room, whose smile brings one across your face unconsciously. The kind of person who never half-does or half-loves, but pours her entire heart into everything and everyone.
I want to be the kind of person who has a spark for life—who wants to grab what she can from the earth and really feel it in her fingertips. Who takes chances and opportunities. Who speaks her mind and lets her voice be heard. Who doesn’t give up, or hold back, but lives with such happiness in her heart that she doesn’t step on anyone else’s dreams on the way to reaching her own.
I want to be passionate. To love with abandon. To take on projects and plans with force. To smile. To give. To have a soul that shines with care for the world, and who brings good energy wherever she wanders.
I don’t just want to be strong or athletic, defined by my muscular build or the way I physically move. I don’t just want to be beautiful, appreciated for looks or outward beauty which doesn’t come close to my self-worth. I don’t just want to be labeled for my heart, for the way I love, because that doesn’t take into consideration my mind and the way I think.
I just want to be passionate. Because passion is what pours out into every part of me, what shows my lust for life and embodies my eagerness to grab and feel and do and appreciate everything that I’m surrounded by.
So if I were to label myself now, there is only one word that I want to claim as my own. A word that speaks to my creative side, and how I can’t stop making art and writing my heart to a page. A word that speaks to my ability to love, and how I just can’t walk away from people or leave when they need me the most. A word that speaks to my physical self—always going, always pushing, always moving at a 1000% pace. A word that speaks to my tenderness, but strength. My independence, but vulnerability. My power, but delicacy. My multiple layers and pieces that make me, me.
Give me a personality test now, and it would be easy; there’s nothing else that I want to define me. I am proud to be a passionate woman.