‘Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for.’
- Kevin Claiborne
Let’s play a game of Russian Roulette.
You and I are seated at a table in a smoke filled room; there’s an old six shooter positioned perfectly between us with a single round floating in one of its chambers. The heavy aromas of mildew and fear cling to your skin causing you to perspire. We’re alone. There’s no one here to save us; the only entrance to the cell is destined to remain locked until only one of us remains. You’re scared. So am I. Our lives have been reduced to this moment where we’ll play a game of chance to see who survives. Nothing else matters right now. It’s just you and I.
There’s a coin beside the gun. We’ll flip to see who shoots first. I pick it up and use my thumb to send it spinning through the air. You call heads. It lands tails side up. I shoot first. I pick up the gun, spin the barrel and stare you dead in the eye. It’s nothing personal. We just lucked out you and I. Our only chance of survival is to have the six shooter’s hammer strike home while the weapon sits in the palm of our hand.
My arm lengthens as I draw down on you. Time slows. Your blood thickens in your veins, your heart rate triples in a desperate attempt to push it through your body. Your hands are clammy. You’re freezing despite the humidity in the room. What do you think about in this moment of absolute fear? What decisions do you live to regret? How many passions were left wanting before you found yourself locked in a room with an irrational writer and a gun?
The answer should be none. We should be living every day to the fullest. Regret should be just a word in the dictionary. But it never is. We humans are creatures of hindsight; we are forever bound to look back at moments and note missed opportunities and failures.
Did you fail to chase your dreams? Or tell your lover how much they mean to you? Were you disappointed that you didn’t invest in those risky shares that ultimately paid huge dividends? No matter what you thought of in your moment of fear you did have regrets. At some point you settled for something other than your true passions and now when your life flashed before your eyes you wished you’d never been so foolish.
You ignored your passions and committed slow suicide. The final scene of your self-sabotage was merely a crazed writer with a gun. Every single sacrifice you had made prior to you and I being locked in a room was what lead you there.
It’s a loaded statement I know. To say that you are committing this form of slow suicide is sure to anger some; and it should. When Kevin Claiborne coined the expression he wasn’t trying to make his audience feel good. He was trying to piss them off. He wanted readers to sit back from their desk, or rise from their armchair and say, “Screw this guy. I’ll show him who’s ignoring their passions.” He wanted anger and emotion. He wanted you to rise and stop settling for less than you deserve. So do I.
It’s why I locked us in that damn room. It’s why I put a busted old six-shooter on the table and told you there was a single round in the chamber. It’s why I ground back the hammer so that the round would never fire. I don’t want to kill your dreams. I want to piss you off to rouse you from your slumber so that you actually start chasing them.
The only thing standing between you and your dreams is the excuses and sacrifices you keep making. You’re comfortable and I get that. I am too. But this state of comfort is suicide season for anyone who dreams of becoming something more. My comfort comes in working a cushy job where I earn a decent wage for doing very little. I could sit here for the rest of my life and allow the flames of my passion to die. I could let the momentum with my writing fade until all that’s left is stone cold ashes of what could have been. Or I can douse the flames of creativity in petrol and watch it burn brighter than ever.
It’s easy to ignore a passion and to deny your heart the opportunity to accomplish what it pumps for. But to do so is a travesty; it is to commit emotional and creative suicide. Think back to those moments of fear when you were staring down the barrel of that shitty old six-shooter. Think of the regrets that haunted you. Remember that spike in your pulse as you fretted over an end that you knew was ultimately inevitable. Do you want to look back on your life and shudder at the comfort you achieved by allowing passions to die? Or do you want to be someone who set the world ablaze and turned a passion and a dream into a reality.
Commit emotional suicide, or step outside your comfort zone and follow your dreams. The choice is yours. You wouldn’t play Russian Roulette with an unstable writer and a loaded gun unless you had no other choice. So why do we actively chose to do so with our dreams?