Let's think back to kindergarten for a second.
While there were lessons we enjoyed and teachers we admired, there was no sweeter sound than hearing it was playtime.
During playtime, you came together with kids who liked the things you liked, as well as kids who were very different from you. The kid whose parents let her watch PG-13 movies. The kid who picked his nose when he thought nobody was looking. The kid who knew every answer in class. But somehow, some way, during that hour of pure bliss, everybody came together and played.
Sure, Tommy got his ball stolen sometimes. And Teresa wouldn't share. But, looking back, for most of us, playtime was the pinnacle of our early academic careers.
Now, ask yourself this: What excites me?
Odds are you don't just have one thing that excites you, or even two. You have plenty. These things can be referred to as your passions. For me, I'm passionate about listening to and telling stories. I get excited about creating cool things that people can connect with, whether it be through design or writing or online, and I love when I can encourage that creativity in someone else. Having the opportunity to give people, especially kids, that platform to express themselves creatively is incredibly special for me.
However, we live in a culture where we're often only given permission to focus on one thing, and sometimes that thing doesn't even excite us. And the reality is we've bought into that lie. We lay the passions we have on the chopping block at the expense of doing what we think we should be doing or the thing we went to school for.
But recently I've been learning to let my passions play together. Just like in playtime, you bring things together – some of which may get along, and some that look completely contradictory – and, even if it's not perfect, play happens. No matter how hard you try to silence them, the things that excite you are going to find a way to make noise somehow.
Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work, says, "You have to keep all your passions in play in your life. You can’t discard the things that you love, because if you keep them around you will figure out a way to integrate them all eventually."
Car Window Poetry is me figuring out a way to integrate various things I love into one cohesive project. From designing a card layout to giving local poets a space to express themselves to encouraging others to express themselves with their own poems, this project is very much me letting my passions play together. And thankfully, people are supporting it, which continues to amaze me.
My favorite artists are those who don't stay in their expected lanes. Frank Ocean, R&B singer, creating his own magazine. Kanye West, rapper, yelling out during his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show, "I worked on a video game and I wanted to show y'all." Donald Glover, actor, directing his own show, rapping, and writing screenplays.
Letting your passions play together is not limiting yourself, just like in the same way you playing with kids different from you in kindergarten didn't make you less human. Rather, it hopefully gave you a greater appreciation for humanity, as well as new perspectives you could learn from and an understanding of how to interact with others.
What's the playground your passions will come together on? Tweet @carwindowpoetry and let us know!
Thanks for reading!