My one year balloon sculpting anniversary is coming up on the 27nth of this month and I can’t help but reflect on this whole experience and psychoanalyze it.
One of the things I have been taking a serious look at is why balloon sculpting? Of all the things I have done, which are many, I have never stuck with anything for more than 6 months usually, there are some exceptions where it lasted longer. I have pursued acting, poetry, stand up comedy, painting, and composing music and even more things. I have delved “passionately” into all these activities. I have won contests and gotten praise for my abilities for these things. I have even won money for a lot of the things I have pursued and have been encouraged to pursue them professionally. Especially stand up comedy.
For whatever reasons, my drive and interest would shift and especially once I started to excel at any of them. If I reached any kind of significant point on the journey with these things, then I would lose interest. Oh I am good at this, what else can I do? I would totally lose interest after I reached some sort of goal. But that wasn’t enough of a reason, thinking about it I realize there were brick walls and worst of all, I wasn’t passionate enough to climb over them.
Randy Pausch once said that, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Brick walls are inevitable. I don’t care how good at something anyone is, you are going to run into obstacles and predicaments that test your committment to and drive for anything. One of the brick walls is one’s own ego.
If there is anything I have learned from analyzing myself from this past year, it is that one way to know you are truly passionate about something, is if your passion for an endeavor is stronger than your ego.
What do I mean by this? Well, you are going to have highs and lows. You are going to have to be able to deal with failure and success in such a way that it doesn’t overcome your passion. You will want to quit sometimes, you will feel insecure, you will perhaps have flops or fall on your face. You will feel like a loser or perhaps be haunted with the curse of potential and feel the burden of needing to prove yourself. There are going to be elements that you find are tough and daunting, if not with the art or activity then with dealing with people and business aspects of it. And no matter what happens, no matter if you fall on your face or make huge mistakes and feel like an utter fool, your passion has to matter more. Your joy and need to do something because it selfs you so much needs to exceed your ego, because your ego is fragile and highs and lows are inevitable.
You have to be in a weird state of being content and yet never satisfied as stagnation can kill a passion as well.
If you are too confident and brought down a peg, again, if the passion exceeds the ego, then one won’t give up and will be willing to go through the humbling pains of growth because the passion trumps all.
There is self-discipline required so that you don’t over do it and get sick of your passion or burn out.
The self takes a back seat because the passion is more important, and ironically the passion will give more and more of a satisfying sense of self.
I could not put my ego in the back seat of the other ventures I have pursued before. I feared to fail too much. Even though I had done well at other ventures and had people really encouraging me to take it to the next level, I was still too scared to fail and flop and the emotional tax was just too high and not worth all the struggle and work to really turn anything into a long term path. My hunger for approval and praise was also just too high and not sustainable, so that if I didn’t receive a certain consistency I would starve. Bottom line, I cared too much about what other people thought and it was more about me than my “passion” of the week.
This is not so with balloons. I am not afraid to fail in pursuing this to a really high professional level. Even if people thought I sucked, I would still enjoy the activity. The balloon sculpting is an end in and of itself and not simply a means to an end, as I have learned is crucial from studying Aristotle.
I remember when I started getting into balloons, several of my friends made fun of me when I said I felt I found my special purpose,lol. I would say, this is it! This is my passion! I found my thing!
They felt it was the flavor of the week. It was a huge deal when I passed the 6 month mark and kept going.
So again, why balloon sculpting?
I have pondered and reflected in-depth on this question. It boils down to, it fits my personality, my talents and my theme in life. One constant theme in my life is that I am a big kid and what I love to do is bring people into a child like state of mind.
My stand up comedy was all about reminding you and getting you back, in a light-hearted way, into your child hood and your thought processes as a kid. I am light-hearted. I want to make you light-hearted.
My joy is to feel like everyone is in kindergarten again. A first meeting and yet a reunion of all our inner children who are invited to come and out and play and make an appearance. That is why I walk around, a 31 year old woman, with Care Bear hats on,lol. It is why I have My Little Pony wallets.
Balloon sculpting, more so than anything I have done or could do, achieves this goal to lure out other adults inner children to the most instant and greatest degree. Everyone loves balloons. It is one of the few delights that keeps delighting us all of our life.
That child-like wow that is so filled with wonder is a very specific wow that I seek to gain from people. It is how I connect with people. It is what makes life meaningful for me. Life is too short and too wonderful to ever lose that kind of awe and wow. We have such a short time on this earth, as Oscar Wilde said, “Life is too important to take seriously.”
Life needs to be filled with color and balloons certainly bring that to the table. I am also the type of person who likes to collect and needs variety. I get bored easily and I need constant new. One of the things that deflated comedy for me, is I got bored of sharing the same jokes and the rule of thumb is that it takes 5 years to perfect 5 minutes of comedy,lol. Ahh! I collect ideas and I collect pictures of my balloon work and there are countless possibilities and it will take a life time to make everything on my list of balloons I want to make,lol. That is something that helps keep me interested and provides me challenges when I need them, and also just mindless stress free fun when I just want to make something simple.
I can pace myself with challenge and comfort basically and my mind is ever stimulated with endless possibilities and new techniques and presentations.
The having just a picture long-term works especially nicely as I don’t have to worry about anything taking up space in my house,lol.
I love that it engenders respect from people too. I am not one who easily would afford respect from others. Especially professional and serious people. Balloon sculpting is like this magical bridge. I love how easy it is to cross that bridge, into that magical land of respect when I make them balloons or even just show pictures. People respect competence, even if they do not get you as a person whatsoever,lol. Balloons are more universal and the proof of ability and the likability of a well made balloon is more objective and easier to evaluate. By expanding my social circles, it helps me feel more fully integrated in my community or any community and helps me grow as a person and gasp- grow as an adult,lol. I can hold my Care Bear head up high amongst the suits. 😛 This is not imperative to keeping up with my passion but is a significant cherry on top.
In short, I have found that balloon sculpting self’s me and connects me to others more so than any other passion that I have had. This is it. This is the thing for me. 🙂