Hannah MacMillan

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”

You could argue that Romeo and Juliet is probably the most well-known romance story in the world. The absolute definition of passionate. And yes, once you get past the weird age gap and the slightly stalker-esque tactics of Romeo to grab a female’s attention, it really is a beautiful love story. To literally end your life because you can’t see a future with a person you’ve known for less than a week is… confident, to say the least. Confident, and definitely passionate.

When I was first told that this issue was themed around “passion”, I did shudder a little. I can’t say I’m a particularly passionate person. The slightest hint of any sort of cringey affection makes me want to shrivel up and erase my memory.

Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic. I do love a friendly hug, holding hands with my other half in public, a kiss on the cheek for family and friends. And I think it’s cute to see the old couple walking down the street linked arm in arm, seeing the sparks fly from a first date in a restaurant, strangers glancing at each other on the train, both thinking the same but not acting on it, just smirking at each other…

I see you sinking back in your chair… the second-hand embarrassment just eating you up at the thought. Your own imagination is too cheesy for you. The passion is too much for you to handle!

For me, the word “passion” automatically links to the cheesy movies. The Hallmark-stamped, the predictable plot points, the opposite attract personalities, the cringey jokes and the even cringier admittance of luuuuurve after a sprint through the airport.

Talking about that, what on earth is the airport security doing? It’s the middle of Christmas – busiest time of year for travel – in a huge airport, so you’re wait time is what, an hour or so in the security line? I’m sorry, but if I had been queueing in that, just waiting patiently to travel home for Christmas, and a skinny man who is dressed like it’s 2008, bolts through the metal detector to stop his best friend’s ex-wife jumping on a plane because he “can’t hide his feelings anymore”, I’d be a little irritated. At this point, I’m not irritated with skinny man. I’m irritated because a random man has managed to get through what should be one of the most secure and safe buildings in the world, and no one, NO ONE, is doing anything about it. While he’s in the middle of an awkward monologue with that corporate girly giggling away and acting all embarrassed but secretly loving the attention, everyone is just going about their business like nothing has happened. They’ll probably get a round of applause at the end. I feel like I should get a round of applause when the security guard shouts at me for not taking my shoes off fast enough, but there you go.

Sorry about that. Looks like my passion is airport security. Who knew?

I do wish I had a passion. Yes, I’m creative, yes, I enjoy writing and film and design. But surely a passion is something you can’t stop? Can’t stop doing, can’t stop talking about, can’t stop thinking about? I know people that are passionate about their careers, their hobbies, their futures. Whereas me? No idea. Nothing.

I don’t have a clue where my career is going.

I don’t have an interesting hobby, or play a sport, or collect anything.

And if I rant about where my future is going in one more of these magazines, I think my editor is just going to send me a diary. Or a therapy discount.

My partner, though he may not believe it, is insanely passionate about his career. I don’t think he notices it, but each night when he comes home, his eyes light up and his movements become more energetic. Usually, when he comes home and tells me about his day, it’s a rant of how terribly it’s gone. You’re probably thinking, “Well, if he’s ranting about it, it’s clearly not the job for him.” But that’s where you’re wrong. He rants because he cares. He can see the faults in the system but is unable to fix them because the problem lies higher up. He spends hours after his set working time just planning ahead to make sure the people he works with are constantly gaining a benefit, no matter how difficult they make it for him. He doesn’t see it in himself, but everyone around him can see the passion he has for his work. And I’m very proud of him. Ok, now I’m the one who’s melting with embarrassment in my chair. Lil’ Miss Hypocrite over here. Maybe I should stop being such a grumpy guts. I’m acting like the Grinch equivalent to Valentine’s Day. The Heart Breaker? The Tin Man? (Get it, no heart? Haha!).

I do enjoy Valentine’s Day, though. Although I can’t exactly claim that I’m the most romantic person on the planet (as I’m sure you’ve picked up from the previous rants), Valentine’s Day does give all of us awkwardly-in-love folk the opportunity to be a little bit cheesy. Treat them to a fancy dinner, surprise them with a gift that they’ve been hoping for, an excuse for a wee getaway. And who doesn’t love a pretty bouquet of flowers? The last time I bought my boyfriend flowers, he was convinced I’d actually just bought them for myself but wanted an excuse to have flowers in the house! I may have done that, but you will never know. So, as difficult it can be, do something extra cheesy this Valentine’s Day. Really go for it. I dare you.

Just don’t be jumping through the airport security, some of us have places to be.