This past semester, I screamed at someone so loudly for so long that I lost my voice for a week. Since arriving on campus last fall, I have tried to fight at least 50 people. I’ve gotten so worked up over the lack of pie in the dining hall that I have actually burst into tears, leaving my friends clueless, uncomfortable and slightly amused — a mix of emotions that they would soon come to easily recognize.

From that small description alone, it’s easy to see why so many people have the same idea of me: angry. But I’m here today to set the record straight — I’m not angry, just passionate.

I know what you’re thinking. “Passionate” is just a word angry people use to feel better about themselves. I might not always be a joy, especially if I don’t have my daily afternoon snack. But solely defining a person to just one range of emotions, especially someone like myself who has so many of them, isn’t really doing that person any justice.

Allow me to broaden the image I created above. Yes, I am just as snappy as a chihuahua that hasn’t been let out to pee in over an hour, but there is more to me than just negative emotions. An entire drawer in my too-small dorm room is dedicated to birthday party supplies for my friends, filled to the brim with balloons, streamers and enough glitter to make a kindergartner on a sugar high jump for joy. I have created support groups for friends who I know are going through a hard time.

At first glance, it’s easy to think these two descriptions have nothing to do with each other when, in reality, they are exactly the same. Instead of just accepting things with a blank face, or not really caring about the world around you, I tend to get so excited about things that I go all out — whether it’s playing party planner for my friends’ birthdays, protesting for causes I believe in, or trying to fight anyone who hurts those I care about. It’s not rage, it’s intense passion for life, not rage.

That’s why I get so angry when people call me “angry.”

The idea that people can go through their daily lives without getting riled up just a little bit is completely beyond me. There is so much going on in the world, so much to get involved with, and being completely neutral or unexcited about anything is simply wasting the gift we have been given.

When you can’t get angry, or excited about anything, it means you haven’t truly experienced it. I have never heard of anything more lonely, than a life without any experiences or emotion at all.

So, yes, I am going to continue to overreact and scream at the top of my lungs, and I suggest that you do the same. Does that mean you are angry? No. Passionate and excited? Of course. Crazy? Well, that’s up to you to decide.

mintona2@miamioh.edu

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