I’m starting to learn that I really like people who are intense and don’t compromise that intensity when it comes to anything that they do. I think intensity gets a bad rep. When I think about intensity, I think about someone rigid who can’t relax or adapt to new situations. Somehow I think we’ve been conditioned by society to think that these sorts of extreme feelings are bad or undesireable and to limit the amount of time we allow ourselves to feel those. We try to condense to the average so that we fit into the mold given to us. But a free wield of intensity in creative pursuits is incredibly alluring to me. It reminds of the philosophy to make everything you’re doing in the moment the most important thing. If you’re choosing to do something, why half-ass it rather than committing fully?

Ava talks about how we should permit intensity because it means allowing yourself to feel more alive. Feeling intensity is feeling a wider breadth of emotion and greater depth of detailed sensation. Intensity means that you’re living and experiencing more of the life that’s passing by around you.

I distinctly remember a moment in middle school when the school was putting on a production of Seussical. I was obsessed with the Disney Channel at that time, and I secretly really wanted to be involved in the production. When it came time for auditions, we just went 1-by-1 in a big group, raise-your-hand style. In a blur, my hand shot up, and I was standing in front of all my classmates with a paper script in my hand. I took a deep breath and started giving my best impression of Horton the Elephant reading through the script. There was a moment where I could almost see two paths ahead of me: one where I got lost in the act, the magic of the performance and gave myself away to the full immersion and another where I snapped myself back to reality. As soon as the latter came into my mind, it was over. I had caught myself getting lost and fell down the hole of critically analyzing my every move and word from the perspective of whether it matched my “image.” I had stopped myself from embracing intensity and following the path of energy and life. That moment lodged itself in my brain as a reminder to never stop myself from being passionate about an idea or caring too much about a pursuit.

This is the 62nd installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here.