Deep Ellum is one of those places with just the right amount of charm, history, and sketchiness to be weirdly attractive. But then again, I'm one of those people that has just the right amount of naivety and riskiness to fully embrace weird places and encounters. It's our weekly day off, I'm with my friend Laura, and we're giddy about having the whole day to explore and pretend to be locals (until our matching backpacks give us away).
This morning, after poking our head into a cute but crowded cafe and learning they didn't have wifi, we wandered into a small fabric shop to ask for tips on the best places. It was called Petit Atelier and its existence was rich with life and passion. It didn't obnoxiously call attention to itself, but it came alive for the people that cared.
It didn't take more than walking in the door to see that shop's life and character belonged to its passionate owners, Mario and Michael. We never got the chance to meet Michael, but Mario greeted us as we walked in the door with bare feet and a kind, welcoming smile. We felt like we had just walked into his living room, and we soon learned that this wasn't far from the truth.
Mario and Michael's place existed as a shop, an art studio, and their home where they not only sold fabric and materials but tailored clothes that were inspired by CoCo Chanel and the Parisian fashion industry. Their passion produced their art which collided with their living, and on the corner of Walton Street they had decided to both plant and share their lives. There were socks as well as sewing needles strewn on the tables. The windows were tall and draped with silk curtains that made you feel like you had gone back in time. The sewing machines were set up ten feet away from the wooden staircase that led up to their tiny apartment. And the staircase was lined with books and literature that there clearly wasn't space for but were too good for Mario and Michael to live without.
From the moment we walked in the door, we could see that Mario loved his job because he got to share his passion with people. His eyes lit up when two perfect strangers walked in off the street simply to ask him about his work and educate us about his passion. It's why he does what he does. He came alive as he talked and we listened.
And that's what it's like when you have a passion. It wells up inside of you, pressing against your ribcage, only finding relief when it can be released. It builds and builds until it can't help but come out. Sometimes it explodes out and sometimes it just paints itself onto everything it meets. It exists best when it is creating or sharing, celebrating or failing. That's the best part of living out your passion: you never know how it will turn out. You never know whether this season will be one of celebration or failure or both. But one thing is for sure, you can't keep it inside. You get it out one way or another.
The fun part is when other people's eyes light up the way yours probably do. Nothing is more satisfying or life-giving than having passion bounce from one person to the next, excitement building and building as you cherish your creations together. People are the fuel that make passions continue; they're the encouragement and affirmation you need to keep taking risks because sometimes the explosion affects people in a way that affects you right back.