Happy day to all you teachers out there. You are awesome! Most of you are caring, passionate people who do fantastic things for the children (and adults) out there.
I have been teaching for about 10 years now in one way or another. Started with private music lessons, then started teaching music at private schools here in San Diego. I still teach at a private school and I am the head of the Music Department now!
Many years ago, when I was in high school, I was very depressed.
I hated life.
I hated people.
I ESPECIALLY hated happy people.
I thought they were all fake. I couldn't imagine how anybody could really be that happy.
I looked at my life and thought, "I don't have it that bad. I have a family that loves me. A house to live in. Food. Water. etc. Then why am I so f—ng sad and pissed off all the time?"
Well, that's a long and twisted road that we won't go down today. But, as I started figuring some things out and had some changes happen in my life, I started to find my way out of the darkness. I started to become…optimistic. Optimistic about things. About people. About LIFE.
I thought, "maybe its not all bad."
Then I started doing more journeying. Inward/cosmic, astral, transcendental, shamanistic journeying.
I discovered all sorts of fascinating things about life.
Electronic Dance Music (back then it was called "Techno") changed my life too. I went to events (raves) and had amazing life-changing experiences.
When I had graduated from high school, I was excited about life. I vowed to give back to other kids what some of my teachers had given me; a better perspective on life.
Being at those ages is freaking difficult. Life can suck. Things can be chaotic and if you don't know that it can change or improve, it may seem like its not worth going through.
I remember this one kid, I didn't like him because he was a big jock-type guy that was really cocky and pretty jerky to me on occasion. Anyway, one day, something happened. I didn't know about it but figured it out over the course of the day. A student had commit suicide.
I did not know the student, and, I didn't even really recognize his picture, we must have had classes on opposite sides of school I guess.
Anyway, the jerky kid was pretty sad in class and said that his cousin (not his real cousin, they just themselves cousins) had commit suicide. I had often contemplated it myself and thought it actually seemed like quite a good idea most days. And I told him something to the effect of, "Smart kid, he got out while the rest of us are stuck here."
He kind of hung his head. I don't think that was quite the reaction he was expecting.
Years later I met the mother of the boy who took his life and she asked me if I knew her son. I admitted that I had not. I felt really bad for her. I wondered what my family would have done if I hadn't made it out alive.
Its a crazy thing, life.
Sometimes you don't know what is waiting for you around the corner.
Everyday I come home I don't know what to expect. Elena is having a real tough time with the headaches and migraines. Its pretty much 24/7.
I remember when my mom was in pain 24/7, they figured out eventually it was a rare cancer, in the jaw/sinus area. Other people that have had that kind of cancer have had all their teeth pulled trying to get rid of the pain. (On a related note: DON'T HOLD YOUR CELL PHONE NEAR YOUR HEAD. I'm no doctor, but if you put something that receives and transmits electronic frequencies of that magnitude, you might as well stick your head in a microwave. Use your speaker phone like your life depends on it.)
At some point you gotta ask yourself, "Is it worth it?" Is it worth the pain? Is it worth the fight? The energy?
Its easy to say yes when things are good or even decent. But how long can you take the beat down before you throw in the towel?
Day by day. Hour by hour.
I'm making big changes right now. To my work, my business, life, etc. Have to. Can't keep it going like this.
Definitely going to keep teaching in some respect, but even that is shifting. I don't know if you have ever "made a deal with 'God'" but I did when I survived high school. I promised to help save kids like me by giving them music.
So far I have had a couple kids come back after they graduated. One in particular who really got what I was doing. He wasn't completely unlike me. He said thanks and he was doing good out there in the world. Not great, but good. Chasing the dream.
Anyway, that's why I teach. I may not be able to teach everyone, and not everyone who I do teach will be impacted. But, if I stick at it long enough, I know I'll reach a few.