Last night I mathed. Not only did I math, but I scienced. And in fact, the science was the math! What the actual hell??
When I was in school (and walked uphill in the snow both ways, right?), I don’t think I learned this stuff in either classroom – math or science. That said, I can’t deny that from my sophomore year on, I basically skipped as many classes, as often as possible.
Ours was the home with a bunch of kids running around all the time. Even on a “slow night”, when it was just my own family for dinner, there sat at least six to ten of us, depending on whatever church activity was happening for whom that particular evening.
Without fail, each night at dinner the phone rang with what I knew would be a prerecorded message from Glenn Gwen, Sunset High School Principal, calling to let us know that one or more of the students in our home missed one or more classes that day. The calls were mostly about one student who missed more than just one class: Me, and thankfully I was quicker than anyone to pick up the annoying “sales call” that seemed to constantly interrupt our evening meals.
It should have come as no big surprise, then, that by the time I was a Senior, I would not be graduating with my peers of the last six years. Still, at the time many of us are applying to colleges, when I was told by my counselor I would have to remain in high school for two more years if I wished to actually receive a diploma? I balked. Two more years? Nope.
Once I understood the consequences of my lack of giving a shit about school – and the consequences of my parents not giving much of a shit, for that matter – I was not only shocked, but defiant. No. Way. No fucking way.
Truth is, for as lazy as it appeared I was – and admittedly had become, to be sure – I had struggled in the classroom for the entirety of my life. Save the days of learning through play and creativity back in the age of single digits – (Wow, what a time that was, eh!) – my brain struggled to remain still longer than a few minutes. And those few minutes of “stillness” saw my mind saturated with every other thing I could think of other than the topic before me. And then? I sprung like Tigger at the metaphorical thought bubbles floating about my unrested mind. The subject at hand? Gone, away, done.
This was often confused with obstinance by my teachers – and it soon actually became so as I began to feel that I was just stupid, or at the very least not smart enough to sit the fuck down and learn. So why the hell was I wasting my time, anyway? And the worst of it was, I loved to learn – and I absolutely still love to learn. Just not in a room filled with so many distractions. And, let’s be honest, I’m mostly talking about other people.
In the end, I left school, took my GED and went to Europe for three weeks to learn hands on more than I had probably learned in the prior six months sitting (and more often not sitting) in a classroom. And then I happily began my life.
For some time, the route I chose was as positive for me as was negative – although now my feelings have changed. For years, I felt I was not much more than a high school drop out – marred by the term, believing I was marginally smart, able to squeak by but certainly not capable of any kind of greatness. And those childhood dreams of being a writer? They grew more and more distant as I aged.
Today, finding opportunities to show myself just how not dumb I am is exciting. “Helping” a 14-year-old with her science/math homework (although I learned far more than I taught) is one of those opportunities. Writing – and especially hitting that publish button when I do write – is one of those opportunities. And hittin’ the road with Trix, a dream, and a shitton of faith is one of those opportunities too.