Flux

perpetuum mobileIt has been nearly two months since posting last. The other weekend I packed-up…again, and again returned to the DFW metroplex as I’ve done the last three Septembers, to once again substitute-teach in three different school districts while tutoring 3-4 nights a week. I have become a good walking definition of fluid. I’m sure the Lakota Indians, or the Comanche Indians, or any tribes of the Plains which followed the buffalo, would undoubtedly take great admiration in my transience. I know what it means to have mind over matter, but I have learned even more what it means to be a visitor; a grateful visitor.

Continual movement is said to be healthy for the mind and body. Exercise and do it regularly, and you minimize or alleviate many illnesses and recurring ailments. From a purely metabolic, intestinal, or cardiovascular point-of-view, flow is good — very good. In that light, I am doing well. Yet, I miss my time writing and posting here. How then is that good? Why can’t I write and post while driving, moving, teaching for 9 hours then tutoring the last 3 waking hours of the day or while sleeping or eating? Footnote: that was the device of “literary dramatization.” But I hope you catch my point. This will be an update-post, not my usual egocentric cerebral literary stimulation my millions of readers and followers have come to enjoy here — yes, laughing is permitted.

After three summers of moving and fighting to remain determined in my pursuit of full-time teaching-mentoring in one of two fantastic districts, the kinks in my armour are beginning to show. I am questioning whether I should continue pursuing traditional teaching. The pursuit is becoming financially and physically unsustainable. Redirection is inevitable and considering another path and its consequences has been one of many thieves of my blogging time. Though these three years have been mentally and emotionally frustrating, in contrast they have taught me to realize the benefits.

Failure Is Not An Option?

My father raised me to not be a quitter. If you are a regular visitor to this blog, or privileged to know me personally over many years (wink), then you find the previous sentence very ironic. I do. Loyalty, determination, commitment, were all daily lessons; pillars of character that my father lived and taught until July 1990 when he quit. That particular month and year those pillars became further and less defined to me simultaneously. Yes, notice the irony again. Right there is the paradox of life; of how two distinct concepts actually become one harmonious system. If I’ve lost you, bear with me.

drill-sergeant-screamingWhat does it mean to never give up? Go down fighting? Have faith all things workout in the end? The answers are typically admirable noble traits taught through the ages, especially in professional sports, used to motivate underdogs. Those battle cries and speeches are well and good, but I have found them to be incomplete. Admittedly, I am growing weary of knocking and banging on assistant principal’s doors only to be told in the end “Thank you but no thank you.” I can hear my Dad’s voice, “do not give up! Do not quit!” Find more doors to bang on! And after my knuckles become blue or bleeding, the question eventually becomes what do I need to do differently, because this horse has been beaten pretty dead.

Why do I keep doing the same thing repeatedly for the same result merely for the sake of not quitting? I laugh, where is the glory in that? Why am I afraid of giving up or failing? In hindsight, I think what I SHOULD actually be afraid of is paralysis! Paralysis to adapt and change. Be more flexible and much less rigid in a Universe of flux! You see, those dramatic motivational speeches and battle cries are for the moment, like a narrow lens, and do not address or capture our origin of fear. If fear, disguised as failure or quitting, is allowed to become over inflated, it will enslave me and influence, perhaps dictate, my decisions. I would imagine that leads to a life of knee-jerk reactions. Sign around neck reads: This person kicks frequently. Stand close at your own risk!

Ugh, not good. Not for me.

The Illusion of “Complete”

In his theory of special relativity, Albert Einstein proved that time as we perceive it does not exist. Events occurring at the same time for one observer could occur at completely different times for another observer. That implies there is really no beginning or no end, just varying observers and various speeds of movement. A beginning and an end are illusions created by our brains to cope and survive in our self-aware world of experiences. All things emerge and all things decay. But all things will change forms. Over a century of science has shown on a microscopic or atomic level all things are moving, emerging and decaying, but they are at speeds and levels unseen by our naked eye. For example, our Sun is burning out, but in our lifetime it doesn’t seem to be.  The seven continents are surrounded by seas and oceans, but there were not seven before, and there will not be in the future.  Everything is constantly emerging and decaying. Perhaps the above sub-title should not read The Illusion of Complete, but instead The Reality of Incomplete.

Below are some pictures of my current home. Is my life at the moment really that bad?

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At this point I ask myself, what feels better…what gives me more hope and confidence, and less fear? Is it the battle-cry meaning of “Never say die, failure is not an option,” or The Reality of Incomplete? I know exactly what I would choose. One offers potential doom, disappointment, or pain, the other a never-ending story. One is fiction, the other reality. One stressful, the other calming.

In my procession of perspective I have come to realize there is still more, always. My situation is not complete, nor is my development. Is it ever? Is it wise to assume an experience has only a singular interpretation, one ending? Mmm, the paradox and irony continues.

Side-effects of Flux

I did not come from a wealthy family.  However, we certainly did not grow up in poverty. This middle ground has afforded me in my later years a simultaneous appreciation for what is had and what is not had. When one is required to move efficiently and often, you soon wise-up to what you really need to live adequately or comfortably, and what you don’t need. You learn what is fluff or extra weight, and what is truly important. half fullLiving in an RV for nine months then traveling over 300 miles to live for three months in relative luxury, soon teaches these gratitudes. My current life of embraced gratitudes are sometimes challenged or reinforced when others, with a different value-system, try to convince me my way of life is sub-standard or unappealing. I beg to differ. They’ve forgotten that all things change, both quickly and/or very slowly, both with intent, and just as much for them as for me.

My current occupational pursuits coupled with their illusive rewards, do not tell the whole story. I have found enormous amounts of value and gratitude for what I HAVE discovered, what I have gained. What I certainly know is that my story does not have an ending, and no destiny is set, especially mine. I can either work with it, embrace it, understand it, or I can fight it and be perpetually frustrated, angered, and bitter with myself and those around me. No, I have much to be thankful for.

I choose to be flexible, adaptable within my current means and unknown untapped means! Besides, am I not a visitor here? Am I not ultimately just passing through in this form? With that said and a grin, this is how I choose to end this post:

To Be Continued

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Antoinette Tuff

antoinette tuff

Hero Antoinette Tuff

This will be a news story told the next several days a thousand times, praised a hundred different ways, and likely gone viral on social media.  This last Tuesday in Decatur, Georgia a simple office clerk at an elementary school, full of students, treated a psychologically unstable gunman as a human being and averted a potentially bloody all too familiar school massacre.  The risks that Antoinette Tuff had put herself can only be described as temporarily super-human — the right person, with the right background, in the right place at the right time — possibly saving many more young innocent lives.

If you haven’t yet listened or watched the news footage on all major networks, then do it.  It is well worth the time.  Here’s the CNN link:  click here.

This story and lady hits a very personal nerve and flashback with me.  I have been in (and in some ways am still in today) practically the exact same situation Ms. Tuff found herself.  My personal story with a mentally unstable gunman can be read here:  What Was I Thinking?

I am also an elementary-middle school teacher.  I am a brother to a psychiatric sister who often either gets off her psych-meds or is forced off her psych-meds due to clinical restrictions, bureaucratic tape or “economic policy.”  Our local state hospital and nearby meds-clinic just recently had a woman refused her psych prescriptions (reasons unknown to me) then left the clinic emotionally distraught in her car and crashed it 3-blocks away, killing herself and injuring others at the four-way red-light intersection.  I am also a former 3 1/2 year employee of a Psych-A&D hospital’s Intake Office or Crisis Center/Office.  I do indeed have personal experience with many situations like Ms. Tuff experienced, including her own divorce — for me two divorces — and thoughts of suicide by her self and her gunman; although in my personal experience the suicide was accomplished.

So watching and listening to Ms. Tuff’s situation and 911 call, choked me up and touched a sensitive emotional nerve with me…to put it mildly.

I have three points or questions I want to present to my readers and followers:

  1. Did Ms. Tuff’s demeanor and treatment of the gunman de-escalate his emotional and mental instability, or did the gunman eventually recognize his own insane behavior?
  2. How far should individuals or society allow mental psych patients (on or off their meds) to throw tantrums of highly inappropriate behavior, even violence, to get what they want?
  3. Given that the majority of mental psych patients (and often their families) cannot function perfectly in society or jobs/careers, WHO should foot their treatment bills?  Who suffers most when people like this gunman snap?

With these questions I hope to draw attention to America’s increasingly social dysfunctional problem-solving systems and education, as well as how best to address them.  Do we keep locking them up?  They’ve done that hundreds of times with my sister with little improvement other than temporary band-aids.

Please let me hear your comments, thoughts and feelings.  Because one day you may find yourself face-to-face with the same type of gunman.  What would you do in Ms. Tuff’s situation?

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.wordpress.com.