Thursday, June 29, 2023

Finding Kansas Revisited: School



            The next two chapters were written in Kenya. I do have a chapter about that coming up, but the reason I had writing time was that I had stayed back in Kisumu as my dad went to the Masi Mara region because I had come down with some weird virus and was feeling under the weather. Due to this I slept a lot, but it was a unique feeling being on my own in a foreign country. Everything I needed was at the hotel so I didn’t leave, but there also wasn’t all that much to do. Writing never occurred to me up until I had had enough with the television options. For one, there was a channel that showed American movies. Sounds great, right? Nope! Instead of big blockbuster offerings it was a constant barrage of movies like Glitter (there’s a reason why its Metacritic score is an abysmal 14) and the other channel was a soccer channel. I could’ve gotten into soccer, but the commentary was in French and I don’t speak French. All that being said I decided to start writing and the first chapter I wrote was this one entitled “School.”

            As I started reading this chapter it felt as if I were just reading the transcript of my presentation. Also, it was like hearing all the stories I’ve heard from other parents who have had a child with Asperger’s go through the same struggles I did. 

            I should’ve elaborated more in first grade about what I meant by time, but that’ll come in a later book. There is something amazing though that I hope you take note of. I’ve written about Mrs. Jendra several times in all the good things she did for me, but while I was writing this chapter I was unaware of it. I do mention the games we played in which I always became the “retired” champion. This did infuriate me at the time, and also when I first wrote it, but I now realize I am who I am because of that. I mentioned in this chapter that, “I’d much rather play the game than be the emcee” but being the emcee has allowed me to host many more games, ahem, presentations than I ever would have otherwise thanks to the public speaking experience I garnered then. I didn’t realize it when I wrote this in Kenya, but as I say now, “with Asperger’s it’s like planting seeds, you’ve got to give it time to grow.”

            I’ve continued reading this chapter and when I got to the homeschooling section I did shake my head at my choice of words in that, “There were no annoying idiots in the class (except for my cat)” I wouldn’t use those choice of words now, but when I was in school at that age that’s how I viewed others who didn’t follow the rules. You either were right, or I viewed you as one who does the wrong things and, well, as I wrote in 2005, “annoying idiot.” Can I get an edit of that word in a future edition? My cat though, yes, he was annoying and he always got sent to the principal’s office. Seriously, if I tried to do any work he’d lay right down on the paper so it was always a trip to the basement for him. It was okay, he liked it down there.

            When I got to the final chapters I, well, I felt as if ice water had flowed through my veins. I was right in that, had I stayed in college, I’d have been in graduate school at the time I first wrote this chapter. Here’s the thing that got me, though, and that was, “What pains me the most is realizing how smart I am and knowing what positive things I could do in the world, but this hatred of school will block any major thing I might want to accomplish outside of racing.” Okay, again, we’ve got repetition, but that sentence is the hole I was in when I was writing this. I thought I’d never amount to anything and a job, a profession, a career, and any glimmer of hope or happiness was impossible in my mind. If I have ever written a line that was a bigger fallacy than the quote I’ve quoted in this paragraph I’d like to read it because, in life, we have no idea what lies tomorrow. Yes, I did cover my fear of tomorrow which fueled my belief that hope was dead, but here I am, a 18 years later, stating just how far I’ve come and that while hope may seem elusive, dead, or a thing that isn’t reachable, it is.

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