"The true source of our sufferings, has been our timidity."
That little tidbit of motivational quoteage comes from good ol' John Adams. I came across it a couple days ago and it's the kind of thing I would run around quoting as if I'd known it for years, but then I realize that anyone who knows me, even a little, would see right through it. That's pretty much my daily struggle; trying to keep my shit original, or at the very least to be honest when I'm ripping off someone else. Ah, who am I kidding? I doubt there is an original thought in my head. Well, that whole "oven baked," thing is all mine. (Besides, I don't think anyone else would have the sack to claim it.)
Here's my thing though. You all know I've been down here at UTC, doing the whole teaching thing. Well, now I'm not so certain that it's going to be my gig.
I remember that at some time in the last year, I was over at Rachel and David's place in Ft. Wood. Adam was there for one reason or another, hanging out and drinking beer and having a laugh or two with the ol' chummy chums. For one reason or another, he asked me the question all education majors love and hate equally. "What the hell is wrong with you?" (Or simply, "Why do you want to teach? I hear it sucks.")
My answer was by no means original, and I fessed up to that fact shortly after. I was reading WHEN ALL THE WORLD WAS YOUNG by Ferrol Sams at the time, which is by far my favorite book ever (Sorry, Mr. Miller, Mr. Follet, and Mr. Frazier). Now you guys know me. Tell me if this sounds like me:
"There are two kinds of people in this world: those who give to other people and those who spend all their lives taking. Or planning to take. Either by bulling around on one end of the economic scale or whining on the other. I'm not a taker. I'm a giver. Some folks are born to serve and others to be looked after... I was born to give and to serve, and the world had goddam well better know it and get ready..."
Of course, I paraphrased, but eloquence ain't my point. You gota ask yourself, "Is this the Chuck I know?" Of course you say yes, because you're all good friends. But is that honestly the first thing that ran through that cerebral jello pudding you call a brain? Yes? Ok, good. You know me better than I thought you did. But the fear still lingers in me that you actually DO think of me as, "sweetly racist," as "Uncle Bastard," or any of the other rascally yet endearing nicknames I've taken. Because that sure as shit ain't the case, brother.
It was around the time Amber dumped me that I realized teaching just wasn't doing it for me (more on that emotional rollercoaster later). But oh no, I'd gone too far to turn back. Can't change your major in your 4th year. You've done so much, you can't turn back now. What a fucking tool. I think of myself back when I was a sophomore in high school and I want to slap myself. Now I want to slap myself when I wake up some days.
Tonight, Jesse and I made some rockin spaghetti and watched Three Kings. We spent about an hour chillin and talking about the stupid stuff we normally talk about. And we got to talking about Harlan Ellison, my second favorite writer (Sorry, Mr. Miller, Mr. Follet, and Mr. Frazier). He put in a CD of some lectures Mr. Angry Pants did at MIT so I could, "At least hear the man's voice," before I died. And I'm glad he did.
See, the thing about Harlan Ellison is that he's an angry, angry, man. But he is quite possibly the most honest and humanistic writer I've ever read. The man oozes compassion - and so do I. I just push it down. I've been timid, see? I push down my own compassion, honesty, and love to put on the mask of The Bastard - The Racist - The Tiresome Jackass. I do it not because I am often found wanting for ideas or creativity; no, nup, wrong, nuh-uh. The following aren't all the reasons, but I do it, in part, because people tend to confuse honesty for frailty; compassion for vulnerability. Anyone who grew up in Oak Ridge knows that weakness will get you fucked with your pants on faster, and harder, than if you're caught lying. At least that was my experience. The biggest difference between Mr. Ellison and myself is that he wanted to be a writer his whole life and I just realized it about a year ago...and I was too chicken-shit to admit it. (That, and I suck at writing...and I'm not as angry.)
So what's the deal?
I've decided to explore the whole writing thing. I think I've got a fairly decent start. You probably don't know that I started keeping a real journal around the time I started rowing. (I begam scribbling at 1:15pm on 8/16/03.) So all the juicy shit about Christina is in there. (More on that later.) I'm gona finish my teaching degree, or switch to history and graduate next semester. I haven't decided yet. Either way, I'm getting the fuck outa dodge at some point and I'm going to see what I can do with my words. If I have to fly to Europe and fuck my way across Paris, I'll do it. If I've gota join the Army like I'd planned before I met Amber, I will.
I was never very uncertain about my future until now. And I sure as shit can't let myself be cowed by it.