When I was ten and I would fill the minus columns at school so that they had to make it bigger, and the only way to make it bigger was to take away from the credit column, which made no difference to me. I would be disgraced at house meetings every week for my negative contribution and would spend half my life in detention. At first this was a problem. A problem I had to solve and with only one solution. But then I realised that the solution was being dangled from a two-foot stick, which in turn was attached to my head.
With the solution always in sight but never in reach I decided to give up. Then I didn’t have time for this life. A minus point became irrelevant and I accepted the fact that I would never have another break time to myself. This did not bother me, in fact it was quite good, easier than doing the work in the first place and I had my evenings to myself. Detentions were no punishment for me, I wanted time out to think about my own thoughts. However this was not something I would have agreed with first thing in the morning, when the guilt set in.
I was feeling guilt. Not towards my father who paid for my education, or to my mother who thought so highly of me, but to my teachers. I was lied to. I spent ten years of my life believing that the teachers cared. But it was just another job with superficial rewards that consisted of forcing people like me that were the wrong shape through their hole regardless, and if this didn’t please them the paycheck would. I am not arrogant inside, even if that’s how I come across.
Arrogance was another thing that I hated and it was, and probably still is, rife in private schools. But I was clever, and that was my handicap. I couldn’t be a dropout. There was no easy option, and as I was reminded every day, I had to live up to my POTENTIAL. I owed it to society, just as I owed it to my dad to make good use of my education and to the school to get the grades on their league tables. And then there was this instantaneous feeling that I would live by for the next ten years: it didn’t matter. I was happier without responsibility.
And more than any fact book could teach me, I had a mind that could put fault to this society and see through the life I was being forced to lead. I could philosophise and that was more valuable, educational and useful than a scholarship. I couldn’t and still can’t spell, my grammar has much to be desired, I probably will never know what surds are in mathematics, but all of a sudden I had a desire to live. This didn’t reflect in my work, or my exam results, I was on a downward spiral in that respect, but it now no longer mattered.
This was me, but I didn’t entirely realize it at first. I was divided in opinion, between what I was taught and what I was thinking. Most of my thinking went on at home or in the playground, or in between being sent to Headmaster and seeing him. The rest of the time I was scared. Knowing where your going is a daunting thing, especially when deep down you know no matter how hard you try to disguise it and kid yourself it will change tomorrow, your fait is not a glamorous one.
Whether it’s a happy fait was something most people didn’t consider, but I did and once again I was content with the ability to think. Now if I have portrayed it right, then you will be thinking what are the reasons for waking up every day; to go to school; to scribble down my homework from the night before, or at least something to soften the blow; taking the frustration in the eye of the ‘caring teacher’ with the punishment, before going home empty of energy and enthusiasm but still expected to work.
I scraped my way into my next school; my fresh start where I thought things wouldn’t continue the way they had academically. But as long as the reasons were there nothing would change, even if everything else around me did, and the reasons would always be there. The first year killed any desire to change, but now things had changed for the better socially. I was boarding, and happy I was too. All of a sudden it dawned on me that nobody knew what I was thinking, and the majority of my thoughts, or at least the more complex ones weren’t normal.
I was living in a world of zombies who were prepared to accept and enforce this way of life, and worse still they cared about the little things that drove me to these conclusions. My very own parents were so different to me. Were they always like this? Or is this the work of the others? I took great pride in being different from the others but it wasn’t until my second year that how many people were like me became an issue in my thoughts. I knew I was a minority but these thoughts where provoked when in my second year I was acquainted with somebody who thought like me.
It wasn’t obvious because he had come to the conclusion that it is easier to do what you don’t want to do, than to fight against society. Society is a strange thing; the word means something completely different to the reality. It has good intentions but it is what I spent the last five years rebelling against. On the one hand society will never work because it is striving for perfection, on the other hand it does work because it is society that educated me, it is society that will employ me and in doing so it is society that I will contribute to, and one day I will be reliant on it for my income.
But then I was faced with the reality that I am already dependant on it, to survive. And so half of me adopted the same opinion as that of my acquaintance, and I tried to work with it to change what has manifested itself in me as laziness. I will never know if I was destined to be lazy, my brother was lazy, but I knew that if I wasn’t made so sick of monotony that repression wouldn’t have got the better of me. And for whatever reasons I wasn’t working, not working would become an option, and soon enough the better option, and inevitably normal.
In this time so much has happened. I have lived, experiencing and contemplated the environment I lived in, I have made friends and lost friends. I have had the most magnificent highs, and the worst lows. I’ve seen things that would amaze you and one day I will write about them and what I have described to you now, will be an insignificant issue, but today it is something that plagues my mind and I hope it provokes yours.