The teacher’s kid

When I reached the age of 3 and went to school for the very first time, I discovered something brutal: I was the teacher’s daughter. Not only that, but I was the teacher’s daughter in 3 different schools! My mother taught in one school and my father in another and he owned his own language institute in which they both taught. I can safely say my parents were literally and factually a school.

My first day at school marked my first day as the 50/50 kid, the child whose appreciation was based on how beloved or despised my father was since my mum taught elsewhere. I was a 3 year old big eyed ball of everything happy when I came face to face with “that guy” on my bus – a 15 year old mess who detested my father and made it impossible for me to get the clean slate I deserved; I was henceforth marked. As days went by, the bittersweet reality became clearer, the random squeals of ecstasy my appearance provoked in some and the flagrant eye rolls and grunts I obviously inspired in others, it was all due to my father being a teacher, the perks and the suffering combined. I later received the same treatment from my mother’s students, but by then I had grown accustomed to the whole charade, numbed to the itchy label I seemingly wore on my forehead – watch out, I’m “the teacher’s kid”, the miniature daytime boogeyman.

It took me my whole pre-teens and a few years into the delightful years of puberty and awkward self-awareness before I truly understood how valuable and just how extraordinary my life actually was, being blessed with two teachers for parents, livng in my own private classroom. I was amazingly lucky, there is no better word to describe it. Under one roof stood gathered walking and talking human dictionaries and encyclopedias, two beautiful souls who had dedicated their lives to the sole purpose of guiding young minds (not to mention adult ones at my father’s institute) down the road of knowledge and haphazardly through life in many cases. I was taught to value people, give as much as I could and stand by all those who needed help in any way possible, to share what I knew, and something I will never cease to thank them for, to understand the value of hard work and hard-earned remuneration.

Our time on Earth is limited and precious, and while we’re here roaming its uneven roads, we might as well make our stay profitable to others, be the gardeners of minds around us, give more than we receive in the hope that someday we too will run into someone we once helped and rejoice in their resulting successes just like my parents so often do. With their minds, they could’ve been anything they wanted, but they chose to teach, to suffer through long parent-teacher conferences, long invigilation hours, endless correction nights, cancelled weekends and their kids blaming them for their lack of energy, too young to fully understand the worth of each day they spent bent over piles of papers, watering the roses of tomorrow.

I was 3 when I understood my parents were teachers, 3 when I started learning that those who teach can in fact do, those who teach know enough to understand that without what teachers do, CEOs wouldn’t be able to type their names, presidents wouldn’t be able to read their speeches and doctors wouldn’t know the difference between a vein and a nerve. I was only 3 when I understood that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like my parents: a giver.

Bile smile

There are billions of souls walking the Earth today; billions smiling, laughing, living. Well I’ve got a sectet for you: it’s all make-believe.

Maybe nobody thought of it, maybe no one wanted to, but if someone created some sort of thermometer that measured how much of us is truly alive, the percentage would astound us. They say our heartbeat determines if we’re still here, enjoying each day as we breathe in life’s elixir, but my biology teachers would’ve probably failed psychology class. We walk, footsteps and pulse in synch, breathing automatically, slowly dying inside, minute after minute, skipping seconds, waiting for it all to end and relieve us. We paint smiles on our faces every morning, fooling the neighbours and our mirrors, lying to get through another day of pretending to be alive and well, a mask for our loved ones, a mask for ourselves. I woke up to this world crying, and I haven’t stopped since. I detest the idea of a place where money, scheming, cheating, killing – and any other horrid concept humans have sickened their souls with – come before love, integrity or self-fulfillment. I abhor watching initially good people slowly become rotten because they found no other way to get through the day. I hate that I cannot hate but only wallow and sigh as rain pours down from a fake sunny sky, and that I am doomed to watch everything happen helpless. I don’t like it here, I never have; I’ve been smiling and laughing and singing life’s beauty while all I’ve seen in my wake and in my dreams, is its putrefaction; the empty satisfaction one gets from a useless career, the shallow joy caused by vacant conversations… there is no depth in our lives, no truth in our lies, no real reason for our smiles; they just got stuck on our faces after patiently, repetitively, hypocritically painting them on one time too many.

You could say this is the most obscure post I’ve ever published, it may even seem too grim compared to the rest, but our hearts sometimes beat more slowly, wishing they didn’t beat at all, and our souls grow much too old to hope for eternity. Let us cry tonight, for tomorrow we smile again.

Daily dilly-dally

I recently found this year-old text I wrote hidden away in a drawer. Reading it, I remembered just how miserable it felt working at my old job, and that since the very beginning. We tell ourselves so many lies to keep us going, day in and day out loathing our startling capacity to take in so many negative vibes and hide the putrid smell of dismay and disarray the job market can impose on our souls. So here it goes, some old thoughts echoing their way back.

I recently started working for a big multinational company. I’m an industrial designer; so basically, I spend my hours between my desk and the prototyping room. Our office is located in a sister company’s building that also comprises a big noisy factory; therefore, every time I step out of the office, whether to get my tea or anything else, I bump into workers, blue-collar tired-looking individuals. The sight of them on my first day struck me, not being used to such blatant displays of humanness, and as days and weeks pass, I am still perturbed each time we cross paths. They don’t look any different than your average Joe, they’re not from a different species either, but there’s something about them that deeply disconcerts me; they don’t wear our meticulously-crafted masks and you can feel the hours of repetitive labor traced on their faces, in wrinkles and invisible lines, the thoughts weighing on their minds as they carefully plan out the division of their measly wages, the haste and wishful procrastination as they end their daily shift, dreading the next at their second equally miserable job. I grew up in such a strikingly controlled atmosphere that seeing the curtain drop so suddenly stirred up all the resentment I had so long kept reasonably quiet; society is such an unevenly-shaped unit I’m constantly in shock at how everyone manages to stay put on this mockery of a merry-go-round.
We are lucky, I’ll never say it enough. In the comfort of our climate-controlled offices, swiveling chairs, correctly nourished bank accounts, heated cars and neatly packed lunches. We don’t have to worry as much, think of medication as a month with no meat, bed looking like the second best thing after death. Relief.
I don’t know if they all think that way, if their daily life is as gloomy as I portray it, but it certainly must be for so many, summer and winter equally cold and desolate, meals unsettlingly similar.
It’s easy to forget the blessings so gratuitously bestowed upon us, whether we’re CEOs or hairdressers; some people are forced to be robots, their bodies used as machines, their dreams trampled on as they make their way through the dried up tunnels of their once brightly-lit promising futures. “Someone has to do it,” we constantly repeat, to others, to our own pestering blistered hearts, but it could be us in those plastic sweat-inducing boots and sunshine-deprived faces. However, for now, it’s someone else. Someone just like us.

Education manipulation

I’ve always had contradictory feelings about my time in school; I loved it as much as I hated it, probably like many others out there. I remember having quite a perturbing experience, paved with difficulties that later on turned into character-building material; but still, who’d want to wake up every morning dreading the eight-hour long day? Lessons were imposed, weaknesses were exposed and in many classes I inevitably dozed. Then came college, oh joy, finally studying what I want! For five years! Hurray? I wish things were as simple as we prayed they’d be the first eighteen years of our lives, struggling to reach glorified adulthood and long-awaited recognition.

The more time passes and studies are conducted to determine the best educational processes, the more useless information is stuffed into our heads in an effort to prolong and enrich the experience, unfortunately obtaining a less effective method. Back when our parents were young adults, studies were shorter but more condensed; one did not lose interest in the chosen subject after being repetitively submitted to uneducated educational reforms in a vain attempt to add value to the myriad of questionable certifications now available. Half of the world’s higher diploma holders are unqualified for the jobs they’re entering whileas many of those with no degree excel at their craft. One can be autodidact and offer more than another following the excessively beaten track, but today’s world still values owners of signed pieces of paper covered in glamorised insubstantial adjectives. Ink before knowledge, print over experience.

Having ventured in different directions over the past few years, and having met an array of different people from all sorts of backgrounds, I can now assure that today’s world is defective. Being good at something isn’t enough anymore, one can be mediocre and still beat a more skilled individual with something as plain as a higher education degree. Higher. What a term to be used in such invalid a manner; gone are the days of life being the essential shaper of Man, the 21st century has set the mood: paper beats rock, scissors and sweat. Paper, whether the signed or green variety, wins it all.

Endless confusion

I suppose this blog helps when I’m feeling distraught, I just open a page and start writing whatever comes to mind, as strange or blurred as it sometimes may seem. I do not review, correct and tweak what I post here as I would a professional exposé or standard written communication, for I believe that in this overly rehearsed life,  there’s a big need for spontaneity and impulsive creation, however raw and rough the end result may turn out to be.

So today’s rant comes to you from my confounded mind that hasn’t stopped working for nine long months now. Needless to say it needs a break, but that’s unfortunately not part of the plan. Starting from the begginning, I graduated from high school 7 years ago at the top of my class, went on to obtain my masters from university without ever failing a single subject, was hired by a multinational company and worked hard for a whole year whilst simultaneously freelancing in completely different domains, and now…I’m lost. I made a big decision a few months back to leave my job and take some time to rethink everything. I know I’m lucky to be able to take a step back and reflect, not everyone has the luxury to do so, or even consider such risky behaviour; I take pleasure in giving way to my eccentricities, my desire to do precisely what most would tell me not to. I do not enjoy my career, it simply doesn’t feel good going every day to a job that doesn’t add value to my life or that of those around me. I love creating, I thrive for whatever I can challenge myself to make, but I don’t want to end up at 50, 60 or 80 wondering what I brought to this world. I want to know now what I can do, how tiny ol’ me can help this suffering planet grow positively. I’m asking too much, I know, I always have, but I can’t help it; I want more. I find it funny how my kind of greed doesn’t involve money or food or possession, I want more for others, as well as some personal satisfaction to keep me going; leave material compensation for everyone else, it simply doesn’t interest me.

Nevertheless, I can proclaim my intentions every day and write them on walls or spray paint them on all 4 sides of the Empire State Bldg, that doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t know what to do; I have a multitude of skills and nowhere to put them to good use. And so the big question remains unanswered: now what?