Sunday, 20 April 2008

Reality out of Emotional Detachment

Where do I start with this post? I guess I start with the fact that I travel. I have had the fortune of being able to travel a fair bit for my age - and I love it. I'm one of those economy travellers - backpacking, hostels, etc. I have had the luck of seeing first-hand some of the most amazing sights this world has to offer - and I'm not finished by any means. I am a firm believer that travel is a necessity for education, but I also realize that not everybody has the ability to experience it. I wouldn't really say that I have the ability to experience it - I'm a financial mess, but my priorities are where they are. I can't change that, and I don't want to. Travel will forever remain my priority. Yet, no matter how far I travel, and how often I go, I always know that at the end of the journey, I am returning home. There is safety in that knowledge - and I like safety.

When I decided to come to Banbury - no...let me rephrase...when I jumped on a plane and ended up in Banbury, I knew that there would be potential issues. Previous experience living in New Orleans had taught me that no matter how independant you want to be, adjustment can be hard. Two weeks into my New Orleans experience I hit a period of homesickness hell - I had been lucky enough to not experience homesickness previously. But I descended into that hell, and contemplated a fast return to Canada. Fortunately, New Orleans is just down the road (ok, interstate) from home....and I knew people...lots of people. I was able to weather that storm and carry on with living.

Part of the problem with making an emotionally detached decision, with a personal motto of "I don't know", is that you tend to block out those questions and realities that might make you reconsider your decision. Do I regret that? No. Leanne knows Leanne moderately well. Leanne knows that if Leanne had been emotionally attached to the decision, she would not be sitting in Banbury right now - she would have over-thought the process and ultimately stayed in Thunder Bay. I will admit that on occasion I did consider the reality - but then I always ended up at the same place: Why stay in Thunder Bay? What's here? What do I do here? and so I blocked those (exceedingly) brief interludes of reality and carried on with my emotional detachment.

Now back to my original train of thought. I knew that when I moved to Banbury that I would hit this period of know what I talking about....that period when the world is crashing down around you, and you can't breathe, and the walls are closing in. I knew it would happen. Unfortunately I severly underestimated when it would happen. Based on my calculations, the world was doomed to end about two weeks after I arrived in Banbury.
Ok so I am horrible at math, I have no trouble confessing that. You would think that this would hinder me as a Science teacher. It does. So you can guess that when Leanne calculates something, you should throw out the calculation, and get someone else to figure it out. And you're right. My calculation for world destruction was very wrong - I miscalculated by several days.

The reality started to set in the day I rented my flat. Granted I came to Banbury on a contract - as someone who does not like commitment of any sort, a contract is one of those things that gives me heart palpitations. I can't even handle the idea of a cell phone contract - I scoff at being locked in to something for more than a day. I don't make appointments, because I hate having time commitments. Even so, I could handle having an employment contract - it guaranteed money. Signing the contract on my flat was another story - it meant expenditure. I didn't know what an anxiety attack and heart flutter were until last week. But I developed both, and have had them in exceedingly frequant bursts ever since. Walking down the street I will feel my heart start skipping beats as I redose myself reality. I need to stop and take several deep breaths before I continue. And thus starts the darkness...I am learning what Doris Lessing meant about "Briefing for a Descent into Hell".

Then there is the job. Now I can't go into extreme details on my job, for fairly obvious reasons. Firstly, I am in education - people in education keep more secrets than CIA operatives (and generally with better success). Secondly, this blog is available on the internet - I can't risk sounding off on a public form. Let me start by saying that I am not particularly worried about teaching per se...but Leanne had forgotten she despises planning. If I could walk into a classroom filled with 200 roudy students, and be given a lesson plan for the History of the English Language - I would teach it, and be enthusiastic. Tell me I have to plan a lesson for 22 well behaved students on an interesting topic, I will be tempted to head to the first pub I find and drink away my sorrows. How I ended up in teaching is beyond me. No..that's not true. I have worked in a school for eight years. I like teaching. I hate planning. This reality has just added to the darkness.

So where am I going right now? Put simply, I don't know. I am in that period of resentment, and as an Anthropologist I know the stages that I have to go through. I resent that my computer is being overtaken my UK advertisements...that yahoo and google are offering to readjust themselves to UK servers, etc. Emotional detachment has led to emotional crisis. Between the constant financial panics, overwhelming job issues and displacement, I worry that I have numbered my days here. Daily I find shock in the extreme costs of living - I ask again: when will they tax the air here? There has to be a way to do it...I could probably work out a calculation for it - it will be a bad calculation, that will likely result in tax payers paying 20% more than they have to, but the UK goverment will appreciate my ineptness. Maybe next Sunday I should go to Speakers Corner in London, stand on my soapbox, and pose this idea to the masses. And on Monday when I wake up in a hospital, recovering from having been stoned, I can be secure with the reality that I have somehow positively influenced England. Or maybe I should just go to the pub now and watch a game of I develop this idea any further.

Anyway I guess what this long sojourn into hell has been leading to - this is the reality of displacement and adjustment. While I knew it would happen, I severly underestimated the date on which it would occur. And that's the funny thing about life - it can't be predicted. I didn't factor in all of the obvious forces that would contribute to my calculation - for instance, putting an ocean between myself and home - I should have made an adjustment of at least a day to the calculation. And the cost of living - that should have added another day. And the anxiety of lesson planning...another day. So yes, when I add the variables that affect the constant, I am right on target for a collision with reality.

Now the questions...what calculation do I use to get over the reality? When does that happen? What are constants and variables? And can I find my contentment?

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