Monday, December 21, 2009

A lesson in destruction

Before I walked out the door of the final day of my accounting course, I went to go shake hands with my professor. To be completely honest, he wasn't the best instructor. Sure he knew the material, he just wasn't motivated. But throughout the course, he'd drop subtle hints about his ailing wife who had just been diagnosed with brain cancer, or some other terminal disease that had numbered her days. At times he would merely ask rhetorical questions to the class as to why God let things like this happen. We really had no answer, so instead we just awkwardly glanced at each other.

I couldn't help but feel for the guy, so each time we left class, I went up to him and wished him a good weekend, a better tomorrow, something to show that at least I was listening. I never really knew what to say to someone who I didn't really know, yet at the same time was pouring his heart out to us. I simply smiled frequently and took all the condensation from his pent up frustration with life. I still remember the one time he scolded me in front of the class for paradoxically following the exact guidelines he had given us, but instead of getting defensive, I simply smiled and said, "Ok. I'll try harder next time."

Before I walked through those doors for the final time, he said to me, "Thanks for the positive attitude." I was taken aback by this remark. I have never considered myself to be "positive". For those of you who know me, either in person or loosely through this mess of a blog, I think "positive" is one of the last words to describe me.

For the longest time I've found any reason to be unhappy. I used to blame it on people, on living amidst the lack of cultural competence in this country, and my one saving grace was to leave again - yet when I did, I only found another reason to be unsatisfied. I was running from something.

I think for the first time I've stopped running and I'm just now actively confronting everything that has frightened me; everything that has forced me to impose this unrelenting self-destruction. And for the first time I'm not cowering to their demands. I'm fighting back. The irony is that in destroying a part of myself, I am also creating. Creating an acceptance of where I am, what I am doing, and most importantly, who I am supposed to be.