Today is World Book Day, which seems a fitting day to start writing on my new blog. To me, this day is a celebration of creativity and diversity worldwide, and it is truly a lovely thing to revel in. For that reason, I’d like to relay a story.
A year ago, I lost my job teaching at a charter school here in Minnesota. I had been teaching science there for 5 years, which is a good deal of time in one place and in a stressful position like that, teaching grades 6 through 12 at a Title I school, and when the principal told me he was choosing not to renew my contract for the next year, I went through an interesting set of emotions.
The first of those, and probably the most prevalent, was depression. See, teaching had been a goal of mine for many years, and it was difficult to have someone tell me that in his opinion I was not doing a good enough job of it. This cast a black cloud of doubt over me, one that honestly has not completely departed. I had a decision to make: do I try to find work as a teacher in a new place or do I move on to something else? And if I choose to do that, then what do I do? My education is in education, so what to do?
I spent many months as a stay at home dad doing nothing more than caring for the house and the kids and trying to stave off chaos and depression, however it difficult to bring myself to actively do anything. The truth was, I was very depressed. It was time to finally do something about it. I was reluctant, but with some help of my wife I managed to get out to see my therapist and talk about what was happening. She suggested I increase my meds, get on some supplements, and then give up this idea that I was “supposed” to do something with my life.
This misplaced faith I had for years in an idea of being right for some career (or in fact any career) in my life was creating more anxiety and driving my depression to the point of being completely ineffective. I couldn’t do anything, including the one thing that makes my life feel complete: create. Creativity is everything to me. I love to create art, to create stories, to create music. Without the ability to make something and use that part of my mind, I lose what it means to be me.
Now that I’m finally coming out of the other side, I haven’t decided yet if I’ll give up on the teaching, but I’m more focused on what’s happening now. And what’s happening now for me is being creative, and getting back to the writing that I love so much.
So to all those out there who choose to read this and celebrate the day, find your own way to be creative and let your brain flow with the energy of making something. You may find something about yourself that’s truer than anything you knew before.