Monday, June 6, 2011

War of My Life

We spent a significant amount of time this year focusing on our "Expected Schoolwide (don't get me started on how that's not a word) Learning Results," or for short, our ESLRs. Basically, these are the things we want our students to be able to do when they leave high school. It's a sort of checklist that is virtually identical amongst all high schools everywhere. Our particular list is that our students will be:

Critical Thinkers
Lifelong Learners
Effective Communicators
Responsible Citizens

In all the time I tried to get my kids to understand the importance of these traits, I never realized that I don't really exercise my right to display these traits as they have become a part of my personal philosophy. Odds are, I'm probably not as good at it as I'd like to be, but hopefully, I'll get there. And to do so, let's start here:

So, over time, I'm sure I'll get into what I think has brought me to this place that I've been for the past couple years, but suffice it to say for now, it's been a pretty hard place surrounded by a lot of rocks. So, I pulled out Battle Studies the other day because I was, ironically, tired of listening to audiobooks in the car. I came across "War of My Life" and instantly felt like this was my current anthem:

Come out angels,
Come out ghosts,
Come out darkness,
Bring everyone you know.
I'm not running,
and I'm not scared,
I am waiting,
And well prepared.

I'm in the war of my life,
At the door of my life,
Out of time
and there's nowhere to run

I've got a hammer,
And a heart of glass
I gotta know right now
which walls to smash
I got a pocket
Got no pills
If fear hasn't killed me yet,
then nothing will
All the suffering and all the pain
Never left a name

I'm in the war of my life,
at the door of my life,
out of time
and there's nowhere to run
I'm in the war of my life,
at the core of my life
Got no choice but to fight 'til it's done

No more suffering, no more pain
Never again

I'm in the war of my life,
at the door of my life,
out of time
and there's nowhere to run
I'm in the war of my life,
at the core of my life
Got no choice but to fight 'til it's done

So fight on,
fight on everyone
fight on
got no choice but to fight 'til it's done
I won't give up
I won't run
I won't stop for anyone

Yes, it's dark. I've been in a dark place for a while: there's no light when you're surrounded by rocks. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a very optimistic person and there isn't a whole lot that can get me down. I've been down for a long time and I think that's why I'm so drawn to the message of this song. He's so beaten down that he realizes there is nothing left except to continue fighting. As morbid as the second verse is, it is really how I've felt at times in the past year, though not as literally- if there were any other way out besides fighting, I'd take it, but I "got no pills." (No, I have not thought about, nor will I think about, that option)

At the end of the day, all the rocks and all the darkness and all the tired and all the just doesn't matter. It is what it is and I'm not scared of it. I'm going to fight because it's what I do, it's what I have to do. And I'll fight because I am ready. If I've learned anything in my life, it's that I can handle it- whatever it is, it won't be something I can't lick. As much as I wish this place wasn't a reality for anyone, myself included, fact is, I've been there and I'm ready to fight my way out. Choices or not, I'm ready, so bring it on.

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