Friday, December 30, 2016

Keep Saying I Am Not Sad

I received a message from my sister Lisa this afternoon:
Ed sent me this to send to you. Hope you like it. Happy new year to you both..........
This is my Grade 7 school picture taken in Australia.
I'm in the middle - second to back row.
I remember a couple of the girls in this picture - their faces but not their names.
I remember the teacher well - him, but again not his name.
But I liked him a lot.
I remember liking him.
A lot.
He was a no nonsense teacher.  I clearly remember him walking around the classroom always carrying a long switch under one arm.  Always walking the aisles between desks and occasionally slamming the switch down on the desk of anyone who annoyed him in some way.
When it hit the desk it was very loud and startled everyone in the class.
Every time.
In the context of school in 2016 that sounds horrendous, but back in the 70s he was a great and caring teacher who pushed students to do well and learn well, and I liked him very much.
Seeing this picture threw me for a loop.
A big one..................
My response to Lisa:
You want to know something? My whole life I remembered myself as being fat and ugly as a young girl. Seeing this picture - and other pictures from around that time tells me that I wasn't either of those things. It's a weird feeling to be an adult and remember yourself as something you never were. Please thank Ed for giving you this picture and thank you for sending it. It is Seans' birthday today. He would have been 33. Found out yesterday while surfing around the net that Jessica (Seans' wife) just remarried. It's been a rough couple of days. Take care Lisa and please say hi to Mick for me. 

 He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others--the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by the midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad..........Jonathon Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

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