A humbling, tear-inducing, and lol-making reunion with Joe, Salmon, and Choods. Two students, and one fellow teacher taught me about the long-term, and far-reaching effects we as humans have on each other. They were all so happy to see me, and I them. I laughed so hard at Choods humour that, like mine, was so gross and disgusting. What a complete and utter relief to express that energy outside and laugh and laugh and laugh. They were able to break through this haze of loneliness and self-imposed isolation through toilet humour and teasings. Such a relief to experience people as resilient, and able to take or handle whatever I say or do, and such a sadness to think I denied people my own personality thinking they would not be able to handle the gargantuan mess of Jason Dale Chapman. I threw away my personality for people, and then became angry, and depressed that I still felt unacceptable.
I remember hiding in my bedroom whenever visitors came over to the house. I would stand between my bed and the door, as long as they were there, listening intently to the conversations of relatives and family friends, hoping somehow to hear of an opportunity for me to release myself from my self-imposed prison of self-consciousness, anxiety and worry. My parents really had no idea, but in my mind, everyone knew about Jason. I couldn't really hide anywhere.
I realized after 30 some years, here in Sao Paulo, that my entire adult life has been about waiting behind that door, hoping someone would say the right thing, or pull me out into the world. It was me the whole time. I created the fear, I created the worry, and I created a lifetime of waiting for life to magically save me from myself.
Social skills ARE the highest, most valuable skill, and learnable ability we have as humans, and yet there is not one formal course offered in public schools today. Kids are meant to figure it out on their own, and if they don't, well....... we won't talk about that. Depression, anxiety, suicide, mental health disorders are all directly related to the internal world that exists while one person is in another person's company. We are social creatures, and all hell can break loose if we have not learned a healthy way of coping with our need to be close, and our need to be alone.
Welfare systems do give those of us a safety net in Canada to get back up on our feet, but what of those who are on the system for the rest of their lives? They are destined to be confined in their own prison, afraid to open the door, and afraid to stay where they are. We have huge and powerful minds that, like a horse, need to be run. So lets spend our money on building workplaces for those people who do not have money. At least we are creating something of value, as well as giving these people a much needed opportunity to get outside of themselves and do something for the good of society.
Now, my southern journey is almost at an end. 25,000 km and 6 1/2 months. I am clearer than ever that no magical princess is going to rescue me, and i am done waiting for some prophet to clear me of my physical, emotional and mental pain. It will be a moment, by moment journey of training myself to live in this world, and to finally be receptive to it's gifts. There will be much pain ahead of me I know this. It is a necessary battle to learn to cope with that too.