Mental fortitude and confidence used to be the hallmarks of my core strengths. I had no problem being alone, in crowds, a team member (maybe a little) or especially a leader.
• What’s that, you don’t like the way I’m running things? Piss off, I really don’t care.
• You didn’t ask for my opinion? Here it is anyway.
• There’s 3 ways to do something, your way, his way and the
right my way.
I ran a large band programs in large schools. I took enormous pride in the challenges I led my students/program in overcoming. I thrived on taking battered or run into the ground and left for dead programs and turning them into the monster of the school. I was good at my job and you knew about it. Not out of arrogance or self-promotion. No, you knew about it because we were that darn good. When former college classmates saw or heard us they were flabbergasted. Being a loner in college contributed to this. ‘Aren’t you the guy that wouldn’t talk to anyone?’ “Yeah, because I thought everyone else was stupid.” Ok, that WAS arrogant. True, but arrogant.
My last 2 school jobs (prior to the one I just left) were huge successes, but very different. The first was a middle school and had been neglected for years. The school had a population of roughly 350 students per grade. The oldest band sported a membership of 29 kids . That sucks by the way. I basically had to use smoke, mirrors and pull rabbits out of my arse for them to be even relatively successful. They were incredibly successful by the way. Six years later, when I was leaving for a position with far more responsibility (pressure), that same group had 93 kids in it and we killed our competition and won every possible award there was.
My last job, a high school band, was different. It had been neglected and left for dead. There were about 50 kids when I showed up but there was a huge drug, alcohol and alleged sexual problem. Discipline was a dirty word when I arrived. That crap was clamped down the second day of school. The kids had been “taught” very poorly. It was offensive to my eyes and ears. We ended up winning our first competition. That was their first positive experience at a contest I. At least five years. THAT hooked them.
My next year we had a total of 32 kids in the band. I had cleaned house and ran off the ne’er do wells. We did more than win. We dominated. That program never got above 70 students and I was cool with that. We pissed off a lot of people when we would come to town. “Ha! It’s those guys. Remember? They sucked hard last time they were here.” Yeah, that was them, this is now. We would go in, lay down an absurd performance and take their trophy.
That all changed my last year at the school. I had a nervous breakdown. I started second and third (fourth and fifth) guessing myself. We were still good, but I was living off the previous years successes. I had burned out and was crashing.
Ever since, I’ve been in a horrible depression. I had lost my mojo. I no longer had that killer drive and instinct. You could say I lost the bounce in my step.
The things I found enjoyable fell to the wayside. Sports, outdoors, games and even family time had been lost. I was a zombie. I spent my days riding the couch, waiting for bedtime every day. All my relationships took a nosedive. Friendships lost, acquaintances wilted. I had become an empty shell of myself.
That’s kind of where I am now. Looking to find my way again. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be the guy I once was. I was energetic, witty and fun to be around. Now I’m reserved, introspective and pretty dull. Therapist says it will all come back. I hope so, I really liked that guy. My family liked that guy. That’s who they fell in love with.
I guess only time will tell. What sucks about that is, I lost my ability to look into the distance for my rewards.