In times past, I would be what could only be described as Negative Nancy, without the chick part, of course. If there were negative outcomes possible, I focused on them and planned for as many permutations that I could conceive. In my previous career (HS band director) that mindset served me well. Pick apart the music, find the crappy bits, fix them, put them back together and accept. When we had to travel, though, it led to me packing too much gear. As a person, however, it hung around my neck like a boat anchor.
Career Case In Point
After days of rain, I was concerned of football field conditions for our halftime marching performance. I was worried someone would get hurt. Accordingly, I packed splints, bandages, wraps and quite a lot of athletic tape. We were highly competitive, sprained ankles were not unheard of. a third of the way through the performance, one of my trumpets falls and has an obvious knee injury. I rush onto the field, throw her over my shoulder and carry her off the field. My drum major knew what to do, we practice and she was a pro, so I carried this girl over to our side of the field and begin treating her leg. As I finish wrapping her, the paramedics that were on the other side of the field (I totally forgot they were at the game) come rolling up to check her out. Tooting my own horn (TOOT, TOOT mf’ers 😏).
Personal Life Case In Point
After weeks of not having sex, I assumed My Bride was having an affair. I began obsessing over this and started planning on ways to trap her. I ended up STALKING My Bride when she would leave the house to write her papers (grad school) or grade papers (elementary teacher). Our house is full of dudes; myself along with our 3 boys have a tendency to generate high decibel levels. Sometimes it was easier for her to go to her classroom than to get us to shut up. I saw that as her excuse to get away and…you know.
Come to find out, I was
a touch completely off base. One night, as I stalked her (it pisses me off at myself whenever I write that), I snuck up to her room window in my best GI Joe spy way, convinced I would see something pornographic. There she sat, typing away at her computer, looking as bored as can be. A few minutes later, I called her up. We had a brief conversation as I sat in the parking lot. I was still in the parking lot because I was waiting on her boyfriend to show up so I could stomp his ass. After 45 minutes, I realized I was very, very wrong.
There is a point to me bringing this stuff up. As soon as I could tell up from down in music I was deconstructing everything. I would see a marching band or hear a concert and immediately begin picking it apart. One could say I was judging the performance (not in a bad way) and figuring out how I would do things differently. I knew pretty early what I wanted to do with my life.
My band career began with lessons learned, but ever increasing rates of success. I hopped from tiny school to small school to large school. I finely crafted my ability to deconstruct issues and get to the root of musical problems. Eventually, I got bored and moved to become a head director. This brought more crafting and more deconstruction. Somewhere along the way a breakdown occurred. I didn’t care anymore and I checked out and left the profession.
As I wandered through life, my finely crafted skills of deconstruction came along with me. With nothing to deconstruct professionally, it appears I focused my talents on my personal life. The end result was I tore apart my, life, and everything in it, and had to rebuild it.
Some of that sounds healthy. Most of my life was screwed up, so I’d better fix it. Whenever the changes you are going through has a major impact on the ones you love, it’s probably a good idea to keep them in mind as you go through it. That’s not exactly how I did it.
There were times I thought my children hated me. Other times, I
knew had a pretty good idea My Bride didn’t like me at all. Still other times saw me drive almost all of my friends away and become a hermit. I was becoming a new person and there was hell to pay.
Praise God, my wife kicked me out of the house. I’m pretty sure I’d either be dead or in a mental institution. Without her finally getting fed up with me deconstructing every little discussion, comment, even every word, we would be divorced and I would have never been forced to confront my demons.
I still have a desire to break things down and fix them. I don’t know if that ever goes away. I catching myself just before I go down that road quite a lot. My Bride will say something and I’ll begin to strategize only to remember that’s the crap that started everything.
And THAT’S the thing to focus on. What got me here.