Monday, July 28, 2008

Missing out on my favorite week of the year...

It's 7:30 in the morning as I write this which means I went to sleep around 4:30 and was forced awake and unable to drift back off. The reason/thing that shook me out of my far too little sleep was a "nightmare" so minor and lame that I feel embarrassed for how hard it rocked me. I'm sitting in my current summer Bio class, as the semester winds to a hault, to find that the Teacher has come in and decided to give us our ridiculously intimidating final exam for the semester a day early. Being the kind of jackass who barely studies until the last day, I'm completely unprepared, but take to my seat and get ready to proceed with this huge on-coming clusterfuck... And then I wake up...

See, lame and embarrassing. I woke up in a sweat and then sat up and got irrationally pissed at myself for letting something like this get to me in such a way and then got up to cook breakfast and watch old Batman cartoons as I write this. I mark this dream as a harbinger of my utterly cruddy week to come.

It's not only Monday and I already can't wait for this damn week to be over. As San Diego Comicon winds to it's conclusion and my friends and colleagues head home to tell me all about what went on as I've been sitting here from the sidelines, reading the news as it comes up on different web outlets, as well as through my plethora of other comic creator friends who were in attendance and had been updating on every cool thing that happened via Twitter. I curse my teachers and my inclinations towards thinking Summer school would be a good idea. (It was though, I'm just bitching for the sake of my current aggrevated diatribe.)

As if having missed out on going to Comicon and fulfill a few promises I had made doesn't suck enough, the rest of this week, in my perfect, alternate time-line world would be spent doing the one thing I pretty much live through the rest of the whole, stinking year for. Yesterday would have been the start of my eleventh consecutive year. Up until now, I've been counseling there every single year since the camp was first created. As much as I love my writing and all of that, doing camp on this week of every year is pretty much the thing I look forward to most out of each year.

Camp Bravehearts was a summer camp that was established back in 1997 for children born with heart conditions, not unlike myself. I got hooked up with a gig as a counselor in training on the first year of camp by my cardiologist, whose partner established the idea for the camp and has been seeing it through ever since. That first year to me was like a revelation. Sitting around a large square of land filled with kids who were growing up in the middle of the kind of stuff that I grew up dealing with and in some cases much worse, but all of them, even the sicker ones are having an absolute blast of it. Kids with heart defects have to take it slow in life. Their activities and physical limits can be a bit easier to break due to the things going on with them. There are so many of these kinds of defects that it often varies though. I myself got lucky that after my second surgury at the age of eight years old, I've never had any more problems and have essentially been able to go on living like any other normal person. Some of these kids get to be that lucky, some of them don't but go on to live happily and well adjusted, and on rare occasions in the middle of the year, I've gotten news passed down to me when one or two of the campers will have passed away. Those have always been rough. One year specifically, the camp director Joyce called me specifically to say that a boy named Josh had an attack on his way home from school and his parents had her invite me specifically to the funeral, because of how Josh had apparently looked up to me at the time and even spent a lot of his time when he came home from camp actually walking around immitating me. My mannerisms, the way I walk, pretty much any of my other weird tics, he picked up on and just kind of... Adopted them for a little while. It was a weird thing to hear, but I went to the funeral and it was as heavy as can be expected, but the reception I got from the boys parents was like I was a member of their family. I've been going to camp ever since and it's seemed like at the age of 15, I'd found something I could have seen myself doing happily for the rest of my life.

I can't explain it, I just love working with kids. I get a huge, rejuvenating charge out of it and it seems like other than writing, to be the only thing that gives me a sense of real joy in my life. The whole thing gives me a drive and makes me feel like I've got a purpose. Writing ain't paying any bills yet, and I've always loved the idea of trying to work with kids on a regular basis. The trouble is, whenever you walk into a place where you'd be able to do something like that and you're a male my age, you get looked at suspiciously like a potential sex offender in waiting.
I've even thought at times of the idea of becoming a teacher, but again, the current social climate in America has people looking cock-eyed at male teachers when they hire them and then the ones that do get hired have to worry about so many laws or complaints from uptight parents that it's hard to even get involved in breaking up a fight between the kids without the possibility of being scrutinized. I've never been able to make more of it than the 10 years of one week volunteering I do for Camp Bravehearts and now this year, I can't even get that. It just... sucks!

But I digress, what should be the focus of my attention right now is not fucking up my summer finals in bio, psych, and algebra. College sucks. It doesn't feel like the right thing for me, but I'm fighting and killing myself to get through it finally just for the sake of my parents and making them proud so they don't have to worry about me in case the writing thing never works out. (It will. I'm too determined not to let it.)

So now, I'm off to class to sit and listen and try to retain and not let my mind get distracted by kittens or shiny things and just try to get this total suck week over with.

1 comment:

Benjamin Hall said...

Gah! I tried to post a comment but blogger ate it! So I apologize if this is a double post.

I mainly just said it's cool of you to do what you do at that camp. That's really great.

It's also really cool that you are so determined to be a writer that you own it, but still have a back-up plan. It's very similar to what I'm doing.