I have been waiting to use that lyric ever since I first heard it. To me, it is the perfect line to describe my job. Teaching has gotten a lot harder in the last ten years or so. The job did not instantly get tough but has slowly been getting more and more difficult. To me, each subtle change or each little new expectation did not seem like a big deal at the time. They were paper cuts. Now, many teachers are full of paper cuts, to follow the metaphor. The last couple of weeks have definitely felt like receiving a series of paper cuts that are so bad that I’m left bleeding and stinging. Funny part is that on just one day last week, I literally got six paper cuts. It seemed fitting.
Looking at my job as well as other activities in my life, I have come to a conclusion. I seek intensity. I live and breathe intensity. When it comes to teaching, I can be laser focused on what I need to do for the job. The last couple of weeks have included very little beyond writing finals, grading them along with any other assignments that have been turned in, and getting ready for the new semester. The amount of time I have spent on huge is huge. I literally have graded every single day in the last three weeks. While the job is set up to do this, I also recognize that I take on the intensity differently than many of my colleagues. Others are able to turn off the work and the thinking but I struggle with that. It is probably one of the reasons that I believe I’m a good teacher but it makes the rest of life tough. On one hand, I desperately want something a little less stressful. On the other, this feels normal to me. Part of me, I think, likes it. The reason I think this is because I do the same things in other areas of my life.
As many of you know, besides teaching, I also volunteer my time with political campaigns. What is the best part about campaigning? The end is the best part. I love the Get Out the Vote weekend. For those not in the know, it is the last four days of the campaign when we hit the ground hard and at full speed with maximum volunteers. Those weekends are marked by very little sleep and working 14-16 hour days. Most people would run from this but I love it especially when I am on the winning team. That feeling of elation is like nothing else I have experienced. Political marches create the same level of intensity and emotionality. The only thing better is touring.
I love lots and lots of parts of fandom and this Duran Duran fandom of mine but there is nothing better than touring. Like teaching, I suspect that Rhonda and I tour more intensely than some. After all, we can and do often party pretty hard. I won’t lie. There have been times in which we have had more drinks than we have hours of sleep. Even now, over a decade into touring, we are still typically the last people standing. Our roommates always seem to get to sleep before we do. Even when we leading the activities at Durandemonium, our 2013 convention, we still went out after everyone else was back at the hotel after dancing the night away at Late Bar, Chicago’s New Wave dance club. The lack of sleep combined with the partying and non-stop activity is pretty intense. Heck, on the very first tour Rhonda and I were awake for over 36 hours and did not consume any food for almost 24 hours. It was a sign of how this touring thing would go for us.
When I stop and analyze my life, I have to admit that I like intensity because I like how everything else fades into the background. When I’m on tour, I just think about touring, Duran Duran, my friends, my fandom. While politics or teaching may enter for a few minutes here or there, my mind doesn’t stay on them. Unfortunately, though, touring is not as common as I wish it was. Instead, really, teaching is the bulk of my day-to-day existence. Unlike touring, I wish I wasn’t as intensely focused on it as I am. I try to keep up with politics during the school year and I definitely try to stay in contact with some elements of my fandom but they are often fleetly and short-lived until the news is about a tour or something equally exciting. Then, I can carve out time for plotting! The one thing I do in my life that gives me a good break is this. Blogging.
When we started this blog, I thought this would help us in a variety of ways. I thought maybe we would meet new people. I figured that we would gain some insight into our fan community, that we would learn a lot about our fandom. There was hope that we would become better writers. All of that has happened. What I didn’t expect was what blogging would do for me personally. It gives me a real break from the insane world of being a high school teacher or political activist. Truly, it allows me to keep the fun side of me alive even when the rest is attempting to swallow that part of me. Heck, even when I am not blogging myself, taking the time to read Rhonda’s blog or people’s comments is necessary for me to remain sane. Am I alone in this or does this blog give people a little break from the stress of their day-to-day existence? I know that I’m thankful for it and hope others are as well.