I don’t wish I was dead, and I’m certainly not suicidal, but I often find myself preoccupied with my own funeral.
In addition, I’ve also come to a very difficult realization: If I were to die tomorrow in a terrible accident, it would not be considered a tragedy. Some would consider it unfortunate, but not tragic; some would consider it justice served.
The former would be the opinion of my past friends and acquaintances; the latter would be the opinion of those who despise every fiber of my being — and me.
The fact is, I struggle with knowing whether I’ve done too much evil in this world, so much evil that I would never be able to balance the scale with any number of acts of goodness, even if I spent the rest of my life trying to prevent others from making the same choices I made. And though I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and effort attempting to lay a foundation for this in the future, I sometimes feel that it will be all for naught. I have not yet faced significant rejection in this endeavor, other than the rejection of my former peers in the educational community who shunned my original “Initiative” in 2012.
It’s a strange conundrum: Once you’ve done something bad, the world doesn’t want you to do anything good. To many people (who have been unafraid to express this sentiment), the only thing “good” left for me to do is die. Seriously, I’m not making this up and I’m certainly not over-dramatizing the concept. I’ve read it, online, in text, clear as day.
Don’t get me wrong; in my mind’s-eye, a hand-full of people would attend my funeral, but it would be nothing glamorous. A few words would be said, a few tears would be shed, and that would be it. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.
“Either you die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
–The Dark Knight
That is essentially what I’ve done. I lived long enough to fuck my world up beyond repair — long enough to ruin my legacy; long enough to ruin my life. So now, my life’s goal is to do as much good in the world as I possibly can in my limited time left to hopefully balance the scales. I can never go back and unhurt the people I hurt. But what I can do is make every effort toward preventing someone else from hurting others the way I hurt so many people.
Understand, this has nothing to do with anything supernatural (like Karma or trying to get into Heaven or any other mythological concept); this is simply about trying to stop the snowball I set in motion, rolling down the mountain years ago.
So, get this: A former teacher, who went to prison for having a relationship with a student, is now attempting to get the attention of the educational community. He wants to help them identify the actual issues regarding unlawful teacher/student relationships which perpetuate in nearly every school in America; he wants to help seek actual solutions; and he has perspective from the inside — he understands the “why.” He can show teachers what to look for in their colleagues; he can show teachers what a ruined life looks like.
So why is he being rejected by the educational community?
Obviously, “he” is me. And although I expect even more rejections, I will not stop driving toward my goal of standing before groups of educators and addressing this issue head-on. The fact of the matter is, what is being done now is simply not working; because frankly, nothing is being done, and students continue to be victimized.
I just hope I can eventually make it matter. I just hope someone somewhere will have the insight to give me the opportunity I seek. I just hope someone reads my book, or hears me speak, and decides not to pursue a relationship with a student, or is able to see questionable behaviors in a colleague and promptly report them.
Maybe I’ve lived beyond my relevance. Maybe I’ve lived beyond my purpose. Maybe I’ve lived beyond my heroics. Maybe I’ve lived long enough see myself become the villain.
Can the villain ever really become the hero?
Deadshot thought so. In Suicide Squad, before Deadshot stepped forward and saved the world, he spoke with utmost resolve about his purpose behind his noble actions. “My daughter is gonna know that her daddy is not a piece of shit.” I share that sentiment. Deadshot is classified as an Anti-hero, the archetypal character type in a film or book who lacks the positive attributes of the conventional hero, but regardless, ends up pursuing the plot’s positive outcome. Essentially, an Anti-hero is a flawed guy who does good things for good reasons. This concept differs from that of the Villain because the Villain is a bad guy who does bad things for bad reasons. A few examples of Anti-heroes in classic films are Michael Corleone, John Constantine, Dirty Harry, Han Solo, V, and Dominic Toretto.
“The world only makes sense if you force it to,” Batman (another Anti-hero) said in Batman v. Superman. I completely agree. And that’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’m the Anti-hero of the education industry. I’m the flawed bad guy who is trying to do something good. They haven’t heard form me in quite a while, but that will soon change. I stand ready to speak, I need only a stage.
Because I’m not getting any younger, I am only growing wiser. And now that I am too old to die young, I have lived long enough to see myself become the villain. But now, the villain wants to give the good guys all the secrets of the Dark Side. The battle they fight can indeed be won, and I stand ready to defect.
“We can do better. We will. We have to.”
-Batman v. Superman
And yet, my phone does not ring…