I wasn't kicked out of Catholic school in 4th grade. I was asked not to return because I asked too many questions. I went to a public grammar school for 5th, 6th & by 7th grade my teacher was threatening the other students with detention if they woke me up during class. I remember my mother yelling at Mrs. Sills because I wasn't allowed to have cupcakes for a classmates birthday because I didn't do multiplication tables the same way everyone else did even though I came to the correct answer & couldn't understand why even though I got the answer right I was still wrong.
8x8? Right, so line up 8 8's, the first two are sixteen, the second two are 16, the third two are 16, the fourth two are 16, the first two 16s are 32, the second two 16s are 32, 32+32=64. More work, but I DID the work, I didn't just memorize & regurgitate. I questioned why. I needed to know how it worked, why it worked & how I could prove it worked. I couldn't finish the test in the allotted time because the test was geared towards all those kids giving the answers they were told to give because they believed them to be true.
I moved to a public middle school for 8th & 9th grade which was segregated into 9 different levels per class. You had 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-4 and so on... 8-9 was where I ended up after testing, gifted & talented. By the end of that year I had failed Spanish (which at the time I considered a useless study... hindsight right?) so I had to go to summer school. Returning to 9th grade after summer school I was automatically assigned to 9-1... Special Ed. One of my classmates was thrown out of gym for excessive masturbation, not just masturbation, EXCESSIVE masturbation. My parents threw a fit & I was moved up to 9-7. Where I was the only boy in class. While I wasn't being challenged by my teachers I was definitely learning some serious social skills. (This is where I met my first girlfriend, Patty MacDonald, whom I took to our 9th grade graduation dance & kissed on the lips. She dumped me via postcard several weeks later while on vacation with her family in Virginia.)
Eventually, through what I believed was no fault of my own, I had to carry a small card around with me that each teacher would sign if I showed up to class. They would write notes on the card saying how I did in class that day. My father (seriously, I can't apologize enough for this to this day) had to come into school EVERY Friday afternoon to meet with my "disciplinarian" and make sure the card was filled out. (I was on the short list of people who may have thrown a rock through her office window but it really wasn't me.) I finally got busted forging cards when I made the note that said I got a 10 on a test into 110 & told my parents that I got the extra credit questions right...
Somehow (I'm sure it had a lot to do with my parents paying an exorbitant amount of tuition) I went back into the Catholic fold for High School. This was when shit got really weird. I took Typing 1 as an elective three years in a row before they caught me. I shaved my hair into two rows of liberty spikes on an 11th grade Easter morning & I can still remember my Mother's disappointment, "Easter? really?" I never really apologized for that, but deep down, I'm pretty sure in the long run I never had to. Mom always supported me as long as I wasn't hurting myself or anyone else. Or if I did, at least I learned something from it.
Anyway, without going into the emotional, dysfunctional clusterfuck that was college & beyond, what I've come to realize from ALL of this is that throughout my life I have been vehemently against any form of the word FAITH from day one. I have never been satisfied with "because I said so."
Quoting from the book "Mindfulness in Plain English"
"Buddhism does not advocate faith in the sense of believing
something because it is written in a book, attributed to a prophet, or
taught to you by some authority figure. The meaning of faith here is
closer to confidence. It is knowing that something is true because
you have seen it work, because you have observed that very thing
within yourself. In the same way, morality is not a ritualistic obedience to a code of behavior imposed by an external authority. It is rather a healthy habit pattern that you have consciously and voluntarily chosen to impose upon yourself because you recognize its superiority to your present behavior."
I do have faith, but only in my own experiences. I believe in what I have seen, what I have experienced, what I have learned to be true.
My truth is me.
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