November 15, 2006

Letter to Thelma "There Are No Ordinary Moments"

There are no ordinary moments for OldManRivers. So the best I can do is ask for what I want from someone who I believe may be able to help me. I believe I know enough, and have learn some amazing tools for life from my people, my culture, my friends, and my experiences, but sometimes it's draining to constantly contemplate me, without some help. I decided to send an email to a good friend, and a person I respect and cherish. Her name is Thelma Box, and she started a program that changed my life (Choices). After writing the email, my spirit felt relieved. But then I though of publishing it on my blog since there is nothing in the letter I am ashamed of, and, maybe some of my reads can give insight, or possibly understand the difficult situation I am in. Enjoy!


Hello Thelma,

I hope all is well and your travels have been good.

I'm not exactly why I thought I would email you, but right now I'm feeling I need a little help. Life always has a strange way of doing things for us. But, my life has never been stranger. Schools, life, purpose, intent, and every dream and vision I have for myself and my people. It's a dilemma after dilemma. I guess making hard choices in life never get easy. But I don't want to complain, just looking for the light in this dark dark grey world.

School has always been a difficult thing. There are probably a number of reasons why, and you might be able to think of some of these. I go back to grade 8 when I moved into High School and I remember I had a lack of committment, but I wasn't happy. For the first year of high school in grade 8, I skipped my classes the most. I ended up failing almost everything, except Acting and PE. This set me back a year when I moved to grade 9. I remember feeling that school was stupid, that I know this stuff and it feels pointless to go and do things I already know. Thus I would skip class, and do things where I would learn, or help contribute too. But some of it was just me not going to school and end up going home and do nothing. This is also when things between myself and my parents started getting worse. I moved onto grade 9, and the problem was still persistent. Either I was to smart for the system, the system didn't work for me, or I was a stupid lazy teenager with problems. All through out my High School career, I've always been given oppertunities outside of school to learn, to help or to live, but the institution of school always wanted to bring me down. Fortunately the school I am at gave me a lot of "breaks", but it didn't help. Year after year the councillor and principle have given me breaks because of me failing my classes. Where it stands right now, I should technically be in grade 10. I've failed so many academic classes, that is where I "should" be.

Through my reading, and understand of the tools, I've come to the conclusion that schools do one of to things. Either you fail, and fall behind, or it forces you to cope. Cope with homework, cope with the lies, cope with the way you have to life 6 hours of your life, for 5 days a week. I wanted to live so much, I ended up failing (failing by their standards). I guess what I tell myself is that I'm too smart for school. It's barely worked for me, if at all, and it's held me back. At the beginning of the year I woke up to the fact the past 12 years in school have been a waste. Although I did create value from my revelation, I looked for alternates to education and found some interesting things I hope to do.

And now, we're here. I'm currently in grade 12, sort of. They made some more breaks for me, but it would take a long time to tell. Long story short, again, because of my desire to learn, live and grow, I'm faced with more hard decision. In the start of the year, I was an inch away from dropping out of school, and dropping into life. A few specific things kept me in school. One main thing that keeps me there now. Acting-Theater. One of my passions. I'm on the SR Improv team and we compete against other schools, and in other competitions. I'm also in the schools musical, and another production in late winter. And because of Choices, and my grandmother passing away, plus my other stuff, the school is an inch of kicking me out. I find it ironic that a few months ago I contemplated leaving, but chose to stay and committed to it. I'm feeling an utter pain of not being understood, but there a tape kicking up for me, again.

It's a choice between, stay in school, suffer through the pointless crap of school, but get the opportunities to work with the people I want to in acting. Or leave school, still go for my high school diploma, and honestly follow my dreams, live my purpose, so I can live in a world my intent is a reality, but not do the acting opportunities, with the people I want to do it with.

I'll be honest, there are some tapes with the idea of leaving school. But there is tapes in my head already. I am a confident and determined man, and I want to figure out what's best for me. I have the knowledge, and wisdom inside, but right now, I am so tired of having to contemplate the rest of my life, my existence, my dreams, my values, what I want, and a billion other questions about Dustin Rivers, in such a short little time, all on my own. It's getting exhausting. I think there is an added pressure, that comes with all Indigenous youth. "The young people are the saviors of our people" and live a life that can be extremely hard on young people. I'm just unsure of what I should be asking myself, and making a decision.

Some more honestly: Just writing this has helped sort everything out, and is starting to make that dark dark grey world, a little less dark, but I still need some help. I respect you for all the obvious reasons. Mostly because I don't imagine my life with out the program.

So, Thelma... I ask, do you have any insight, wisdom, questions, or anything at all that can help a 17 year old indigenous youth, searching for a way of life that brings fulfillment?

Thank you,
for anything and everything,
from Dustin Rivers

I Am A Liberated Man Who Gives Breath To The Noble Way As A Humble Emissary To Open Freedom With The People Through The Ancient "Chiyax" (History, Law, Protocol, Stories, Songs, Territory, Spirituality, and Governance)


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