Every time you write me an email (which, if I might be so bold, have been sparse lately) I feel like I am powerful.
You've told me I march to the beat of a different drum even before you knew I love Thoreau, and you keep telling me, almost in every email that I'm special.
Some part of me knows you're right. Sure, there's always been this thing in me. . this itch; this feeling that I am going to do something great- maybe. If I rise above everything around me. One day I'll speak in front of a million people, write a book that saves lives, or become president. I don't know what, but something.
I hope it's something like what you do, quietly handing out wisdom that you've acquired through your years of teaching. I hope I save a life, not through some daring mission and being lowered from a helicopter, but through words, and love, and a hug that goes against the social mores we've all grown used to.
Another part of me says no way. Have you seen me? I can't even walk into a room without dying of fear, and I haven't called you (even though I sorely needed to because that college application was due oh, say, 4 months ago) because talking on the phone, especially to someone like you, is a crippling though. I feel like vomiting just thinking about it.
You are strong, and most of all- you believe in me, which makes me scared to screw up. Which I always end up doing, inevitably, by the way.
Whenever I see your name and a subject line, I smile, and wonder what new things you have to say. Every time it's different.
I know you expect something out of me, something great, because you've told me. Every journal I wrote in your class came back with "You should be a writer", "This should be your life's work; your vocation" or "Yes!" on it. You liked it, and you weren't just saying it (I though you were just flattering me for a while, until some other students of yours told me they didn't get glowing comments on their journals).
You make me want to be better- I guess you make me feel like I should always be spouting wise thoughts, a miniature Emerson or Thoreau or Whitman. If that were possible, believe me I would do it! If every word I said could have something extra, an oomph, if you will- I would do it without a doubt.
Sadly, most of my words come shrouded in lots of "Um"'s and "Uh"'s and I can barely thread together an intelligible sentence half the time!
What can I say? You're a hero!
Everything about you, from the regal way you carry yourself to the awesome hippy clothes you're always wearing (which I keep wanting to compliment you on, but always stop myself. You are after all over 50, and I'm 17. Some rule of conduct somewhere must say that I shouldn't like your clothes) you're just- perfect. I want to be like you, I guess.
If in, say, 30 years I end up being a college professor (not in Sociology, of course, I didn't do too well in your class) it will be because of you. It will be because I never realized a professor, or a teacher could touch a student's life in just one semester. Especially a student who never really reached out unless it was in neatly printed college-bound sheets of notebook paper. Actually, I never realized a human being could touch another human being that way, either. Oh sure, others have been sweet and caring and genuinely loving, but you were so much more. You saw a dream that was too scared to come out and spoke magic chants to it, and coaxed it out.
I haven't told you this yet, and I may never, since you don't read my blogs, but you will be the first acknowledgment in my first book because you told me to write. You told me there was even something worth writing amidst my ramble!
Thank you, Professor Watkins,
You're my hero.