Have you ever met someone and felt like you’ve known them forever?
It is a wonderful feeling, but it carries its own set of problems. Problems worth working through.
I often feel like it’s too late for me to become the cultured person I intended to be. I didn’t get the liberal arts education that I was obviously meant for. I never took a poetry course in college. I never attended the orchestra as a kid.
It is easy to forget how much I have already transformed when all I can see is how much is still left to do.
In 2009, my former art teacher, Mr. Joe Bell called me to ask if I would be interested in helping with Highland High School’s production of Grease. He didn’t have enough boys for all the roles and no one who could pull off Beauty School Dropout. He’d gotten permission to have a alum come in alumni to come in and perform the song.
He didn’t know it at the time, but I truly believe that his phone call saved my life.
I was sliding into a suicidal depression that continued into late 2010, one that nearly claimed my life. Without the catharsis and connection that the stage offered me, I don’t know that I would have survived this period.
The years since have been some of my most difficult, but also some of the absolute best. I’ve seen things and felt things I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve met people who have changed my outlook on the world and been, in some small way, an inspiration to others around me.
All because of a call from a high school art teacher.
So, I dedicate this to all of the teachers that ever reached out to me and specifically to Joe Bell. You changed my life. You saved my life.