How My English Teacher Saved My Mental Health

When I was a young, naive freshman, I was given a writer's notebook that my teacher was supposed to check every marking period. We could write about whatever we wanted, but the vulnerable pieces got the most comments. Now that I think about it, it was probably a huge invasion of privacy. But I don't regret it. If it wasn't for my teacher letting me pour my immature heart out in that notebook, I wouldn't be who I am today.

Mr. P, I am so sorry you had to read the childish pieces that I passionately believed were good. As stupid as those entries were, you made your lengthy remarks about how I should write more and more about everything going on. Little did you know that you were encouraging me to open up to myself. Suppressing my feelings from other people was already a problem. But concealing my issues from myself was even worse. Having that writers notebook gave me a place to vent and reflect on thoughts I didn't want to address.

I was opening up about so many things about myself, things that I didn't even know were on my mind. You opened up a door of writing that I never knew I needed. Letting my thoughts wander on those pages gave me a space to ease my mind. So thank you for making me write a specific amount every semester and forcing me to think when I didn't want to.

Exposing my mind to myself freshman year definitely ignited my love for writing. To this day I write in my little college ruled, marbled notebook when I'm upset or just need a place to relieve my mind. However, my pieces when I was 14 were not as intellectual or thought-provoking as they are today. My favorite is my first "heartbreak." I went on a rampage. In my 20-page novella I expressed all my anger in curse words I don't even think exist. Spilling my heart in red, black, and blue ink, I was devastated. And my freshman year English teacher had to read that. Imagine what a little loser he thought I was, being so appalled that I got dumped.

To my surprise, he encouraged my vulgar language and actually told me to write more, as if my three chapter book wasn't enough. Unfortunately, he easily convinced me. I kept writing about this so-called tragedy. And today, I get to look back on my short story and I am so very grateful I am not that person today. Thank you for letting me vent about the most insignificant thing to happen in my life and realize that I was overreacting like a lunatic. But it is these small realizations that have helped me grow into a stronger person. I am so glad I keep writing in that beat up writer's notebook because it exposes the tremendous (and much needed) growth I've had since I was 14.

Mr. P, thank you for sparking the flame on my writing candle, I hope that it never dies.


Your student.

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