This year, Trident Technical College awarded me that title. I'm not sure how many teachers work at the college, but we have over 17,000 students. So we have a few.
Awards are nice. I don't know anyone that hates them. I mean, hates for real. Modesty might gloss over the excitement, but no one actually hates being BLANK of the Year. Unless it's Asshole. But even that's kind of cool.
This recognition means more to me than something like this normally would, but probably not for the reasons you might think.
My 20s were rough. I was depressed. I didn't know I was depressed, I just knew that every day was like dragging dead weight. Heaviness was in me. I had trouble in crowds. Words were cold in my mouth. Each morning, I stepped into shoes wet with fear beneath a gray sky.
A gray sky with no end.
There was no reason for it.
Alcohol wasn't a problem. No drugs. I had wonderful family. I was never cold. Never hungry. I was 23, just married to a beautiful woman yet life was looking impossibly long. None of this would make sense to others. "What's wrong with you?" they would ask.
I don't know.
There were many years of work ahead of me. But some good therapists and a Zen practice helped me right the ship. It didn't happen all of sudden. There are days, even now, I have to pay attention. For some, mental health requires a delicate grip.
So I'm here. Still here. And I've got this award.
It means more than you think.