Dear Professor H,
I’m bored. I’ve been bored for years. The first day I stepped into your classroom I was bored, and it wasn’t because you are a boring professor. Actually, you are quite the opposite. You were one of my favorite professors; albeit slightly terrifying in the awe-inspiring, never want to get you angry, kind of way that seems to feed my masochistic tendencies. Nevertheless, when we met I was bored. The world wasn’t challenging me; school wasn’t challenging me, at least, not in the ways I needed to be challenged.
You saw this in me even though I hadn’t seen it in myself yet. You knew I was bored out of my mind, and half the time I simply went through the motions. You saw it in my writing, and you saw it in my class participation. I didn’t apply myself, and it limited me from actually learning something useful, all because the journey getting there was boring. I knew I had to do it, but I just didn’t have the drive.
“Faith you are the smartest person in my class. Why are you being stupid? Stop fighting me.”
I honestly didn’t realize I was fighting you, or anyone for that matter. I just thought I was coasting through. The world was supposed to get more challenging; I was in college, I had jobs and girlfriends, and friends, and clubs I was a part of, and yet it didn’t get more challenging. The world simply became busy. You saw this in me, this quiet apathy that was slowly eating away at me masked by drama and an over-imagination.
You never gave me an A in your class. I didn’t deserve one. We both knew this truth. I would have deserved an A if I cared but, by the time I took another class with you, I had started to check out of college. We would talk about my future during our walks after class remember? I would hang out until the other students bounced, and I would walk with you to the next building. I don’t know if you ever picked up on it, but I thrived better during one-on-one interactions. Years of being stuck in classrooms that did little to draw my attention had triggered some major moments of ADD, but when you got me one-on-one I just lit up. We both know this. We both also know that my girlfriend at the time was raking me over the coals, and my grades were severely suffering. I don’t think I told you that I had been considering dropping out of college. I stopped loving it…I actually stopped loving a lot of things…but I digress.
You made me laugh in class, and you have left me crying. I became scared of disappointing you, and a part of me hated you. You challenged me when I wasn’t ready to be challenged. Damn if I didn’t hate you for it, and damn if I am not grateful that you did.
I was reading an article today about boredom and creativity, this is what sparked my desire to write to you, and I flashed back to my sophomore year when I sat in your class shaking because you called me out in front of my peers for falling asleep in class. I remember jerking awake, and I must have looked terrified because you had gotten a soft look on your face (which was rare for that class), and told me you weren’t angry or upset with me. Instead, you said that I had fallen asleep because you weren’t engaging me in the coursework. You were right, but at the same time I fell asleep in all of my classes that day. You were the only one who was able to keep me awake.
4 years later and you still are engaging me in coursework. That day I fell asleep you called on me for every single question, and I felt miserable. I was exhausted, and my head hurt, and I just wished to crawl back into bed. Yet there you were, pushing me to the point where I practically gnawed through my pencil in frustration. You then pushed me the rest of the semester, and every semester thereafter, even when I didn’t have a class with you. Hell, I’ve been out of college going on 2 years and you are still engaging me in course work. I mean you got me to sit in on a reading discussion when I was simply visiting the campus! What is that? Who does that?
G– would say that someone who believes in me would do that. You paid me the greatest compliment that day you asked me to sit down with your group. Your group was working on horror stories, and I stood in the doorway listening you describe one of the most horrifying characters in contemporary literature, and I couldn’t stop myself from verbally agreeing with you. I think you freaked out your students, because you got this wide grin on your face when you saw me, and then you shocked all of us by hugging me. (I’m not saying you are a cold heartless bitch…even though you described yourself as a cold, heartless bitch the first time I ever took your class. I’m just saying you are a fighter.) But the compliment you gave had my jaw dropping. You asked me to take a seat as you introduced me to your students, and you said,
“This is Faith, one of my former students, and one of the best writers to ever come through this program.”
Your students looked at me like I was some kind of fairytale creature, you know that? But I loved being there, listening to your students and discussing their work. Funny, I’ve spent so many years unsure of what I wanted to do, and yet the most comfortable I have ever been was sitting in that small discussion group talking about how a good horror character is born out of the darkest aspects of the author. Speaking of fairy tales, a bunch of fairy-tale based movies are coming out, and I can see your excitement to tear them apart in my head. I’m excited to tear them apart myself, a trait I learned, begrudgingly, from you. You do realize you are the reason why I can’t simply enjoy a movie anymore? I’m sitting there analyzing the plot, character development, themes and symbolism, and cultural relevance when I should just be enjoying some major eye-candy. But no, I can’t do that because some crazy professor I had years ago blew my mind when she dared me to disprove her point that Pretty Woman is more of a Beauty and the Beast story than a Cinderella story.
At least you are a Buffy fan. Everyone thought that I was just pandering to your love of Buffy when I wrote my paper about the “Gentleman” fairy tale, but I knew that you were going to be grading me more harshly than my classmates because of the topic I chose. You are a true fan, and true fans of Buffy are some of the hardest people to appease. I should know; anyone who even dares to make a criticism of the show without having substantial proof in their arguments are torn down by me on a regular basis. It could also be because I have 2 BTVS tattoos and want a third. Nonetheless, it was great to have that connection with you outside of academia.
I’m blogging now. Well…I don’t know if it is blogging, or if I’m simply taking the noise in my head and sharing it with the world, but it seems to be going well. I’m doing a letter experiment right now that I am completely failing at, but that is because my audience is the world; I’ve found it quite difficult to figure out how to appeal to that broad of an audience. Nevertheless, I am having fun. It curbs the boredom of my life. I’m still in Iowa, and I’m still aimless in my adventures, but so far I haven’t done anything too stupid so it is all a win in my book. I’m trying to finish my memoir, but I keep getting jammed with it. It might be because I have no idea what I really want to say with it, and I keep involuntarily wincing because I’m expecting a slap upside my head.
Maybe I need one.
Well now I’m rambling and I hate doing that so I’m going to end here. I’m grateful that I took your courses, and I am grateful for how much you fought to pull me out of my boredom. I must say your class was never stereotypically boring. I just didn’t know where I was going. Still don’t, but I’m hoping I’ll eventually end up on a beach somewhere. One can dream. I hope you are doing well, and that your classes are going well. Don’t make too many of them cry. I’ve found that the kids that have come up after me are wholly sensitive and fond of rose-colored glasses. Scratch that, I’m going to send you some tissues to hand out that way they don’t blubber everywhere. Thanks Professor H.