There are a lot of people who change your life every day. That obnoxious guy in third period made you roll your eyes, the stranger who almost ran over you made you give him the bird, and the cashier/bagger duo at Publix made you laugh at their antics.
However, these aren't the people I'm talking about. Although they influence you in some minuscule way or other, they don't have a lasting impression on you (or at least, they usually don't). No, in this post, I'm going to focus on the people who have changed the way I see myself and the world.
1. Katie Collins has made me closer to God. Whatever feelings of irritation I originally felt that she was so religious are now gone, permanently replaces with a deep feeling of gratitude. Without her, I would never have felt as close to God as I do now. We may have a few fuzzy differences in opinion when it comes to worship, prayer, and the like, but that doesn't matter in the long run: without her, I would never have even believed in God, and would have committed suicide last November when I was convinced there was nobody in the who gave a flying fuck about me. I thank Katie for assuring me that there's much more than a crowd of people who care about me: I've got the big guy in the sky on my side.
2. Ryan Philipp has made me love history. History's one of my passions now, but I would probably still think of it as boring if it weren't for Coach Phil. The first day of class, I thought, "Now this guy really loves history." Well, yeah, you say. He's a history teacher, for Christ's sake. Still, though, I was surprised by the way Phil (as we students affectionately call him) managed to be so enthusiastic about what I had, until that point, thought of as the one subject where even the teachers seem to have a bit of distaste for it. I became determined to figure out why this man was so interested in history, and I'm glad to say that I found some amazing things in my textbook. (Well, okay, in the lecture notes, seeing as we never used our textbook, but whatever.)
3. Gregory Onision has made me vegetarian. He was the first one to convince me that eating animals isn't only immoral, it's also not healthy. Through his videos on YouTube, I discovered things- over the course of a few days- it would have taken me months to find out any other way. His videos encompass a wide range of other things, too, so even when I'm not in the mood to be re-lectured on how meat isn't just murder, it's suicide, I can still have a challenging three and a half minutes, thinking logically about what he's said. Onision isn't preaching, he's informing. (Thank Merlin for that.)
4. Amy Gleaves, whether or not she meant to, made my life a living hell for a few months. I burned myself with matches and lighters (no scars are left from that, thank God), I couldn't concentrate on anything, and I had to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline four times over the course of three weeks. I finally found a way to literally move away from the situation, but being around her still hurts. I don't think this woman will ever fully understand the extent of the damage and havoc her presence wreaked on my body. I don't blame her 100%, but I know I will never- no matter what anyone says- be able to see her as an innocent bystander when it comes to my mental health.
5. Regina Spektor- yes, the singer- has inspired me to write music. I am teaching myself to play piano, and it's going pretty well, if I do say so myself. I'm in the process of adding music to my previously vocals-only songs. The amazing ReSpekt is not the only person responsible for my not-incredibly-sudden foray into the world of music, but she's definitely played a major role. Her music is very unique, and since I first heard a song by her, I've wanted to sound as great as she does (with my own style, of course).
6. Steve Reed gave me discipline. He is, quite possibly, the best damn English teacher the world has ever seen. I mean, this guy means business! Mr. Reed (no nicknames from students for this guy!) is a hardcore disciplinarian, and definitely one to correct your word usage. He's well-known for saying things like, "No, you did not accidentally leave your homework in your locker. You did not trip, fall, and leave it in your locker, did you? No, you mistakenly left it. Now go get it. Do it again and you'll have lunch detention." Everyone in my class had a love-hate relationship with the old man. We loved him and his life lessons (and he could ramble on about some life lessons, let me tell ya), but hated him once we got in trouble. Typical eighth graders. Anyways, the guy made me understand that putting in effort is, you know, a good thing.
7. Mary Frances Rudy has provided me with more cultural experiences than I ever thought possible. With my Mimi, I've been swimming with dolphins and stingrays, met some extremely interesting people (not nearly as interesting as the stingrays, though!), and wandered aimlessly through art galleries on cruise ships. This woman is a piece of work, for sure, but she's also an incredible person. Thanks to her, I've done things many people may never have the chance to do- and I've also learned not to take such things for granted. I squeeze the most I can out of every trip I go on with her, every play I see.
There you have it. Those people have had profound effects on my life in general; I didn't bother listing the obvious (my mum and dad for making it all possible, hehe... oh God, the mental images... ew). I certainly hope you've enjoyed this weird little insight into my world. I've said some things that I haven't really ever told anyone- how odd that the first entity I share them with should be the internet.
This post required quite a bit of soul-searching, let me tell you. I mean, there are tons of people I know have changed me- that wasn't the hard bit. The difficult part was figuring out how they'd changed me. I mean, seriously! You ever tried to think about it?