Perhaps the last mini-series I will ever do as a MiddBlog contributor (Ahh!), Thank You Letters will be just what they say they are: small letters of gratitude to the people and institutions that have enriched my time and life at Middlebury.
The hardest part about writing this letter is deciding where to start. In a way, this is where all the stories of my time at Middlebury begin—every moment and decision that I have made can somehow be traced back to the time I spent living on the fourth floor of Stewart Hall with all of you. The impact that you have made on my life cannot be summarized in a letter, cannot even begin to be described in words, but I will try my best to articulate my deep and unconditional affection for all of you and my utmost gratitude for how you all have shaped my Middlebury experience in such a beautiful way.
I think what I love most about you all is how weird y’all are. And not just weird like strange or quirky weird, but I’m talking midnight vogueing competitions in the hallway and broken noses from wrestling matches in the restroom and wearing Santa costumes and streaking around campus kind of weird, the kind of weird that isn’t always apparent when first meeting someone, the kind of weird that is drawn out of you when you feel completely secure and comfortable with the people surrounding you, the kind of weird that comes out of an intensely fierce closeness. Because that’s what we’ve had, what we continue to have with one another. A fierce closeness. An openness. An acceptance of all the shades and hues of one another’s personalities.
You all have always made me feel like it’s okay for me to be exactly who I am, even if that person hates almost all forms of organized sports and sometimes has blue hair and has loud opinions about a lot of things. From the very start of it all, you were my most intense advocates, the people with whom I could share a home and feel safe, and for that I am extremely grateful. You all cannot possibly imagine the difference it made for this weird little nugget of an eighteen-year-old, who spent a good chunk of his time being bullied in high school, to be surrounded by such loving and supportive hall-mates. It was a new and scary feeling, but one that most definitely changed the course of the kind of man and student I would eventually become.
I loved the way we grew together. Over the course of a year, we experienced a whole swath of firsts together: post-drunken-night sickness, heartbreak, passing our first round of college exams, being away from home for long periods of time. And even when we frustrated and irritated each other, we were always there for one another, always there to support and hold each other through the roughest bits of our transitions from our old homes to this new home. We were friends, roommates, neighbors, advice counselors, music-swappers, shower-stall-singing duos and trios and, most importantly, in our own strange way, brothers.
Even now, years after we holed ourselves up in the building next to the cemetery, I still count you all amongst some of the most influential and important people in my Middlebury life. We’ve moved to spots all over campus, and I see some of you more than I see others, but I hope you all know that I am here for you whenever you need me. I say this because I know without a doubt in my mind that you all are always here for me and, for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.
With so much love and respect and all the other good things,