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Blanket Bliss

A Drama Teacher’s Gift

By Steven RicePublished 2 years ago 5 min read
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A story about a gay man and how his high school drama teacher showed kindness is nothing ground breaking. Nevertheless, this story (my story) should be told and what better way then on this platform? This small act of kindness has stuck with me for over ten years. Before I jump right into the heartfelt gesture, I shall provide a back story (cue the sappy violin instrumental).

Growing up, I was not only struggling with my sexuality, but I also was trying to navigate my social anxiety. I had close friends, but truly only saw them at school. Living in several poverty, I was not up to having anyone over to our trailer that lacked A/C and had bugs. Clearly with the “do I like dudes?” and the “please do not let the other kids know we can not even afford trash pick up”, I had a lot of anxiety built up. I wanted to find my tribe yes, I know that sounds corny, but ‘tis life.

I view myself as a nice person, so it came easy to not have my peers hate me. I tried my best to blend in and make friends. Just like a high school comedy (just without actors in their 30’s playing 16-years-olds) I had the mindset that everyone thought I was weird and awkward. I mean I am, but still wanted to find a group of accepting teens. Lucky for me, I entered the world of theater.

In the small town I was living in, most male students would jump at the opportunity to have gym class. On the other hand, taking an extra semester gym class is the LAST thing I want to partake in. My amazing mother (may she rest in peace) secured me a spot in the drama class instead. As an added treat, the teacher of the class also was a teacher of mine in middle school. I was happy to have her as a teacher again, then the realization hit me that I would have to go on stage...in front of people.

Surprisingly, once I hit the stage, I felt like a natural. Like someone who sat on the sidelines, but once given the chance, they took the world of football by storm. (Bonus points for me making a sports reference.) Not only was acting a challenging reward, the other drama lovers were amazing. After sometime, I took a leap and auditioned for the annual one act competition. It was a nice way to break out of my shell a bit more. However, I was not shooting for the stars. I just wanted to be a part of the group and landed a very small role in the play. I played a farmer and got to walk around barefooted, winning.

I had never been part of any extra curricular activities before, so this was new for me and exciting. The drama club was great. They eventually threw me a surprise birthday celebration and would offer for me to hang out at the local pizza restaurant. I know this sounds lame, but like I said it was new for me. I guess this would be the sad sappy part in the high school comedy. I even got to travel (for the competition) which was great. Even though I got super motion sick on the way back and vomited SEVERAL times in front of everyone, it was a good time.

Now time for the good deed, I know you have been in deep anticipation! The drama teacher threw the cast and crew a holiday party at her home. This was a big deal to me too. To be honest, even now I am not the biggest fan of allowing a ton of people into my space (social anxiety for the win). If the hospitality and food was not enough, she also told us she got everyone gifts. Free stuff is legit one of my top five favorite things of all time, so naturally I was thrilled. She handed everyone a small cute throw blanket. Good time to mention the play was called The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, so it was a play on words.

Again, this might seem like such a small thing, but to me it really meant a lot. What a kind soul to welcome us into her home and even purchase us gifts (punny gifts at that). The magnitude this held for a poor kid who rarely got gifts was immense. This was in 2008 and I still have the blanket to this day. I took it really deep and used the blanket as a metaphor. The blanket could be symbolic of the protection we received in drama class/club. It was a mixture of students and all were accepted. Shortly after the gifted blanket, my mother passed and my whole life changed. Most of my belongings were left in the past as I had to move to another state. This broke my heart. I felt as if I was just beginning to find my way and the teacher was a crucial part of this. So, I held onto the blanket.

The moral of the story is, you never know how a small gesture can impact someone. For me, the blanket brings back the amazing memories that I collected before my world blew up. I keep the blanket stored in a sentimental box that when I feel like getting into my feels, I take a look in the box. I even had to stop my husband from trying to toss the blanket when we first got together. I told him it was given to me by someone very special and he thought it was an ex, but I saved it from his grasp! Even if you do not look this deep into gifts, just think of this story. It is corny, but when it comes to gifts, it truly is the thought that counts.

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If this story threw a blanket over your heart and warmed it, then please keep in mind that tips are always appreciated. Plus, if you enjoyed my writing, you could follow my journey:

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About the Creator

Steven Rice

Growing up I had many visions of what I wanted to be when I grew up. At times I was relentless on becoming a Power Ranger or a writer. After twenty-nine years, the path that seems most obtainable is becoming a writer.

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