What a day. I felt good. Ready to perform. Ready to act out Behind Closed Doors. Then you showed up. Out of nowhere. Your name.

That’s all it took. Your name. Alex. We didn’t think about the names we’d chosen for our fictional characters in BCDs. We’d written these case studies weeks ago. We used gender neutral names like the progressive, socially responsible team that we are. But Alex can’t be used anymore. You ruined that for me when you showed up this afternoon.

I broke down. I cried. In front of my staff. And it felt good. To be honest. To tell my students how I’ve been feeling for the last three weeks. To show up for them in the most vulnerable of ways. To be real with them about how the only people who have their backs on this campus are the few people on this team.

I want my students, my RAs to know that we’re always here for them. The way that no one has been here for me and my team. I want them to know that I will never make them feel the way that I’ve felt for the last three weeks. I will always support them.

I wish you had a community of support. People to talk to. People to make you feel heard, understood, loved, supported. I wish you had that, Alex. Maybe you did, but your hurt or pain was greater. I hope you know I’m here for you now. I always will be.

I’m so fucking proud of this team for how well they handled BCDs. For how well they’ve done with training. Even while I was away. These people — our students, my team, they’re the reason I’m still here at Western. They’re the reason I show up every day. They’re the reason I came home.

Communicator. Educator. Empath. Survivor. Writer.