People Always Leave…

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a dear friend who was moving away? Have you ever grown apart from someone that at one time was your best friend? I’m no stranger to the feelings that come with growing apart from and moving away from former best friends. Nearly every person I’ve ever considered to be a best friend has grown apart from me and moved away. To quote Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill, “People always leave.” I’ve accepted that. It’s an inevitable part of life. People always leave.

I’m the kind of girl who is friends with everyone. I’ve had my fair share of best friends. I haven’t had a bunch of close friends though. I haven’t been open and transparent with very many people. Sure, I’ve been an open book on the surface, but only a few people have gotten past the surface, and only a couple people have really been allowed to see my heart. While all of my friendships have been incredibly valuable to me, I have learned that a lot of them have been fairly shallow compared to how deep a friendship can be.

Have you ever had God answer a prayer you didn’t realize you were praying until after He provided for you? In August and September of 2012, God did just that for me. He sent me to a new church where I met three girls who would change my life and my view of friendship. If you’ve read any of my other posts, then you probably know who I’m talking about—Shelby, Allie, and Holly. Within the first hour of knowing Allie and Holly I shared a deep, dark secret that I hadn’t shared aloud with anyone else. With Shelby, I’ve shared feelings about things I’ve had bottled up for years, sometimes even decades.

In the past, when most of my other friends have moved away, it hasn’t been that big of a deal. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. Before my friends have moved, we’ve already grown apart from each other, so it hasn’t been much different for them to move away. That and we haven’t exactly had the deepest of friendships to begin with. This time it’s different though. This time, as I prepare to say goodbye to a friend who’s moving away, it’s not someone who I’ve grown apart from. She’s not someone whose friendship is comparatively shallow to how it could be. This time, one of the best and closest friends I’ve ever had is moving not only to a different city or different state, but also to a different country. She’s moving nearly 10,000 miles away!

Nearly as soon as I met Holly, she and Allie moved to Austin, so our friendship has for the most part been one of long distance already. It’s only been an 80-mile difference though, so we’ve been able to visit each other at least every couple months. In December, she moved back home to live with her family until she moves half way across the world.

Since she moved back in with her family, I’ve seen her much more than I’m accustomed to seeing her. It’s been great, because we’ve grown even closer. If I’m honest though, it has also really sucked, because I know I’m going to have to say goodbye in less than a month. After she leaves, I don’t know if or when I’ll be able to see her again. I’d like to say I will visit her at some point, but right now, I don’t plan on it. I can’t stand taking flights. Altitude change, even the most minute, always makes my ears hurt really badly and a trip to visit Holly would require a day of travel just one way. Even if I didn’t have the concern of feeling the agony of altitude change, then I’d have to consider how expensive it would be to be visit her. It’d cost between $1000 to $2000 just to get to her, plus the expenses of actually visiting with her. That’s expensive. As much as I love Holly and would love to visit her, that’s just not a trip I could afford to take right now or any time soon. I don’t imagine she’ll be able to afford many trips home either. Therefore, there’s no telling if or when I’ll see her while she’s living overseas.

Also if I’m being honest, then I must confess that I’ve had moments when I’ve had to fight not to feel bitter and angry toward God for calling one of my best friends to live overseas. I know He gave her to me and placed her in my life so that she could help me grow in my walk with Him. So, it makes me sad to think that He’s calling her to live so far away that I can’t visit her very often, if ever. Those have been fleeting moments though, because the Holy Spirit has reminded me that this isn’t going to be like all the other times. I’m not losing a friend. In fact, I’ll probably actually get to chat with this friend more than I do now, because we’ll be on the same schedule. Right now, we live in the same time zone, but she wakes up at like 7am and goes to bed before midnight, while I don’t wake up until 2 or 3pm and go to sleep around 4 or 5am, because I work the night shift at a call center. Still, knowing that one of best and closest friends is leaving has left me feeling a lot more emotional than I was expecting to feel. I mean, for the most part Holly and I have had more of a text messaging and social media friendship than anything else, but I’ve always had the option of going to visit her if I had the time and money to drive 2 hours to see her. I won’t have that option now. Now, I really have to rely on God to give Holly and me the time to keep our friendship strong through technological means and probably some letters, because I’m a letter writer! Actually, that’s a great idea! Now I’m gonna tell her she has to write me an actual letter chronicling her adventures overseas. I wonder if she’ll have time to do that! ha, ha.

Anyway, the point in sharing all of this with whatever part of the world reads it is that God does provide. Even when you feel like you’ve lost all your friends–friends whom you were not as close to as you thought–He provides. Even when you’re praying for something, but you don’t realizing you’re praying for it, God provides. Even when you feel like God is taking away His provision, He provides. Yes, “people always leave,” but do you know what else Peyton Sawyer and all One Tree Hill fans learned? “Sometimes they come back.”

I have complete and total faith that one way or another, Holly is going to come back. Even if she doesn’t necessarily move back to the US—because if the Lord asks her to stay overseas, then she will stay—she will be here with me too. We have Facebook and text messaging. We can Facetime and write letters. She’ll still be here, even when she’s not and God will be here with me too. Even if Allie (who actually left too, but only moved to California), Holly, and Shelby were all to leave me and never talk to me again, then it wouldn’t matter, because God is here with me and He never leaves!

Why I Shop Alone at 2 a.m.

Before I’m burnt at the stake for writing this post, let me first state that I do know how dangerous it can be for women to be alone in public. In fact, I am closely connected to a story of a girl who was attacked and murdered when she was alone in a park on December 31, 2013. Her name was Lauren Bump and while I never met her, she has greatly influenced my life through the ways that she influenced my best friends’ lives as their small group leader. I think of her often, either from my own thoughts, or because of the things posted on Facebook by her family and best friend. As someone regularly reminded of how real public attacks of women can be, I know all too well how dangerous it can be for a woman to be alone. Therefore, I do not take the subject of public safety lightly.  That being said, I feel it’s important to say what I’m going to try to say with this post.

 

When I was growing up, my brother and I each liked to go for walks around the park and woods in our neighborhood. When my brother went alone, he just left and that was that. When I went alone, I was told to be careful and not to stay by myself for too long. Once, I joked on Facebook about how it was a terrible idea for a paranoid girl like myself to be sitting in the woods alone while reading a book about a stalker. My mom and many of my other Facebook friends didn’t take lightly to this joke. Many of them told me I shouldn’t be sitting in the woods alone at all. Never mind the fact that my brother spent hours on end sitting alone in the woods, but if I sat alone for even half an hour, I was in mortal danger. Now, I get the same reaction when I mention I’ve gone to or am going to go to Walmart after work at 2am. I’m not saying women shouldn’t be warned to be careful. I’m not saying we aren’t especially more susceptible to sexual attacks and kidnappings than men are, because statistically we are. What I am saying is that maybe if we weren’t always so paranoid, then we’d be at least a little less vulnerable. These men are like the lions, tigers, and bears of the human world; they most often prey on the weak. They’re like vampires; they can smell our fear and it fills them with excitement, drawing them to us.

We live in a world where feminism is quickly rising with power. While I personally do not associate myself with these women who call themselves “feminists,” I do believe in real equality. Maybe this real equality should start with women not being afraid of sick and perverted men who may or may not try to attack us when we’re alone. I don’t go to Walmart at 2am to make a point. I go at 2am because going before work takes twice as long because of traffic, because I don’t particularly like people, because I have to get cold things a lot and that means I’d have to drive back home to put it away only to leave again for work, and mostly because I’m scatterbrained so when I go grocery shopping after church on Sunday’s, I almost always forget things forcing me to go again at a later time. Sure, I could go before work, because it’s not always cold things that I forget, but why should I inconvenience myself to go before work, just because it might be dangerous for me to shop alone at night? That’s a myth by the way.

Per extensive research of many different articles I found that 49% of attacks on women happen during broad daylight. Therefore, whether I go shopping at noon or midnight, I’m potentially just as susceptible to be attacked either way. If that is true, then why should I inconvenience myself just because I’m potentially 2% (an incredibly small margin) more likely to be attacked at night than during the day? I’ll tell you one thing, I personally have watched a LOT of shows involving crime and attacks on women. Stereotypically, those crimes most often happen at night to girls who look a lot like me—twenty-something year old girls with light skin, light brown hair, and blue eyes. As someone who is not only naturally paranoid about the littlest of sounds, but who also naturally remembers nearly everything I see one TV, I rarely forget the stories of these TV shows. Therefore, when I am out and about by myself, especially at 2am, I am always on a high alert. When I’m alone during the day, I don’t really think about the dangers that could be lurking around me. Should I not allow myself to be alone more often when I am more aware of my surroundings than when I am not aware? Is it not safer and wiser for me to go shopping by myself during the times in which I know I will be alert than when I probably won’t be? If you are more alert of your surroundings during the day than at night, then by all means do your shopping during the day. If you feel safer when you can see everything around you, then shop during daylight hours. Even though I do sometimes feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I’m walking through a parking lot by myself at night, I feel safer shopping at night, because I am more aware of every single noise and shadow around me.

I’m not trying to say that I’m never going to be attacked. I’m not God, so I can’t know that. I’m also not saying that I don’t appreciate the concern of my friends and family who tell me that I should be careful when I’m shopping alone by myself at 2am. What I am saying is that I’m not afraid. I am alert and aware, but I am not afraid. I always have at least one pocket knife in my pocket or purse, I carry a wooden pole in my car to beat someone with if I ever need to, and I have full faith in God that He will keep me safe. Oh, and I have six brothers, three of whom were old enough that we wrestled together and whom I could hold my own with when we wrestled and fought growing up. I’m just saying that I won’t fear shopping alone at 2am, just because the world wants me to think it’s exceptionally more dangerous for me to shop alone at night than it is for me to shop alone during the day. It’s not. To reiterate, many different articles I found stated there’s about a 50/50 chance I’ll be attacked during the day vs. at night.

By the way, I also found a bunch of articles that broke down attacks based on gender. Predators look for one of two things, vulnerability or a challenge. Depending on what the predator is looking for, attacks on men and women are also almost as equal as a woman being attacked during the day vs at night. In cases of robbery and murder, men are more likely to be attacked, whereas in cases of sexual assault and kidnapping, women are more likely to be attacked. If it’s true that men are as likely to be attacked as women, then why should I be told to be careful, while men aren’t warned to be careful too? If it’s true that I am as likely to be attacked at as I am during the day, then why should I be afraid to shop at night? If it is more likely that a predator will go after a woman if he’s looking for vulnerability, then why should I be afraid at all? I know that most warnings are given because the warner wants the warned to be cautious, but that’s not how it comes across. The constant warning of women to be careful comes across more to tell me that I should be afraid of being alone at night than that I should be cautious. I’m not afraid of predators or of being alone at night. I have no need to be. It’s when I become afraid that I will be more likely to be attacked. Therefore, while I will be cautious and alert, I will not be afraid. I am afraid of spiders though. Those devils are terrifying!

Role Models

Do you ever think about how much your life has been affected by the “big kids” you looked up to when you were a kid? Even though I have twelve siblings, I don’t have any older siblings, because I’m the oldest. I did have several older girls that I looked up to as a kid and still admire now. There were my super cool older cousins, the girl who played volleyball and was on the worship team at school, the basketball star who was also the older sister of my best friend, my babysitter, and the group of girls that I just thought were super cool.

The first people I remember looking up to were my cousins Sandy and Amanda. To be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot about them from when I was kid, because I only saw Sandy maybe once a year when I visited Georgia with my family and even though I think I saw Amanda a lot when I was little, there was an eleven year gap in time when I didn’t see or talk to her because my family moved from Virginia to Florida and ultimately Texas before we became friends on the wonderful social media platform that is Facebook.

Sandy is my parents’ age so I didn’t really hang out with her to begin with, so that’s probably a reason why I don’t remember a lot about her. I do remember one thing though. Actually, I remember two things. Sandy, or maybe her husband, drove a Jeep Wrangler and Jeeps are awesome. My favorite memory though is that until I grew up and was too old, Sandy would grab my arms and spin me around in circles. I don’t know why I loved that so much, since I can’t stand the feeling of being dizzy now, but then it was awesome and I thought Sandy was one of the coolest people in the world because she and her husband would spin me and my brother around in circles until we were too dizzy to stand!

Amanda is actually only three years older than I am which is super weird to think about now, because when I was little I always thought she was way older than I was! I mean, I guess three years older than an elementary school kid is a lot older than three years older than twenty-three, but still! It seemed like a much bigger gap then! Anyway, Amanda was always the coolest person in my eyes. She would give me piggyback rides and hangout with me and our younger brothers and was just generally the coolest “big kid” a “little kid” could ever ask to have as an older cousin! I don’t know how old I was when this happened, but I know I had to have been no older than five. I distinctly remember being at Amanda’s house one day standing at the screen door looking outside and anxiously waiting for her to get home from school or some place so we could play. In my mind’s eye, I can still see myself standing there exclaiming happily when I saw her coming up the driveway.

I also remember living in Florida when Amanda and her family came to visit me and my family. My brother and I weren’t allowed outside by ourselves because we lived in an apartment, but we were allowed outside if Amanda and her older brother, Jeremiah, went outside with us. I remember Amanda and Jeremiah telling me, my brother, and their little brother a story about a swarm of killer bees killing a lady. I don’t know why I remember that, but I do, and for whatever reason the boys and I thought it was the most interesting story ever! Later that night, we sat outside the apartments in a patch of grass eating cake when the sprinklers went off spraying us all with water. It was hilarious.

The last time I got to see Amanda in person, she had a newborn baby and was getting married. I even got to go with her when she picked out her wedding dress! To say I was excited is an understatement! She was my favorite cousin growing up, so of course it was exciting to be able to be there when she picked out her wedding dress and went shopping for other wedding things. At the end of the week that I spent in North Carolina with Amanda’s family, I took a road trip with her, her mom, and her baby to go to Georgia to meet up with my family. Again, I was super excited because Amanda was my favorite older cousin. Now, I get to watch her life happen on Facebook and it’s a blessing I never would have thought to ask for!

Another girl I always looked up to was named Joy. She and the rest of the girls in this post were all high schoolers at the private school I grew up in and around. When I was in third grade, she and her team went to and won the state championship for volleyball. Because I thought she was one of the coolest people ever, I remember drawing her a congratulations card and giving it to her at church the following Sunday. When she became my volleyball coach in fifth grade and later in high school, I drank in every word she said about anything. It probably never really looked like it, because I was clumsy and wasn’t very good at sports… or walking for that matter, but I did. Everything she said, I took in and dreamed of perfecting because I never forgot watching her play in the state championship game. When she became my teacher in tenth grade, I was just as excited as when she became my volleyball coach. Here was this older girl that I had always looked up to teaching me how to play volleyball and helping me get through school. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have graduated high school if it wasn’t for the fact that she let me sit beside her every single day to learn math. Almost everything I learned in high school was directly or indirectly affected by Joy. I’ll forever be grateful for the influence she had on my life.

Next there was another girl named Amanda. This Amanda was the older sister of my best friend, Emily, so I spent a lot of time around her. In many ways, she took up the role as my older sister when I needed someone to be there for me. When we watched movies that were mostly appropriate for child eyes but had a scene here or there that wasn’t appropriate for us, she would mute the TV and tell us to close our eyes until the scene passed. The three things I remember most three things about her though. One is a memory of a night when I was sleeping over at their house. Emily, Amanda, and I were laying in the dark of their bedroom talking when the topic of the rapture came up. For a good half hour at least, Amanda tried her best to answer any questions Emily and I had and tried to reassure any fears that we might have had. There was also a time when we were watching a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie and they were freaking out about some boy and Amanda paused the movie to tell us that we should never be that boy crazy or reliant on a boy’s opinion of us. I’ll never forget those moments. I’ll also never forget how much Amanda believed in me. She was a basketball star at our school and also our basketball coach when I was in eighth grade. She taught me all the basics I needed to know about basketball. She believed in me enough that when I wasn’t there to pick my own basketball number she picked it for me. She didn’t just pick any number though, she picked a number that had previously been her basketball number, 42, which would go on to be my basketball number until I graduated high school. In high school, when I was always the sub and never the starter for volleyball and basketball, she would come up to me after games to encourage me and give me tips and pointers. When I was new to lyric writing, she let me show her my songs and showed me again that she believed in me.

Amanda was one of my babysitters growing up, but there was another girl who was also my babysitter. Her name is Victoria. Victoria, aka Vickie when we were growing up, was always well-prepared for any situation that might take place while babysitting. She had games and craft supplies and she was just generally super fun. I can’t say I remember any one specific moment with Victoria, but I can say that I always looked up to her. I can say that even now I still look up to her as I watch her raise her kids through the looking glass that is Facebook.

Now there were the girls that I just always thought were super cool because they were always nice to me—Beth, Mandy, Erica, Nicole, Melody, Brandy, Rebekah, Sarah, Ana, and others that I’m sure I’ll kick myself for forgetting to mention by name. These were the girls that seemed to live in a completely different world than I did. They were older and cooler and distant. I watched them live their lives from the world of an elementary school student. They were the girls that were always around when I was little. They were the older sisters of my own classmates. They were athletes and musicians. They were each other’s best friends. They were everything that I wanted to be and more. They, Erica and Nicole, were the girls who sat in a bedroom at my grandparents’ house while the adults had Bible study and played with and talked to me and my brother and sister even though they could have acted like they were too cool to talk to us. I looked up to these girls the way I hope the younger kids in my life all look up to me. They were my role models and many of them are still people I watch on Facebook and look up to as they start and raise families, succeed in their jobs and dreams, and just live life. These girls, including the ones I mentioned individually, are girls that have affected nearly every area of my life and I don’t think they’ll ever know how much I’ve learned from them in my 20 or so years of watching them live their lives. I hope they’ll all read this though and see that even if they didn’t know it at the time, they were my biggest role models. Even though I’ve always been an obsessive person who knows everything there is to know about the celebrities I’ve looked up to—Hilary Duff, the Olsen Twins, Lindsay Lohan, so on and so forth—no matter how well the celebrities were doing in their lives, I always looked up to the girls I actually knew the most.

Dear Best Friends

In the last several months, I’ve thought a lot about how much my life has been affected by the close friends I’ve had throughout my life. I’ve been wanting to write a thank you letter to many of those friends, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the girls I’m going to write about and to in this post. In many small ways that added up to one big way, these girls have been the tools God has used to mold me into the woman He wants me to be. So here goes:

Dear childhood besties, 

Briana, Naomi, and Emily. Y’all are who it all began with; you’re the reasons why I know how to be a best friend. I’ve known each of you since I was about seven years old. We spent a lot of time together when we were young and now I watch from the distant platform of Facebook as y’all live beautiful lives with your husbands. I miss y’all and I am so grateful to have social media there to try to fill the gap that was left when we all went our separate ways.

Do y’all remember all the times we stayed up late watching movies starring Hilary Duff, the Olsen Twins, and Lindsey Lohan? Do y’all remember the times we laughed so hard we spit soda out our noses? I remember it all! Or at least, most of it! I’ll never forget any of those moments because those moments were the moments that shaped me into who I am today!

Briana: You moved away when we were still kids. I never forgot you though and I still get a silly smile on my face when you like my social media posts. We didn’t get as much time together as I had with Naomi or Emily, but the time spent with you was just as important to me as time spent with anyone else. Ten or so years ago you visited San Antonio with your family and gave me a ring with my name on it. Do you remember that? I do! I still have the ring too! I even wear it sometimes. It’s hanging on my heart-shaped wooden jewelry hanger to my left as I write this. Sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic and or I just really don’t want to adult, I put it on to remind myself of simpler days when adult responsibilities seemed so far away!

Naomi: I have a journal filled of memories gained from spending time with you and Emily when I was eleven and twelve and y’all were nine and ten! I got it around the same time we had Bible studies together at y’all’s houses. Around this same time, you drew me a picture of us and I still have it, because I’m a sentimental person (and maybe a bit of a packrat sometimes.) Don’t you just love the choker necklaces? The whole outfit design just screams that it was drawn in the early 2000’s! I love it! Btw, do you remember playing the ABC game where you create a life for yourself and you got “J,” but you couldn’t remember the word “Japan,” so you said you lived in “the Japanese place?” I hold that memory fondly!

naomi-katka

Emily: What can I say about you? There’s too much to say! From the time that we met to the time that we graduated high school, we saw each other at least once a week and then every day for four years. I’d be hard-pressed to try to think of a time in my tweens and teens when you weren’t right there beside me in all of my fondest memories! I miss you! Do you know that? After spending nearly every waking moment together for four years straight (even during the summer) for high school, since graduating I can maybe count on two hands how many times we’ve talked and only on one hand how many of those times were in person. It’s okay, I get it. We grew up and we grew apart. It’s only natural. I still miss you though! If I were forced to pick just one person who was my best friend growing up, then I’d be forced to pick you. You were there for everything that happened in my life and I can’t express how grateful I am for the time that I spent with you! Remember when we jumped on the trampoline doing a rain dance and it actually started raining? Or when we’d sit in your front yard rating boys from their personalities to their looks to their godliness? Good times, good times!

Dear high school besties,

Demi! We don’t often talk anymore, but once upon a time, we had text messaging conversations that lasted a good eight hours nearly every day for about two years straight! Nearly every candid photo I have from high school shows me on my phone and I know it was you I was text messaging, because you were pretty much the only person I had actual text messaging conversations with. I don’t know if you know this, but your friendship really helped me hold onto what little self-confidence I had in high school! I never understood how or why someone would be willing to talk to me as much as you did even though our conversations were more or less the same thing every day, but you always answered my text messages and kept every conversation going until it was time to go to sleep for school the next day. Thank you for that! I could tell you a million times over, but you’ll never know how much your friendship still means to me!

Akina: They say friendships don’t often last when school years pass us by. Whoever they are, they’re right. You’re the only friend from my school years that I still talk to and see somewhat frequently. Every few months, we meet up and rehash the “glory days.” It means a lot to me that you’re still around! Other than Demi, you were really the only person I talked to outside of school hours. You were also the only person whom I ever opened up to when I was feeling down and out. You never knew the depth of how deep I had fallen into depression, nor did you know that I had fallen victim to self-harm until it was all over, but you were there for me! You let me vent to you when I wouldn’t vent to anyone else. You were the person God gave me to reach my hand out to when I was about to tip the scales forever. I don’t know how far I would have gone had I not had you as a friend during those dark years. I do know that if it weren’t for you, then I might not be here today to write this post. Thank you for being there for me and still being here for me today!

Dear work besties,

Stephanie: When I started working at Chase, everything in my life had changed in a very short amount of time. My parents had finalized their divorce the year prior, I had left the job I had been working at for four and a half years, I had moved out of my childhood home to live on my own, and I had gotten a new car. I was also in an environment that was completely new to me. Not only had I never worked in a call center before, but I had also never been in a non-Christian environment for extended periods of time before. I grew up in a Christian home going to church every Sunday, I graduated from a Christian private school, and my prior job was at Chick-fila where all the employees may not have been Christians, but where the environment exuded Biblical values. Chase is not a Christian environment. It was, and still sometimes is, a very strange place for me to be. You and I don’t share the same beliefs and that’s a major bummer, but you respect my beliefs and you try to act accordingly while I’m around. I really appreciate that. You’re a major part of the reason why I don’t hate my job. So thanks for making work worthwhile!

Vickie: You’re my person! You’re the person I can communicate with without even saying a word! All we need is a wink or a shrug or a perfectly timed gif and we know what needs to be said without actually saying it. I don’t really know what else to say, because we really do have a friendship of few words, so just picture my favorite Brooke Davis gifs and you’ll know everything I’m trying to say!

Dear internet besties,

Anna-Marie: One band, two names, three words: BarlowGirl, Taylor Swift, and “We said duh.” I mean, what else needs to be said? That’s pretty much our friendship wrapped in a tight little bow! We became friends because of Taylor Swift, our friendship grew over BarlowGirl, and the rest is based on a mutual understanding of each other’s sass, which happens to be summed up by the words of BarlowGirl. Just for the record though, I’m really grateful for your life! Write me a letter soon and I’ll tell you all about it! I’m sorry… did I say letter? Should have said mini autobiography, since that’s what we actually write!

Shelby: Captain Swan. Makeup and fashion. Cute boys and crushes. Also, that picture from Rue 21 of your ultimate doppelganger! What do these things have in common? They’re complete randomness, kind of like our friendship and I love it dearly! Oh! I almost forgot! Roar and Liv and Perry and Aria!

Dear besties who changed my life in an instant,

Allie, Holly, and Shelby Lilly: To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to say to or about y’all that I haven’t said a million times in letters and text messages. Y’all are the three tangible rocks God gave me when I asked Him to help me stay afloat after nearly drowning in a sea of despair. I’m convinced that y’all know me better than I know myself. Y’all have been there for me when I’ve been afraid of falling again. Y’all have talked me off the cliff without even knowing you’ve been doing it. Y’all have helped me gain a confidence I never believed I’d live to see. Y’all have also been around to listen to me have the most pitiful crush on a guy that I’ve ever had and I’m quite embarrassed about it, but hey, I got some of my best songs out of that ridiculous crush and I learned that y’all were willing to put up with me during literally my most annoying moments. Even I was annoyed with myself  Y’all also put up with and even encourage my obsessively passionate tendencies which no one before y’all has ever done, so thanks for that! We’ve been friends for nearly five years now and I can’t wait to see what the next five years hold!

P.S. Shelby, please don’t ever leave me! I’d surely be forced to follow wherever you went and I really like it in San Antonio, so I’d really appreciate it if you’d stay here forever! Haha.

Anyway, I just really wanted to write a public thank you to the girls who have impacted my life the most! I didn’t say even a fraction of things I wanted to say, but I had a lot of ground to cover and needed to try to make my thank you’s at least a little short. I love you all and I hope you’re all doing well!