I am who I am for many different reasons – because of where I grew up, who my friends were, who my parents are, the decade in which I was born into – the list goes on and on. There is, however, one group of people that I am especially grateful to, and that is the collection of strong and amazing women I have surrounding me in my life. From my friends, to my aunts, to mentors I’ve had at school, these women have been my inspiration and role models.
I currently stand at 5’11” and weigh more than any of my shorter friends ever have, and because of this I’ve always felt more gangly than pretty. Being painfully shy at times made me feel out of touch with others. At times, I thought my glasses were the strongest feature in my face, and all I had going for me were my grades. When those didn’t go the way I wanted them to, I felt like I had nothing to offer anyone.
Each time I’ve fallen and stumbled, I’ve had these aunts and cousins and friends and grandmothers and mentors to rally around me and pick me back up. They taught me that I shouldn’t – couldn’t – compare myself to others, that I was powerful and articulate and funny, and that in the darkest of times we are our own best ally.
These are the women I aspire to be more like on a daily basis. I would name them for you here, BUT in case they’re following along with this post, I won’t. This is because today, I wanted to write to each of these women individually and thank them for being apart of my life.
I would, though, like to start with a letter to my cousin Jess, with whom I share this blog ❤
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that we embarked on this blogging journey together! I’ve secretly been your biggest fan since probably the day I was born. Sadly, though, my favorite way of expressing this when we were younger was by joining up with Corey and making your life more difficult.
I have always admired your candor, your strength, and the way in which you’ve always wholeheartedly chased your passions. You were a chef and an athlete, an RA, a dancer, a blogger, and so much more. Know that I have always looked up to you and wished that I was half as personable (and thrifty!) as you are.
I especially want to thank you for consistently having made me feel like I mattered. You were the first person I went to with all of my angsty teenage questions, and you never failed to answer them. You were there to prep me and send me off to my first prom, attended many of my interestingly staged school plays, and welcomed me to real adulthood on my 21st.
I love you, and I look forward to all the future adventures we have in store together. I know that at times, the future seems pretty uncertain, but I know you’re going to come through it unscathed & unfazed. Never stop being so honest, caring, and beautiful inside and out!