To Abby, for being my gentle reminder each and every day that life is beautiful. Thank you for practicing yoga on concrete sidewalks with me, for letting music completely engulf you and letting us share that feeling, for always wearing olive green and not minding when I wear it too. Thank you for your, in the purest form of the word, energy. Your energy is special; I have not found anything like it in my almost eighteen years of living. Some people have the kind of soul that calms, and you are one of those people. “I love my life and I love you;” every day that I get a piece of you is a reminder of this fact.
To the person I reference for absolutely everything. When asked who my favorite teacher is, the answer is always you. When called upon to name someone influential in my life, the answer is you. This is because of your kind heart and utter love for your students and for The Central Trend. Thank you for everything, but above all, thank you for teaching with respect. So often, teachers do their work from a position of power or authority, and in doing this, they lessen the respect they bestow upon their students. You ask people their opinions, and you actually listen to their answers. You value your students as whole, real people, not just as a number or a grade on a piece of paper. This is why so many people want to take your classes. For me, your room has become somewhat of a sanctuary; it’s a place where I can always feel heard and will always feel at peace. Thank you for making school something to work hard for because I want to, not because I feel pressured to. Thank you for putting the joy back into learning.
To the author of my very favorite book, Brown Dog. Thank you for bringing the Upper Peninsula closer to my heart in every way. Thank you for showing me how intelligence is shown in more ways than just one, and how nature is the answer to most of life’s toughest questions. You have more words of wisdom than most, and I am incredibly grateful to be lucky enough to encounter them. To think of how long I went without knowing you, without reading your words, is nothing less than dreadful. You are a light; you are a star. You deserve the world, even though you might not always think that you do. The way that you speak to people is a direct reflection of how you speak about them, and both are with the utmost respect and dignity. That, I think, is special. You are special to me, even in the short time I have “known” you. You are special to a lot of people, and I’m not sure if you’ve fully come to that realization yet.
To the person who has taught me what it means to be a strong, willful woman, thank you. Even from a young age, you always taught me to speak my mind, and most importantly, question everything. I carry this with me each and every day, and it is because of you that I am able to look critically at those who most might simply accept due to their authority or power. Thank you for always sending me feminist articles of the week, and thank you for adding our household to the millions that are doing their part to save the environment. I watch how you move through life daily, and I am always taking notes. Thank you for setting the example; and, although I might not admit it to you, I might miss it a little when I’m gone.
You have moved on from Forest Hills, but you will never move on from my heart. I wholeheartedly consider you to be my soul mate in the form of a best friend. We think the same; we act the same. It’s so good to just be with you. Some people, as rude as it may be to say, are work to be around. With you, it’s never hard; it’s never work. Conversation flows naturally, and it seems as though I could sit and talk to you forever. Thank you for that. I remember when I came to send you off to college on that warm August day, we talked about what it would be like for you to be gone. You told me that it wasn’t going to be a problem because we’re the kind of friends that can pick up right where they left off, no matter how long its been. Thank you for that, too. Oh, and hey, I miss you.