I’m thankful for my feet and for all of the blisters and calluses they’ve endured, simply because they’ve kept me grounded.
I’m thankful for my legs, because even though sometimes I think they are too short, they are strong. My legs have carried me across miles, mountains, and everything in between.
I’m thankful for my stomach, my back. I am thankful for my chest, because it protects my lungs and my heart.
I’m thankful for my arms, no matter how much I hate the way they look in tank tops, because they help me lift myself back up.
I’m thankful for my shoulders, the same ones that I used to think were too broad and boyish, for always keeping my head up.
And lastly, I’m thankful for my head. Although it isn’t always level, it houses my brain and all of the thoughts that are constantly buzzing around in it.
We spend too much time hating our bodies. It is easier to find things we don’t like about ourselves than it is to find things we do like. We can’t control the way we look, but we can control how we feel about ourselves.
And even though it’s hard sometimes, I think we should all try to thank our bodies every once in a while.
We need to be kinder to ourselves, kinder to our bodies. We deserve that.
My body isn’t perfect, but it has gotten me this far. And I’m so thankful for that.
Over Thanksgiving break, I had to make so many goodbyes.
To my childhood stuffed animals, the ones I didn’t want to let go, but the ones I knew I wouldn’t really take anywhere with me. So, I gave them away instead.
To the pajama shorts my mom bought for me at Walmart in third grade, the ones that surprisingly fit me all the way to twelfth grade. Even though they still fit, it was time to throw them out when they were ripping away at their fragile seams.
To the room I spent weekends in at my grandparents’ house growing up, Now, it’s being remodeled. Things that meant so much to me back then are meaningless now, packed away in stacked boxes.
But there was one goodbye I haven’t made yet, because I’m too scared to accept the fact that now might be the time I need to say goodbye.
And that’s to my dog. When I was in first grade and my mom went to pick me up from school, she told me she had a surprise for my sister and I. The first thing that came to my mind was candy, but when she was opening the back door to the car, I was not expecting my sister to be holding a six-month-old, Rhodesian Ridgeback-German Shepherd mix puppy rescued from the pound.
Now, twelve years later, that dog is still in my life, but so much has changed.
It started with him being by my side every single day.
Then, when I moved away, I could only visit on weekends.
Then, life went on and visits turned into rare occasions when I’d go to my grandparents house. When I’d enter the house, he’d come running up to me, barking, and wagging his tail.
Now, he’s still there, but he’s older. He doesn’t run, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. He still follows me around the house, though, his tail still wagging. It’s still wagging even when he lies down, but the pain is still there. It’s obvious and it hurts me knowing it hurts him.
Having pets is one of the most joyful and painful parts about life. Because they bring so much joy, so many happy memories, but, also, so much pain when they’re gone.
But, he fought so hard for so long and I know that it’d be selfish to hold on longer. That if he needs to go and it’s his time, then he should. He should know that he was the best dog I’ve ever had the privilege to have.
I didn’t say goodbye. I gave millions of kisses and hugs, but my goodbye was temporary. It held a promise that I’d be back to see him again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep that promise. I don’t know how long he’ll be around and I don’t know how long it’ll be until I visit again.
I’m so scared to say goodbye, so I won’t. I’ll say I love my dog. I’ll say I’m thankful that he lived with me throughout my life and that he is so strong for fighting though he doesn’t have to. And that he’ll always be the best dog, my dog, no matter what happens.
So many things happened in 2018. Shootings, wildfires, and many other tragic events. In the midst of all the chaos and catastrophe the world is facing right now, it’s the small things in life that make me the most thankful and make life enjoyable.
My horse who always waits for me at the end of the school day.
For my roommate, who deals with me screaming in confusion and frustration at Criminal Minds and who also deals with my annoying rants and constant requests for food.
Being able to go home after being away at boarding school and knowing it wasn’t destroyed by the California fires.
For my friends, who are always there for me even if I’m not the nicest friend at times.
Seeing my top three favorite bands in only three months.
And that all those bands have recently released new music.
Opening up my mail box and seeing my first college acceptance.
Getting a $20,000 annual scholarship for that accepted school.
Seeing my dog when I drive back home today, knowing that he’ll be wagging his tail and running towards me when I arrive.
Still being really close friends with the girls from my old school.
That my back fracture doesn’t affect me from riding.
In two months, I’ll be eighteen years old.
The stars that put me to sleep and the sun that wakes me up.
For broadway musicals, that it’s almost been one year since I’ve seen Hamilton.
For living so close to Disneyland and living on the beach.
For getting to learn something new every day.
For becoming a better version of myself every day.
For finally accepting myself for every physical quirk, every mental flaw and knowing that my days where I’m at rock bottom last temporarily. That when those days end, there are still so many things I can be thankful for.
This weekend, I went to a music festival called Camp Flog Gnaw, which was held by rapper Tyler, The Creator.
In the middle of his set, Tyler said, “I made this as a place for all you weird kids to have a place to feel safe and I think that’s really cool.”
During Jaden Smith’s set, he said “Tyler made this place for all you weirdo’s to feel normal and that’s tight as f***.”
Thank you Tyler for making a place like that. For maybe just a weekend, maybe just a minute, or maybe just an hour we all felt safe and loved. We could love or hate ourselves and whichever we chose would be okay.
No one tried to fix us; we just got to simply exist for a while and feel alright.
Thank you for giving us a place where we could be or do whatever we wanted and that was cool with everyone.
Somewhere we could wear whatever we wanted and not have to think twice about it, somewhere we could yell at the top of our lungs, somewhere we could cry if that song playing reminded you of something, somewhere we could jump and it was what you’re supposed to do, somewhere we could meet people like ourselves, somewhere where nothing was weird and everything and anything was ok.
One day, I’ll find that place in the people I surround myself with and where I live and where I work.
One day, but until I find my somewhere, I’ll stick to this. Thank you Tyler :’)
If you’ve ever wondered how it feels to see a person become someone else, it’s sort of like trying to hold water in your hands. You can keep your hands cupped together for a little while, but more and more of it begins to trickle through your fingers. You panic, try to hold back as much as you can, but, eventually, there’s so little left in your palms that you just let the rest fall to the floor.
That’s how it felt with you. It was like I was watching everything in slow motion. I tried to catch you, but now I know that you didn’t want me to.
I didn’t believe you when you told me you were leaving. I think in the back of my mind, I had been expecting it.
You’ve been my best friend, one of the most important people in my life, for as long as I can remember. But, now, I can’t remember the last time I saw you.
It still hurts. I’m still mad and I still don’t fully understand why you chose to go. You told me you needed to do it for yourself, that you needed to be selfish.
But I never thought you were being selfish. I just thought you were wrong.
You mean so, so much to me. I miss you more than you know.
I wish I could still see you everyday. I wish you were still the one who I went to before anyone else, the person I told everything to. But you’re not anymore. I know it could still be that way if we tried, but most days I just don’t feel like trying.
I think the reason I’m still mad is because it felt like you chose them over me. It still feels that way.
It hurts to see someone change, to see them become someone different.
But what hurts more is to leave them behind, to accept that your time together has come and gone. I’m not ready to do that yet.
When I think about May 31st, 2019, I think about what I’m leaving behind when I walk across the amphitheater to get my high school diploma.
I’m leaving behind the campus I’ve called my home the past four years, the classes where I challenged myself and found my passions, and the teachers who helped me find those passions. I’m leaving behind my friends, who I won’t see at breakfast every morning or go on camping trips with anymore.
These last four years weren’t always easy. As much as I’ve loved them, they were some of the most challenging years of my life. But, one thing made life away from home just a little easier to manage and it wasn’t my teachers or friends.
It was my horse. A bay, appendix quarter horse named Time who I’ve been riding since my freshman year. My family always asks me what I’ll miss the most about OVS when I leave and the answer is always the same: Time.
When the Thomas Fire came on December 4th, 2017, I panicked as we were evacuating on the bus thinking my horse wasn’t going to make it out alive. I cried myself to sleep, despite the constant reassurances. Over the summer, I ended up crying again when I went three months without riding and, more specifically, without riding Time. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I have to say goodbye to him during the last week of school knowing that it’ll be the last goodbye. Knowing hat I won’t be getting back on once summer is over. Knowing that one day, towards the end of May, I will untack for the last time and possibly never get back on him. That, the following September, he’ll get a new rider and I’ll be at a university in a completely different city. I hope that rider loves that freaking horse as much as I do, though. Sometimes I wonder if that’s possible.
So many things happened the last four years with Time by my side. I went with him to my first horse show, on my first horse camping trip, my first dressage clinic, and my first injury, which he gave me after he threw me off at said horse show. Even though I got a fractured back, the story was still funny and memorable.
I can imagine leaving OVS and going off to college, but I can’t imagine leaving Time. I can’t imagine my school day not consisting of me going to the barn at the end of the day and getting on him whether the lesson ends up going well or not. I wish I could take him with me to college, but it’s probably not possible.
Last Friday, my aunt and uncle came to watch me ride. “I don’t understand how some people just let go of their horses or sell them,” my aunt said. “They’re pets too.”
Time may have not be mine legally, but he is mine. At least, I like to say he is and, at least, many other people thought Time was mine before I told them he wasn’t. But, he is my horse. The horse I’ve ridden for all of high school and the animal I’ve developed a bond with.
I’m not ready to let Time go, but I’ll have to and I will. Even if it might be one of the most painful things I’ll ever have to do.