Gratitude.

Kaia Wirth, Editor-in-Chief

Recognizing the aspects of my life that I took for granted is the awakening I didn’t know I needed. Knowing now how much worse my life is without them, here are just a few of the things, people, and places in my life that I’m so incredibly grateful for, even if I don’t remember sometimes. 

 

I’m thankful for my dad, my mom, and my brother. My dad, who never underestimates me, and who taught me how to change a tire (and other “fatherly talents” that would stereotypically be taught to a son). I’m grateful for my mom, who provides me with support and motivation to achieve everything I’m capable of, and does everything and anything to help me get there. I’m grateful for my big brother, who is thoughtful and kind when the people around me aren’t. I’m thankful for these people who have been with me through my entire life (minus six months), and who will always be my lifelong support system.

 

I’m thankful for my friends, past, present, and future. I’m thankful for those from my past-they first taught me what it was like to truly belong somewhere. They also taught me rejection and disappointment, but I’m grateful for the lessons the experiences gave me. I’m thankful for my friends of the present, for showing me the difference between authentic and synthetic friendship. In learning from my past mistakes, the friends of the present will always be receiving the most socially and emotionally educated version of myself, and in turn will continue to add to my development as they gradually become friends of the past. I’m thankful for the friends of the future, and the promise they hold: late nights, laughter, and endless amounts of love. 

 

I’m thankful for my cat. Self-explanatory, I love a good listener. 

 

I’m thankful for the moments in a conversation when everyone stops. And understands what each of us mean without needing words to articulate the thoughts. 

 

I’m thankful for my accomplishments, and knowing that while there may have been supplementary aids, most if not all the work was completed by me. 

 

I’m thankful for the small, almost insignificant parts of Earth that are overlooked more often than they’re appreciated. When light shines through a canopy of leaves, or when thunder and lightning strikes at the same time, or the nights where the sky is so clear that the unaided eye can see the stars. 

 

I’m thankful for those who were cruel to me. They taught me how to be angry instead of embarrassed, how to learn to show some teeth when I’d only ever wanted to cower, how it’s okay not to “forgive and forget,” because while some things can’t be forgotten, they can be learned from. I’m thankful for their prejudice and judgement, because it served as a reminder that I’m not like them-I’m stronger. 

 

I’m thankful for the insane chance that I’ve made it to where I am, both physically and mentally. By some miracle, I was placed with a family as stable and consistent as this one. I was placed into this small town where the community was accepting and kind. I was taught in a clean school, I learned from kind teachers, I made friends and I lost some. I am infinitely grateful for the people who were, are, and will be in my life. Thank you.