An Open Letter to Relationships Past

For the entirety of my admittedly short life, my mother has drove home the idea that you get out what you put into the world, and she especially emphasized the rule when it came to relationships. No matter how horribly someone had treated my sisters or I, she always told us that we shouldn’t judge them too harshly, because we could never know what is going on in their life. Maybe they were having a really hard time at home or maybe they were struggling and felt they couldn’t take it out anywhere or on anyone else? Or maybe they didn’t even have a good reason for what was going on? The whole point was that we never knew what someone else was going through.

    I have always followed that philosophy, and now that I am on my own for the first time, I have adapted so to how I view the world. I wholeheartedly believe that every relationship in our lives (friendships, romantic relationships, chance encounters, etc.) are meant to teach us something. No matter how long I knew the person, or how well we got along, I feel that it is important to acknowledge those who come across our lives and to acknowledge what we learn from them. Lately, I have been in a bit of a personal and creative funk, and maybe by taking the time to acknowledge how I got to where I am today, the universe will help me out a little bit, so here goes.

    To my high school best friends: Somehow we are still friends to this day, and I am so grateful to each of you. Without you, I would not have made it through high school. You guys were my cheerleaders when even I didn’t believe in myself, you were my sources of comfort when it felt like the world was ending, and you helped make the transition from small town life to a new state and a new school just a little bit easier, so thank you.

    To my high school boyfriend: Thank you for teaching me that I can’t just slap on a label and make a relationship work. Did things end the way that I would have liked them to? No. Does that mean that I’m not grateful you came into my life when you did? Also no. I think that I needed to experience what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone who was unafraid to challenge me and call me out when I was being dumb, and even though things didn’t work out in the end, I am grateful for all that I learned from you.

    To my friends in college: Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I genuinely don’t think I would still be at Virginia Tech if it were not for you. You welcomed in a homesick girl from a tiny little town in Pennsylvania, and for that I am eternally thankful. You showed me what it is like to go out into the world, and to enjoy it on my own for the first time.

    To my ex-friends: There are not very many of you, but I wish you all nothing but the best. No matter how things ended between us, at some point or another we were what each other needed in life. No matter how long we were in each other’s lives, I would hope that we brought laughter and happiness to each other.

    To my work family: You all have taught me the value of hard work and drive. I have been working with some of the same people now for almost four years, and even those of you who I have only been working with for a year or two, you have taught me so much. The people I have met from working retail are some of the smartest, most driven, and kindest people I ever could have asked for. Without you I would not be half as hard working or driven to pursue my dreams and career, and for that I am so thankful.

    To my family: You are my rock. You have always supported me in whatever dream I want to pursue (be that playing like 20 different sports as a kid, or going to a technical school to study creative writing), and I could not be luckier to have you in my life. I love you.

    All in all, I know it sounds cheesy, but I really believe that the people you meet in your lifetime are integral to who you are as a person. Without any one of these relationships I just mentioned, I would be totally different. People are put in our lives to teach things about the way we see the world, and I think that it’s super important to take a moment every now and then to acknowledge the universe and the people around you for all that they have given you.

 

All photos are author’s own