An Open Letter To The Man Who Stepped Up

An Open Letter To The Man Who Stepped Up

Thank you for choosing me.
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Dear Non-Biological Dad,

It takes a strong little kid to accept that their father doesn't want to be a part of their life. It also takes a strong man to step up and provide for that little kid. It takes a lot of time, effort and patience to make that little kid feel loved after someone walks out on them. You didn't have to love me, you didn't have to give me everything I ever needed, but you chose to. You chose to be there when someone else didn't, and for that, you deserve all of the thanks I have.

I thought it would be Mommy and me forever. We were best buddies, the dream team, two peas in a pod; then all of a sudden, Mom was going on dates and leaving me behind. I wasn't too happy about that. At first, you were just that guy that made Mom smile again. I was supposed to be Mom's smile. I remember the first day I met you; I was terrified. You were this big scary guy in a leather jacket who was trying to get me to talk to you. Thinking back, that was also probably a scary moment for you. I was Mommy's little girl and you had to impress me, too. It worked, a little bit. It's funny though, I had no idea then that you would one day become one of the most important people in my life.

I remember your and Mom's wedding day, you chose to dance with Mom and me and made me feel a family for the first time. I remember you picked me up and sang to me and told me that you loved me for the first time. I cried like a baby, and you did too.

If I said that I accepted you then, I'd be a liar. It took me a long time to figure out what you were trying to do. You'd watch me when Mom wasn't around. You'd take me out to dinners, baseball games, concerts and amusement parks. You would cook my favorite meals for me and get mad when I couldn't finish them, and you had to. You would watch the same TV shows with me over and over. You would come to all of my softball and basketball games, school events and even escorted me to my first dance. You were my dad from day one, and I never realized it.

As I got older, I started resenting you and saying things I didn't think I would regret. I regret them now. I thought you were mean. You wouldn't let me go out with friends who you didn't know. You asked me a thousand questions before I left the house when I actually went out, and then a thousand more when I got home. You wouldn't let me date the boys I liked. You always told me I had an attitude and didn't listen. You and Mom would fight about me being rebellious and she would always "take my side" even though you were usually right. You were just being exactly what I needed.

I'm not that much older now, but I wish I would have appreciated you more. I wish that I would have seen the amount of effort you put in to treating me like I was your "real" daughter. We like to joke that I turned out more like you than anyone else. I think that's true. You deserve more thanks than I could ever repay you.

Thank you for being the "bad guy" all of the time. Thank you for being a goof and embarrassing me in front of my friends. Thank you for protecting me from those teenage boys. Thank you for being my cheerleader, chauffeur and body guard. Thank you for loving my mom and making her happy. Thank you for giving me a family. Thank you for giving me everything that someone else chose not to.

Thank you for choosing me.

Love,

Your Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Tani Oslar

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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What It Is Really Like Having Sisters Close To Your Age

While having siblings close to your age is pretty amazing, there can be a lot of issues that can come with it.

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I come from a family of 5 people and 1 dog. I have 2 sisters, Grace and Caroline. We are all pretty close in age, Caroline being the youngest and 3 years younger than me.

My sisters and I share a bond like no one else, no one can replicate it. When you have siblings close to your age you have built-in best friends, and since they are around your age you have the same interest, or at least, enough so that you can do things that other siblings cannot. Examples of this would be seeing R-Rated movies and going to the mall without too much complaining, along with being able to shop in the same stores or even share clothes. Grace and I sometimes even split the cost of a shirt we both like.

We even overlap friend groups! Which is not much of a problem for us, Grace and I are both in music programs which overlap enough for us to have the same friends, which is great for when one of us has a sleepover, the other can join in on the fun. Caroline, however, even though she is seen as the sporty one of the 3 of us, she still has a lot of friends who have similar interests as Grace or I, giving us a lot of the same friends. It's nice not to be considered the "cool older sister", I am just like the rest of them.

While we do fight a lot, we make up really quickly, because most issues we have are stupid sibling fights: who gets the T.V., what to have for dinner, what movie to see. But it is always fun because there are 3 of us, which means majority rules, something we tend to go by most of the time depending on the situation.

Having 3 teenagers in the house can be a handful for our parents though, when you have three teenage girls going through puberty at relatively the same time, it can be grueling, especially when you are all on your period at the same time.. (yes, that has happened before) (and yes, it sucks). While I am on the topic, let's say a prayer and a thank you to my dad for dealing with 5 girls (including the dog, obviously) because he does a pretty damn good job at dealing with all of us.

When we were younger, we always had a play date even when one was canceled. We all made up songs and dances and would perform them for our parents. We even had a band called The Halsey Sisters (AKA the female version of The Jonas Brothers) where we had a hit song called "We Got The Heart and Soul". It was a hell of a time. Let's just say the music video for that song is, interesting to say the least.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't switch my sisters for anything in the world, they are my rocks, and I wouldn't want it any other way, Grace, Caroline, keep doing what you're doing, because you're pretty damn awesome.

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