There are those friends I love and care about deeply, but cannot be my true self around. Someone asked me before, "How can you call someone your friend if you can't be yourself around them?" I don't change myself to accommodate them or act in a manner unnatural to me — I just don't show them some sides of me. Growing up, some of my friends did not understand how I could ever want to write books or how I could love reading so much, so I learned at a young age to keep that side of me to myself. And yes, those are important parts of me, but my friends who did not understand it did accept it, and that was enough. Some thought it bizarre and humorous I love Celtic instrumental music or said some hurtful things about what I love that I realize now wasn't okay. But at the end of the day, there is love between us and common ground where I just remember to not mention some things.

Then there are those friends I can be my complete, unapologetic, authentic self with. The ones who support and encourage you to chase your dreams, even if they don't understand them. The ones who you can cry to about something silly, say whatever is on your mind without regretting it, and who thinks it's preposterous you refuse to fart in their presence because your other friends would give you crap for it (pun intended, and also true story). The ones you stay up late into the night talking about philosophy and crushes until your voices begin to rasp. The ones who are the closest to your heart.

I want to say thank you to these brilliant, caring, beautiful friends, new and old. Your love and support has helped me at all times, through the good and the bad and the boring. I only hope to be the same friend to you, to be open-minded, supportive, and enthusiastic. I believe it is important to cultivate a wide range of friends and support, but many of the friendships I mention earlier will most likely only be kept alive through memories; ours will last many lives to come. I look forward to growing old with you all and growing together.