To The Friends I Have Neglected In The Past, Let's Move Forward

To The Friends I Have Neglected In The Past, Let's Move Forward

I know I've hurt you, and wasn't there when I needed to be, but I've grown.

I've always been able to go to my best friends for guidance whenever I feel like I'm drifting away, even though I haven't been the best friend I should be at times. I'm here now to share those times to help others grow like I have. I have two best friends: Abbey and Lauryn. They're both of my best friends for different reasons, but have both strengthened me in the same way. This is going to be a path down memory lane, and an "I'm sorry," to the two girls who mean the most to me.

Abbey & Kelsi

The Kelsi that is with Abbey is one who wishes to be better. Abbey's heart is so pure and she is truly a ray of sunshine. She has led me through some of the darkest times in my life and continues to inspire me. College has created a barrier between us, and I can't help but think it's me. Abbey and I went from being inseparable and talking every day, to barely knowing whats going on in each other's life. The other day we were texting, and she admitted to feeling hurt for our disconnection, and I truly felt guilty. Reaching out is so simple, and I had lacked that. I hate feeling like a stranger when I text her, but we have to use ice-breakers when we speak now, and it's foreign.

Abbey, if you're reading this, know that I am not purposefully pushing you away from me. I know a lot is going on in our separate lives, but it isn't an excuse for how I've been treating you. I'm sorry, and I want to get back to the way we used to be. You're doing amazing things at UAB, and have surpassed all of the expectations people have made of you. Keep doing awesome, and know that I'm rooting for you every day, even if it doesn't feel like it. Love you, Abbeygail.

Lauryn & Kelsi

The Kelsi that is with Lauryn is very overprotective. We have been friends for nine years, and there have been so many great moments. Although we've had our ups, there has also been some downs. There was a solid year where I was the shittiest version of myself I've ever known. In this year, I was too worried about being kicked off of the varsity volleyball team, how other people thought of me, work, and which college I was going to apply to. These things, I thought, were consuming me and were such a big issue. All the while, I was neglecting one of the most important parts of my life: Lauryn.

Lauryn's father passed away January, 18th 2015, the day after her 16th birthday. I remember being so mad at her for ignoring me for two weeks because I was so self-centered. Little did I know, that this would start the biggest fall of our relationship. In August of 2015, Lauryn tried her first attempt at suicide, which I didn't even know until today, while I was asking her for specific times of these occurrences. This snowballed into lack of treatment for her depression, and in May of 2016, she attempted suicide again. I immediately broke down when I got the news because I had realized that I wasn't there for my best friend when she needed me the absolute most.

Lauryn, if you're reading this, I'm so sorry. Fifteen-year-old me is someone I am not proud of, and how I treated you is no excuse. I know that we have gotten past this together, but I can't help but imagine how different this could have played out if I got my head out of my ass and been there. I love you so much, and you know that. You deserve the world.

For someone on the outside to read this, whether you are the college freshman who doesn't realize how distant she is being, or if you're the fifteen year old who needs to open her eyes and see what is happening right in front of her, I hope you can learn from my mistakes. I'm not one to put her business online, but this is something that has been resting so heavily on my heart. Cherish those who are in your lives, and don't miss any moments that you may not be able to get back.

Cover Image Credit: Kelsi Mills

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Why Having A Sister Is The Best Thing In The World

She's my built-in best friend.

I have considered myself one of the luckiest girls in the world to have been given the world’s best older sister to ever exist. We are a little over two years apart, yet, I feel as if the years between us don’t even amount to how close we are and how special and important she is to me. I know I don’t only speak for myself when I say that having a sister is the most amazing thing in the world. You are automatically given a life-long, built in best friend without even having to try. I, for one, know my sister is the only person who will always be there for me. She is my favorite person in the entire universe, she is my role model, she is the one person I will constantly look up to. All in all, she is my ultimate best friend.

Growing up, my sister and I dealt with the same minor arguments that all sisters face as they get older. Whenever my sister had her friends over, all I wanted was to hang out with them. Whenever my sister started a new sport, I immediately decided to try that sport as well. Half the time, the things I have tried in life are all due to the fact that my sister decided to try them first. All I ever wanted to do was be like her. And that’s exactly what I did. While it may seem like I didn’t really have a brain of my own or any real separation from my interests and my sister’s interests, as we both got older, we forged our own paths in very different ways.

As we both got a little bit older and a lot more mature, the pointless bickering came to an end and we actually got incredibly close. While I had always looked up to my sister from the start, this was different. We weren’t just sisters anymore, we were becoming best friends.

The day my sister left for college was one of the most emotional and heart wrenching days of my entire life. My best friend, my go-to, and my person was taken away from me and starting a new life in a completely new state. She would make new friends, and we would only have some small window of time to talk, over Facetime, of course, about our new lives away from each other. Honestly, I do not enjoy expressing my emotions and showing my weak spots to other people. When my sister left for college I don’t think I fully expressed to her the extent to how much I missed her. It took me a long time to be okay with the fact that she wasn’t right across the hall from me, that we didn’t share a bathroom anymore, that I could walk into her room and talk to her, and that we couldn’t steal each other’s clothes anymore. I thought that distance would strain our relationship in a really bad way. But, as it turned out, we got so much closer than we were before.

My sister is a brilliant, smart and intelligent person. She has the brightest future ahead of her. Whenever someone asks me about my sister, I am always so proud to speak about her and all of her accomplishments. When I visit her in college, we have the most amazing time together. I love getting to see a piece of her life that is outside of the one we share at home. And, as she is now getting ready to graduate from college, I only know the future she has ahead of her is going to be nothing short of successful.

Honestly, I guess not everyone is as lucky as I am to have the most amazing sister. She truly is my best friend in the entire world. She is the only person who knows how to make me feel better in my dark moments, and she is the one person who knows me better than I know myself. She is my rock, she is my person, she is my ultimate best friend, and I could not be luckier to have been given the greatest sister of all time. I am forever grateful.

Cover Image Credit: Franki Rosenthal

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The Thank You I Never Got To Give My Aunt

And she is someone who deserved it a million times over.

I have had the pleasure of being raised in a family that provided a bountiful amount of female role models for me to admire. Like with everyone else, I sometimes did not realize everything those role models had done to help me until it was too late.

My parents are both the youngest amongst their siblings, which means their parents were sickly and elderly by the time I was really old enough to remember anything about them. My father lost his mother just after I was born, so I only ever knew one of my grandmother's.

What I didn't realize at the time was that my fathers' sister. Maryanne, affectionately referred to as Aunt Mairz, stepped up and held the family together. She was my aunt, but she was so much more than that. She pretty much became the "Nan In Training" for the family. She was the grandmother I never got to have.

She passed away the August before my senior year of high school from cancer.

If there is such thing as an angel on Earth, it would be this woman. She always put others before herself. As much as my parents demonstrated the same, something she did for my mom has always stuck with me. When my Aunt Mairz was extremely sick, my mom lost her father. I had lost another grandparent. Family and friends came to the viewing, as expected. What we did not expect was for Aunt Mairz to come, considering how sick she was at the time. But she did. I cannot imagine how exhausting that time was for her, but she did it anyway.

Because that's who she was.

When my family moved to the house we are in now, she (and many other family members) were here helping unpack boxes. She placed almost all of our dishes in the cabinets for the first time. Again, she didn't have to. But she did it anyway.

She taught me that even when you are in the worst situation you could ever have imagined yourself in, there is someone in the world going through more pain than you.

When she passed away, I was devastated. For me, it felt personal. The reason it felt personal is that a few months prior I held a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. It wasn't super successful, but it accomplished what I thought I wanted. I thought I wanted to just raise money and awareness. But in my young mind there was a direct correlation between my fundraiser and my aunt getting better. I was wrong.

I guess part of the reason I am writing this is for her grandchildren that will never have the chance to know her. They know what their parents and Grandfather say. I thought they would like to know from another source how amazing of a Nan they had. They're all too young to read this and fully understand how much she did for me. She helped me let go of a lot of anger and resentment that was blocking my faith. Words can never express how grateful I am for that.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Beatty

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