By your twenties, you usually have a handful of people who broke you but ended up making you stronger. Here are some of my 'thank yous' to those you made me a fighter.

1. My First Love

We were so young and got serious so fast. You showed me what love was and I don't think anyone else but you could have done that. But you know what else you did? You made me insecure. You made me feel like I wasn't good enough. You forced me to ignore those who were important to me. You took me away from my friends. You made me put all of my happiness in you and then you broke my heart. But thank you. Thank you for forcing me to love myself. Thank you for helping me realize that I am enough. Thank you for reminding me how precious friendships are. Thank you for teaching me that being toxic and controlling is not love. Thank you for showing me how to find happiness in everyday things.

2. The selfish friend

You were by my side for years. I could have sworn that we would grow old together and remain friends until the grave. But as the years passed, I started realizing that our friendship meant much more to me than it ever did to you. I started realizing that I was always the one who made plans, put you first, invited you to things, and put in all the effort. I realized that you used the term "best friend" very loosely. And I realized that I was never going to get what I was giving. So thank you for teaching me how friends are supposed to be treated. Thank you for showing me that I deserve better.

3. My first real boss

After having jobs in high school, I figured I knew pretty much everything about being an employee. But after getting my first serious job in college, I found out I had a lot to learn. You were my friend first. You were funny and witty, caring and selfless, and smart. You always remained professional but never stopped being who you were. You were hard on me but only because you knew I could do better. Your kindness coupled with your high expectations almost killed me, but you helped me grow. You didn't settle. You made sure I always gave 110% and if I didn't, I knew I was going to have to re-do the job. You challenged me in ways that I never knew I needed to be challenged. Thank you for showing me that new ideas should always be welcomed. Thank you for teaching me that nothing should ever stand in the way of your success. Thank you for being the perfect mentor, role model, and friend.

4. The boy who thought he could change me

~Backstory~ For about two months before I came out as gay, I was talking to a boy (Along with a couple of girls-oops!). He was very nice and funny. Once I was out to my friends and family, I knew I had to break the news and tell him I had been faking it only because I hadn't completely come to terms with who I was. Once I told him, he seemed very accepting and said that he wanted to still be friends. Since we had shared some laughs and good conversation, I wasn't going to turn down a new friend. ~Backstory over~

You took advantage of me. I told you things I had never told anyone. I confided in you. I trusted you. You told me you cared about me and that you wanted the best for me. But you didn't. You wanted the best for you. You told me that you accepted me for who I was but then you spent all your time trying to change me. You convinced me I was crazy for liking girls and only girls. You told me that by putting a label on myself I would be limited. But you were wrong. So thank you. Thank you for helping me realize how strong I was. Thank you for showing me that no one should try to stop me from being who I am. Thank you for teaching me how to build love from hate.

5. High school me

You were insecure and hateful. You were fake. You smiled and laughed, never complaining about you hidden demons. You silenced your thoughts for so long. You were lost, scared, and sad. But you pushed through. You trusted your feelings and stopped letting other control your actions. You rose from the ashes and fought for a life that was worth living. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for deleting toxic people from your life. Thank you for learning to love and accept yourself. Thank you for making me who I am.