Dear Home Part Two,

You were more than just the average "home away from home." You were more than just a dance studio. You were more than just a friend's home. You were more than just a church, more than just a club or organization, more than just a team. You were so much more than anything you've ever been labeled.

You were my escape. When life got stressful (Lord knows it happened a lot), you were there for me. I often found myself overwhelmed with the highs and lows of life. In those cases, although they were often complicated, all I needed was the simple solution that you offered. With you, I could temporarily clear my head. I could declutter my crowded mind. You gave me a certain peace that trumped all of my stresses, a peace that I had trouble finding at the time.

Similarly, you were my safe haven. If ever I was hurt, betrayed, lonely or just in need of somewhere to run to, you were my refuge. You were the safe place I found myself fleeing to whenever I was scared. You were the open arms I ran into when I was falling apart. You were the strength I needed when I simply could not stand alone.

You were my second family. I used to believe that nobody would ever love me as much as my biological family. You proved me wrong. Don’t misunderstand me. My family is everything that a family should be: supportive, loving, accepting, patient, understanding and really just amazing. However, you are right there with them. You are an extension to the wonderful people that God has put in my life, and I could not feel more blessed than I do knowing that you love me like I am your own.

You gave me something to look forward to. Not a single person can argue that some days, or some weeks, are just plain hard to get through. Life sometimes has a way of feeling like boring clockwork. People live day to day and only focus on checking things off their mental to-do list. Whenever I’d fall into that toxic pattern, you were the fun thing for me to anticipate the arrival of. You were the “11:11” of my clockwork, exciting on even the most boring of days.

You helped make me who I am today. You welcomed me as a young child, and you watched as I grew older and older. You walked me, hand in hand, through the stages of my childhood. Whether you realized it or not, I looked up to you and everyone involved with you. I studied the way you handled various situations, the way you interacted with every type of person and the way you always seemed to respect me (even when I was in my awkward middle school phase). Each moment spent with you, little by little, helped shape the person I am today.

You made an impact in my life that was bigger than I could have ever imagined. Each and every day, I thank God for every moment spent with you. You gave me a reason to smile when I had trouble finding one. You gave me a place to channel my energy and attention, which would one day develop into a passion. You gave me a place to feel valuable when I felt invisible everywhere else. You warmed my heart with such tender love when I felt completely alone.

The best thing about you? You're still there for me, and I know that you always will be. Feelings of fear, loneliness, worthlessness, rejection and anxiety will always be lingering in the shadows, waiting for a sign of vulnerability. They will always find their way into my life. You, though, you will always have a bigger place in my life. You will always be there for me.

So, thank you. Thank you for being there when I needed you. Thank you for being a support system and a safe place. Most importantly, thank you for changing my life. You didn't ask to play such a huge role in my life, but you willingly accepted the challenge. I am a product of your love, your acceptance, your loyalty, your time and your security. I am who I am because you are who you are.

All my love,

Your ever-so-thankful biggest fan