When I went home for break, I realized all the support certain people in my life gave me from when I was younger and struggling to now, where I'm older and learning how to thrive. I wanted to give appreciation to them in the best way for me, through my writing. Thank you, everyone; I couldn't have done anything without you.

6. My dog Pearl

Now I know my black labrador is not a human, but she still is a significant part of my life. I love her flab (even though I’m not supposed to call her fat), her gray hairs (and she has many), her laziness. Even though she has a list of favorites and I’m at the bottom, she still is my puppy regardless of her age. In case you were curious her list is:

1. Mother

2. Uncle on my mom’s side

3. Neighbor Lisa (she has two dogs and fosters more)

4. Neighbor Sandy (she gets treats from her)

5. The mail woman (she gets treats from her too)

6. Oldest Sister

7. Everyone else

Keep going

8. Me

Pearl provides cuddles and wet, sloppy kisses whenever I need them and I hope she doesn’t go anywhere anytime soon.


5. Ally Carter

I should also include my sister as a part of this too because she’s the one who recommended I read Ally Carter when I was younger.

Unlike today, before the age of eleven, you would never see me in the library, let alone reading a book. I hated it with a passion, but it was because of two things: I wasn’t at the reading level as everyone else at that age, and I never found the right book. But the summer going into freshman year of high school I read I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You. I found my love and adventure in books and now you will never see me without my nose in a book.

4. My roommates

I have been extremely lucky and grateful that I had two out of two great roommates at college. They’re there for the late night talks and early morning prep. I’ve heard horror stories about how, especially the first year, roommates don’t get along with each other. They’re evil things made to make our life away from home difficult and the only solution is to move out.

But that has not been the case for me. My freshman year roommate was chosen at random and by the end of the year, we became great friends (we still talk today). My current roommate sophomore year was a friend last year and despite the reservations from people, like my family, we get along great.

3. My uncle

I did not have a father growing up. And if I did, he wasn’t a good one. I may not have a father, but I have my uncle and he has been there for me. We have some of our differences, I realize as I’m getting older, but we are able to put them aside and understand. And when we can’t do that, we at least respect each other. Out of the rest of my family, I feel most comfortable to tell him some things — not everything, not yet. But most things. More importantly, he’s genuinely proud of me when I feel like some people are not. He’s got my back, and I have his.

2. Mrs. Beamish

The year after we graduate high school, we see our favorite teachers over winter and possibly summer break as well. But by the second year, we lose touch and high school is just a memory. But this isn’t true in this case. I should probably stop calling her Mrs. Beamish and call her Jane, but to me, she will always be Mrs. Beamish.

She’s the only reason I survived hell, I mean high school, and two years after I graduate I still go to her small office in the corner of the large library space whenever I’m home for not just winter breaks but all of the breaks. I know I have a safe space wherever she is.

1. My mother

If you told me five years ago that I could put my mom as my number one, I would have laughed at you. I would have thought it was the craziest idea since, well, any idea was formed. Despite our fights (and we’ve had many), I took my mom for granted and never appreciated her. She’s the strongest person I know who gave up a lot for my sister and me.

I used to hate the idea of coming home when I first went off to school, but now, I won’t say I can’t wait to come home, but the thought doesn’t want me to gag. Through it all, my mom was there for me and is probably one of the very few in my family I feel comfortable with. She’s part of my support system. She has her flaws, just like everyone else. But she is the reason I’m here.