You know that quiet girl in your high school, the one you always saw but didn't really see? That was me. But it wasn't really who I was supposed to be, not really who I am. I just didn't it realize that back then.

Before I met you guys, I was a shy and insecure high school sophomore and an overly ambitious competitive figure skater. Sometimes these ambitions got the better of me. Actually, most of the time. I was obsessed with perfection in a way that was becoming extremely unhealthy. Skating was my whole life, so when everything started going wrong within my sport it felt as if my whole life was falling apart. Dramatic? Yes. But that was truly my reality as a confused 16-year-old perfectionist.

When a devastating injury set in, I had truly reached my lowest point. The thing that mattered most to me in the world was suddenly ripped away, leaving me with nothing but high school. Without skating, I hardly even knew who I was, and I struggled through all of my sophomore year trying to figure it out. I sort of viewed myself as worthless if I no longer had my talent to offer, the one thing that truly made me special. I made a big friend group at school, but it was rather shaky and unreliable. I struggled trying to adjust my personality to fit what I thought they wanted, and none of it felt truly authentic or real at all. In fact, nothing in my life really did at that time.

I found you guys early my junior year. Or maybe you found me. I can't remember quite perfectly. It's funny how it all happened. Like fate.

Four blondes. Two brunettes. A redhead. The "popular" girls, some would call them. Never the people I would have seen myself with. I made pre-judgments about you guys the first month of my freshman year and stuck to those. I could have never guessed you would change my life.

When you seven came into my life, it was like I could finally exhale all the tension I had been building up through that rough and crazy year. You helped me to remember who I was, and you liked that person more than I ever thought anyone would. Without you, I would have never learned how much more there is to life than skating and how much fun I could have simply just being a normal high school girl. You gave me the greatest memories, a priceless support system and an infinite self-value I didn't know I had.

So Christa, Taylor, Emma, Caitlin, Maya, Elissa, Georgia. Thank you. Thank you for the good morning texts and coffee dates, for shared closets and movies nights, for making me feel more loved than I ever thought possible. Thank you for bringing faith into my life. For showing me the grace of God. Thank you for becoming a part of my family and treating my brothers like your very own. Thank you for endless adventures, even on rainy days. Thank you for changing my life. My heart is so filled with you girls and that will never change.

I miss you and love you more than you know,

XOXO, Em