A Thank You To High School Swimming, And Everyone Who Made It Happen

A Thank You To High School Swimming, And Everyone Who Made It Happen

I may have won many awards, but I'm a real winner with this team.
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High school swimming played an enormous role in helping me find my way back into the sport and really helped me understand why I love it so much.

I’d like to thank first and foremost my family. My mom, dad, and brother, for their unconditional support and love for me through my ups and downs through the sport. They will forever be my number one fans and supporters (also they had to pay for everything too).

Thank you to my teammates. Thank you guys for letting me be your captain, your friend, and part of another amazing family. Thank you to some of my best friends who have always been rooting for me even when they’re not physically there, and to Coach Haire and Coach North especially for taking care of me and watching me grow as an athlete and student.

I want to thank high school swimming for helping me understand that even though you still have to work hard and challenge yourself, you're still allowed to have fun.

I’d like to thank high school swimming for helping me understand that there’s a lot more to swimming than early mornings, painfully staring at a black line or drowning for multiple hours a day, but it’s those moments with the team that makes it so much more worth it.

This sport means so much to me but what made it count the most were the people I’ve met and the amazing memories and experiences that all made it worth it in the end. I may have won medals, ribbons, and plaques, gone to state and broke a team record, but I have gained even more by being a part of the most wonderful team out there.

I will forever treasure the everlasting memories I’ve built with my second family. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do all that I have done.

Cover Image Credit: Nicole Ma

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To My First Best Friend Who I Lost Because I Was Foolish

We all make mistakes, but losing you was the one I wish I never made.

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When we met, we were young. Two twelve-year-old girls with little to no life experience, naive and waiting for the world to come at us with all that it had.

We bonded quickly over anything and everything (whatever that could have been at this age) and became inseparable soon enough. Hours spent talking on the phone about which PBS cartoon was the best or what kind of boys were our "type" strengthened our blooming friendship and, for once, I felt like I finally had someone I could call my best friend.

I told you everything. I told you about my family and why I don't talk to certain members, and you told me about your family and why you don't know certain members. We trusted each other with our deepest and darkest secrets, we found solace in each other when it got hard to speak and we comforted each other when memories triggered emotions that were beyond our capabilities to handle.

As the months passed by, you became a bigger part of my life little by little. I remember a time where I couldn't have pictured going a day without talking to each other, and it seems like a lifetime ago when we would wake up early in the morning and immediately get on the phone after going to sleep late the night before.

I never wanted to believe that friendships don't last forever, despite what I had always heard. I wanted us to be different; I wanted us to be the exception that everyone could look at and say, "those are real best friends."

But I never took into consideration that sometimes, friendships don't last because one of the parties f**** it up.

We could talk in circles about what happened between us (we probably have) and we'd still end up at the same conclusion: It was me. And, at the end of the day, I think I always knew that I was the detrimental factor in our ultimate demise.

I did what every girl swears they will never do, what every girl says is the absolute worst thing to do: I chose my boyfriend over our friendship, and it's my biggest regret.

It's not that I meant to. I never thought I would even be capable of choosing anyone over you. We were unstoppable and I always believed I could never find anyone to be more important in my life than you, my best friend.

But, when you're "young and in love" (or blinded by what you think is love) you make stupid decisions without thinking of the consequences that will surely come.

I can't remember exactly what the situation was, or maybe I can and I just don't see a point in hashing it out for the millionth time because it only reminds me of what I wish I could change. Regardless, I don't think the details matter when the end result is what changed our lives forever.

The truth is, I don't really know how your life was after the fact. I know that I had a relationship that I dreaded, friends that I probably took for granted, and family that I didn't thank enough. But I never asked what got you through my absence, if my absence hurt as much to you as it did to me, or when you realized that you didn't need me anymore as much as you thought you did.

Maybe I didn't need to know, and maybe I still don't, it's just interesting to see how self-centered I was.

I've grown up a lot since then. I've dealt with some of the hardest things I would never wish upon anyone, I've come to see who I am and who I'm meant to be, and I've acknowledged and accepted my faults and mistakes a thousand times over.

I know I apologized to you more times than you can count, but I know that I'll never be able to say sorry enough. You were my better half, my lifeline, my best friend, and I kick myself every day for throwing it away like it meant nothing when it was everything.

We've moved past it together as much as we can, and we're now able to look back and chalk it up to "silly teenage girl things," but it doesn't mean that it can be erased. Our friendship exists now, but I can't help but wonder what it could have been if nothing would have happened.

2007 is a long time ago, twelve years since we met to be exact. We're both going to be twenty-four this year (you already are, I still have a month to go) and it would have been a friendship for the record books if we had made it this far.

Maybe our weddings would have been planned together. Maybe we would have been each other's maids of honor, and maybe we would have each planned kickass bachelorette parties that would never have been forgotten.

I know I don't want to have kids, but maybe in another world we could have been pregnant at the same time. Our kids could have been born with a best friend already chosen, one that would love and support them the same way that we would have done for each other. And though a lot of kids hate being thrown into friendships with their parents' kids, maybe ours would have been the exception.

I don't know what would have been, and I could go on forever with the "maybes" and the "what ifs" but it doesn't change the fact that they're all simply wishes and dreams, those that were lost the moment I turned my back on a friendship that was always there when I needed it.

You and me, we've found our homes in new people. We've formed bonds, made connections and surrounded ourselves with those who love us, and I think that's great and it's how it should be.

Still, I wish we could be for each other what we once were, what we should have been.

I made mistakes and I walked away from a friendship that was everything I needed it to be, and there's not a day that goes by in which I don't regret it.

And even though life goes on and we had to find a way to go along with it, I wouldn't mind going back and choosing differently. Because I know now that friendships as important and as pure as the one we had should always come first.

Always.

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