Because of You I Fell in Love. Hard.

I’ve always been a big believer that people come into our lives for a reason. Even if it’s for a fleeting moment, the people that come into our lives can teach us something and even guide us towards something better for us. But then there are those certain special ones that can bring us to a different level. The ones that touch us in such a way that they never leave us. The impression they make is permanently tattooed on us. So when I met you, I knew my life would never be the same.

We met casually and introduced ourselves.   It may not have been love at first sight. But the more I got to know you, the more you got to me. I had my wall up when I met you. It’s very possible you didn’t like me at first. It’s even more possible that I annoyed the shit out of you (and maybe still do at times). I don’t easily let people in. Sometimes when you have been hurt – or even when you haven’t – there can be that wall. And for whatever reason it was for me, it was a brick one. It was over quite some time that we got to really know each other. But during that time, I learned to trust you.  And so, I let you slowly chisel away at my wall.

As you did, I was able to tell you more and more about myself. I shared my stories with you. And then as I became more comfortable, we created stories of our own – that to this day we can relive and reminisce about as if it happened yesterday. Some of them are stories that make us cry – but most of them are stories that make us laugh until we cry. Because of you I allowed myself to become vulnerable. You stripped away my layers. First to my skin – and eventually straight to my soul.

I want you to know something. As years have passed and things may have changed between us – I will always cherish what we’ve had. Because of you, my brick wall has chipped away a bit. We may not see each other and speak every day anymore, but you’ve taught me more lessons than I can count, especially about true love. Even when we have been distant or have disagreed – and even fought or were angry with each other at times – I never for one second felt differently about you. You have touched my life in such a way that no matter how many years or miles separate us now, I will never forget what we’ve had and all you have done for me.

You’ve seen me at my best. You’ve seen me at my worst. And even though you may have been frustrated with me, you never abandoned me at my worst. If it’s possible, you loved me and protected me more during those times. You looked after me and helped fight my battles and demons when I was too weak to do it by myself. I never asked you to. You just did. And maybe you don’t even realize it, but you did. And because of your unwavering strength to stick by me – even when I thought I didn’t deserve it – you allowed me become the best version of myself.

So, to you – to all of you – to my “sisters” (whether we share blood or not), my girls that have always had my back I want to say this. I love you. All of you. Truly, madly and deeply (as trite as you think that sounds). No matter how much time passes between us speaking or seeing each other, to know that we can pick up anytime, anywhere, as if no time has passed at all is a gift you have given me. We may disagree, we may even argue, we may not speak as much as we once did – and sometimes that was every single day. But in the end, I know you are there and always will be. I’m not sure if I believe in soulmates, at least in the romantic sense. I haven’t met one of those yet. But when I think of each of you, I feel like I have living proof that they do exist. And that we can all have more than one.

To each of you – I say thank you. It’s because of you that I fell in love. Hard. Not only with each of you. But with myself. Our friendship, our stories, our love – and the unique lessons each of you have taught me – has brought me to a place where I am and hopefully will continue to be a beautiful work in progress. Your support (of even my madness at times) has given me the strength and confidence to constantly be that work in progress. To be more. To strive. To be better. To persevere. And finally to always give back and hopefully pay forward that support system you have always and still bestow upon me. You gave me that gift and it’s one I promise not to take for granted. I will always have your back.

I’ve never been one to toss that “L” word around. You all know that about me. But I have to say it again now. I love you. All of you. And because of your unconditional love, I learned how to really love myself now too. For all my shortcomings and the mistakes I’ve made – and continue to make – I’ve learned to love me as I am. And that may be my greatest love story yet.

And so, it was then – and because of you – that I finally fell in love. Hard.