An ode to the people who changed my life


Coco Bradford, Editor

To my childhood best friend, for finding and changing who you are with time, with no regrets, and blessing me with knowing who that is.

To my favorite person, for caring about what matters to you and learning to grow into yourself and care about yourself and finding the positives but still having trouble and being human, for teaching me humanity at its finest. For showing me how different we are, and leading me in a better direction, and letting me lead you when I need to. For being by my side no matter what crap I get into, for helping me get out of the crap and accepting and loving me no matter what it ends up being.

To my composure-destroyer, for being unapologetically yourself and yet still being willing to learn and change at points. For being better than I expect, but also sometimes showing your humanity as well.

To my best friend, for holding onto me and giving me a second chance, for figuring out who we are together, and for letting me be by your side as you figure out who you are alone. For being my strongest supporter and my most loving friend, and still someone who can connect to reality and show me I am doing wrong.

To my weakness, for reflecting me back at myself, for challenging me, for never losing my respect for you, and for letting me grow out of you finally. For representing humanity, and helping me know how I can be better, and how I can hurt people.

To an inspiration, for growing with me as well as staying completely who you are on your own. For showing me how to care about things and put in the effort. For compromising and communicating with me, for giving me another chance and letting me give you one, for being a healthy relationship in my life.

To my “in it together” best friend, for showing me that I do matter, for reciprocating my love language, for teaching me that I don’t need to give myself to you, I just need to share some of my life with you. For showing me how much I can attach to another human, for showing me that we can also exist apart. For showing me what it means to be lost without someone. For seeing where things go, and giving me a chance as a friend. For being there, and knowing me better than anyone else.

To my role models, for being what I want to be, but still being people. For allowing me to be okay with not knowing every aspect of you. For being people first, not emotions. For being lovable without being untouchable. For being hurt and bouncing back. For finding who you are in the public eye, for growing and changing and doing what you need.

To my ex-friends, for being people I cannot seem to stop caring about. For being people on your own, entirely without me. For being people I used to know so well. For leaving me behind, and letting me figure out what I would become without you. For showing me what it means to still love someone, and how I can keep going with that knowledge. For calling me out and helping me grow.

To my angel, for demonstrating who I wish to be. For being everything I could ever imagine, and more still. For helping me make it through some of my most difficult moments, whether it be the middle school track or various life crises. For sticking by me when I seem like the most difficult person to be around, for holding onto me when it may feel like we are worlds apart. For sharing my brain, and making me feel so lucky and so gifted to have a brain as amazing as yours. For being phenomenal in every sense of the word. For making me feel so incredibly loved.

To my opposite, for changing how I see the world in an unmatched way. For framing people as people, not just their labels, for showing me that there can be more than one side to people. For sticking by me at the most strange points in life, for being one of the most honest and real friends I have. For really honestly confusing me, for being so eternally different from me, and for being still so human.

To an old friend, for being one of my favorite people in the world to watch grow up. For growing up, somewhat as a model for me, and for showing me what loss is in the kindest way possible. For being someone who will always be just out of reach, for being forever a mystery to me. 

To the person I will always love, for loving me. For sharing with me, for being vulnerable with me, for being honest with me and tearing me down. For being an inconsistent constant in my life, always there if I need you to be, as I am for you. For making me feel cared about, and helping me understand what it is to be cared about in a subtle way, in a way where only you and I can feel it.

To my teacher, for being who I want to be when I grow up. For being kind, caring, open, non-judgemental, thoughtful, intelligent, creative, charismatic, and loved by all. For showing me that people can be successful, for existing in a way where I am sure you will always support me. For keeping a distance from your students, but having an impact on them all the same. For being exactly what a teacher should be: reliable and trustworthy. For being the ideal role model.

To my father, for showing me passion. For being the role model of life-enjoyer I hope I will always be. For sharing with me that zest and happiness that can only come from appreciating the world. For changing and becoming someone better, for allowing the possibility that you can be wrong and you can get better, for letting me be honest with you and responding to the issues I have. For helping me understand how humans work.

To my mother, for caring about me. For being there and supporting me and giving me almost all of yourself just to make me happy. For keeping me safe, for looking out for me, for trying to shield me from any possible harm. For being there when I inevitably do get harmed, for supporting me through the hardest thing in my life, depression, while supporting yourself through the same. For demonstrating what it means to work hard, for giving me principles, for establishing me as someone who cares about others and wants to make their lives better, like you did for me.

To my sibling, my lifelong best friend, for being there all my life. For giving me the best looks across the dinner table, for pointing out when I am wrong, for explaining yourself to me, for letting me dump my emotions on you. For helping me understand the importance of therapy in a way I couldn’t yet grasp, for taking me under your wing in my own journey of self-discovery and moral conflict. For being one of the wisest people I know, for showing me what I am capable of, for letting me help you, for going through it all first. You have changed my life in ways I cannot even comprehend.

To humanity, for letting me see you. For helping me understand you, and for continuing to give me more and more challenges, more and more layers that I never thought I would get to see. For challenging me with some of the most difficult feelings I have ever felt, and yet blessing me with the most amazing ones. For stunning me with your talents and your failures, for keeping me on my toes and keeping me comfortable. For making life worth living. I wouldn’t be alive without you.

This piece is designed to be a thank you to all the incredible people who have changed my life. The world around me is created mainly by the people in it, and these people have created a world which I am so grateful for, and also a version of myself which I am so proud of. I cannot express how much these people mean to me, except that they changed my life for the better. I am who I am because of them.

Thank you all so much.