Dear my lovely, kind-hearted, fierce AF friends,

You were there when other’s were not. It sounds like a cliche. The premise of stories, quotes, movies, and everything else under the sun. The bond of friendship. Your people. Your chosen family. The one’s in which unconditional love grew.

I don’t know how I got so lucky, because if you ask me, my friends would have to be insane to be friends with me. I text too much. I have weird thoughts that usually don’t make sense, but I will expect you to understand. The drama follows me (there, I admit it. It’s always by happenstance. But wherever I go there it is). I can be moody. I can’t eat peppers. I like attention. I like puns. And I will always be overdressed. I do have a dog, though, so that’s a plus.

This year was fraught with anxiety, depression, and insomnia. I questioned my self-worth. I forgot who I was. I would get angry irrationally so. I would spend months only getting 3 hours of sleep a night, if any. I have spent weeks without sleep. I had lost me

Devynne and I reunited

This year was the year I started training. I started training to have a goal to focus on. I trained to get endorphins. I trained because I thought if I looked strong, I could trick my brain into thinking I was strong. I lost weight. I accomplished goals I didn’t know I would enjoy. I became part of a supportive community. I got the most supportive and encouraging trainer. I learned not to be scared of challenging myself.

Tough Mudder/BSFFam

This year was the year I learned unconditional love. You don’t know the love of a strong friendship then when you are shouting on the phone to your friend, cursing them out for caring about you. Then them staying on the phone for two more hours. Friends loving you so hard, you have no choice but to believe it. Friends telling you that you can be weak because they will be strong for you. Your second parent’s offering to help relocate you to France in a year or two if you still feel depressed and want to change cities. It was filled with people I haven’t spoken to much reaching out with their support, their stories and their love. I have built wonderful social media friendships that I hope to turn IRL come 2017. I road tripped through France with a guy I only met three times to plan the trip. I learned that good friends could come from the most surprising places, such as bumble.

Cameron and me at a random music fest in Paris.

This year I lost a bunch of friends. I don’t blame or harbor ill will. We grew apart. Our paths diverged, and I can only hope they merge one day again. My heart still aches and misses these friendships. I have learned to accept their losses. To accept my life as it is. Even if sometimes I wish I had a different one.

My french mum (Florence) and dad (Yannick).

This year I got to watch my two best friends get married to each other.

Andrew and Joi get hitched!

This year I would stop talking to someone if they asked ‘How are you?’ or ‘What’s new?’.

This year I took risks.

Highschool crew.

This year I failed.

This year I fought harder than I have ever fought before.

My #girlgang lady Sarah.

This year I learned what true support feels like.

Gary and I at #MosaicUp looking fly.

Thank you for this year. You knocked me down. You kicked me, repeatedly. You cut me. You then squeezed lemon and sprinkled salt in the wound. You taped my eyes open and made me relive every regret I’ve ever had. Thank you for giving me something to fight for. My friends. You gave me the strength to keep moving. I know people say, fight for yourself, but it’s hard to do that when you find yourself worthless. My friend’s though. They are worth everything. They deserve the world and everything and anything that makes them happy. And if me fighting makes them happy, then I will fight until my hands are bloodied, and you can see the bone. Thank you for taking care of me when I couldn’t and be strong when I could barely speak. Thank you for loving me and never giving up on me. I don’t know how one girl could get so lucky to have so many of these friendships and people in my life. I love you and hope you know I would do the same for you.

With all my love,

Tess Michael Kaytmaz

Originally published at