52 Weeks of Gratitude [Week Eleven]: Someone Who Inspires You

There are SO many people who inspire me, from friends to family to strangers. People who give to others, who demonstrate selfless acts of kindness, who find the brighter points in life even when they’re surrounded in bleak and sorrow…people provide inspiration everyday, if you know how to see it.

I’m trying really hard not to talk about people who I already have mentioned on here in other previous weeks. There’s one person in particular I was saving this post for; his name is Alex.


Storytime! How we met…

As I’ve mentioned before, making friends was not exactly easy growing up. But I still had mom and dad and Ty, so it all worked out! In my first year of high school, I was told by my music teacher to audition for the musical that year, to which I’m very glad I did. As I was practicing the songs one day, I saw a boy reading Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn. I was still rather shy when it came to being the first person to begin a conversation…but books were always the exception! I immediately bombarded him with his thoughts on the book, how I loved it, and then finally managed to introduce myself properly.

“Friendship…is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…” – C.S. Lewis

At first, he apparently was rather flabbergasted that I was talking to him. I didn’t learn this until much later, but he and his friends thought I was a popular girl who was going to pretend to be nice but not really be nice…I wasn’t even popular! But whichever. They eventually saw I wasn’t, to which I’m grateful for.

Alex and I don’t live near one another anymore, barely seeing one another as it is. Nevertheless, he still remains to be the first person I consider as a close and most endearing friend. If I were to ever get married, he would have to be in my wedding party. Oh how I miss the days of playing videos games, walking around and getting into trouble, and always stealing all his cookie and chocolate from his personal stash.

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” – Linda Grayson

I don’t know if he’ll ever understand how much he inspires me, but Alex is one of the people that made me feel as though I could be myself. I slowly began to open up about what I liked, disliked, thought was funny and clever…I started to develop into the Jenna I am today.

He’s that guy that would play Yu-Gi-Oh! in the cafe and not care what people thought, talked about anime and manga though people had no clue what is was, got excited for video games and game consoles coming out, and so much more. He was himself, no matter the circumstance, while the rest of us in high school played pretend so people didn’t see us as weird or different.

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” – Helen Keller

Alex has inspired me countless times, continuing to do so to this very day and teaching me a great deal:

  • To be brave, even when it’s not easy to be
  • The importance of forgiveness
  • How to grieve and mourn
  • Let people in, allowing yourself the beauty of friendship
  • Knowing it’s okay to show emotions
  • The amazing world of anime and manga and video games
  • Learning to take new chances, even when one doesn’t like change
  • To always be true to yourself

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anaïs Nin

Thank you Alex “Amazing” VanKooten, for being a star in the night sky when all the lights were out.

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