1. Because they changed my mom's due date three different times and I still ended up being two weeks late.
  2. Because I grew up with a mom who was always willing to read "just one more story" or let me pull up a chair beside her even if my help meant extra cleanup.
  3. Because I grew up with a dad who never let me believe that being a girl was a disadvantage and insisted I learn how to throw a ball, change a tire, and fix a sink.
  4. Because my younger brother's been the center of attention since he came into this world.
  5. Because my parents taught me to read using comic books, encouraged me to be myself even when everyone else called me weird, and gave me the space I needed to form my own beliefs and make my own mistakes.
  6. Because I went to a half day kindergarten program that had nap time.
  7. Because I went to an elementary school that, while the smallest and poorest, allowed me to be in smaller classes than other kids my age.
  8. Because Princess Leia and Wonder Woman taught me that women were just as capable of saving the day as their male counterparts.
  9. Because I grew up in a small town where the horse statue in front of the high school not being neutered was bigger news than the former mayor embezzling money.
  10. Because I was in the group of kids who were seen as being "the best and the brightest" (aka the advance placement kids) throughout middle and high school.
  11. Because I had some really great teachers along the way who saw my potential and helped nurture it.
  12. Because my family lost the house I did the biggest part of my growing up in to foreclosure during my freshman year of high school.
  13. Because I haven't been capable of sleeping like a normal person since I was fifteen.
  14. Because I've always been the shy, painfully awkward best friend with a good sense of humor.
  15. Because my parents were mostly strict with what I watched, but allowed me to read whatever I wanted.
  16. Because I learned early that a sense of humor and a good music collection can help get you through a lot of things in life.
  17. Because I've always been the peace keeper even when I couldn't find peace within myself.
  18. Because I learned it was easier to look up an answer or fix something myself than to ask someone else to do it.
  19. Because I found Fleetwood Mac and Sarah Dessen novels at just the right time.
  20. Because someone put a camera in one of my hands and a pen in the other.
  21. Because I fill the long nights with movies, books, art, and music in order to try to keep my demons at bay.
  22. Because sometimes I'm still embarrassed that I didn't finish college.
  23. Because I'm terrified I'll never find my place in the world.
  24. Because I fell off a rocking horse when I was two and hit my head on the wooden arm of a couch.
  25. Because I talked to the Man in the Moon as a kid, still wish on stars and 11:11, and try to find the beauty/magic in the everyday.
  26. Because I know that despite what the Beatles sang, love isn't all we need.
    In fact, you can love a person with every piece of you and it still not be enough to build a future on.
  27. Because I know what it's like to be so broken that you wish you had never existed.
  28. Because no matter how old or thin or well-liked I become, I think I'm always going to think of myself as the overweight little girl standing in the corner who's convinced that nobody likes her.
  29. Because I live with a chronic case of wanderlust.
  30. Because I still believe there's someone out there who'll love me, annoying habits and all.
  31. Because I live inside my head.
  32. Because I still hope that I'm meant to do something great.
  33. Because I've been lucky enough to love and be loved by some pretty incredible people who are capable of accepting both the light and dark parts of me.
  34. Because I found this place. 💛
  35. Because my story's still being written.