I can’t begin to explain the ways in which I find you beautiful. The night we met is imprinted on my memory like a hot iron. How I came to be in that place, so familiar, yet so undesired in that moment. How we came to be introduced and began a conversation, witty quips passing back and forth like schoolchildren on opposing teams, but still with lightheartedness. Sitting under the stars I told the story of a girl. Her story filled with apathy, avoiding a place, which should have been her solace, her home. The story is weaved in resentment, cruel words, dependency, and sacrifice. So long, and overdrawn that she barely remembered who she should have been when she got out the other side. Stepping on a limb for a dream that she’d had for as long as she could remember. Almost to the point where it was BELIEVED to be her destiny. So she did and it was hard. She fell down, she brushed herself off as she stepped back up, and she never EVER gave up on herself. She fought, and while still paying her dues, she won. As sweet smoke mingled in the air, I had your complete attention. I could see that you were impressed by the story of this girl. Which is something that I’ve seen before when weaving these words. Yet, this time it was different. Usually, the surprise is in that they didn’t consider the story possible upon first impressions, and were forced to re-evaluate their opinions. Followed shortly thereafter, a thought of how damaged that girl should be, but still strong. No, when you honestly replied with how strong that girl was and how you admired her, it clicked. To you her story wasn’t a tragedy, but a badge of honor. You didn’t see her as jaded, bruised, or used. She was strong. She been through hell and didn’t drown in the obstacles that stood before her. You validated the idea that she did survive and not only did her story not make her ugly, it made her even more beautiful in her imperfections. You made her dream, hope, and yearn. You made her a warrior. I can’t thank you enough for that. That may be the most beautiful gift of my life. Remember, this is only one of the ways you’re beautiful.