Do Our Friends And Family Ultimately Shape Us?

So I saw this daily prompt and it got me thinking about not just friends, but the people in my life overall who have influenced me. I’ve been lucky enough to know my best friend since I was three and we’ve been together longer than the average marriage lasts. A lot of my friends aren’t local anymore- scattered from college, military service, and life, and I have more than one I only know online. They’ve done a lot for me- from listen me to whine about the scariness of dropping out and getting rejected for a lot of jobs to pushing me out of my comfort zone and telling me to stop whining when I need it. My friends are awesome.

When I really think about it though the people who have influenced my life aren’t necessarily my friends or family. She’s the 4th grade teacher who was the first adult I ever stood up to because I didn’t think animals should be called ‘it’.They’re the soccer coach when I was 10 and the only girl on the team who pushed the entire team to do their best and who unintentionally taught me more than feminism and equality than any blog or class ever has. Its where I learned I was not just as good as the boys, but a lot of the times just flat out better. They’re the student council mentor in junior high who pushed me out of my comfort zone, taught me to stand up for myself, and to speak my mind, who never stopped encouraging me, told me it was okay to cry and gave me the best advice of my life- trust yourself. Its the high school teacher who was teaching for the first time that I’m still friends with and who encouraged me to go on a study abroad- which was ultimately one of the reasons I decided to leave school. Its about my mentor from an after-school program that I later taught at who not only taught me everything I know about theater but also taught me that sometimes no matter how awesome a person is sometimes they other priorities. Its about the art teacher who was over the moon when I told her the skills I learned in her classes were what helped me start my own business in high school. Its my advisor for my history degree who was the first and only person to buy my first short story and who encouraged me to do what I needed to do to be happy.

Those are the people who have shaped me and taught me what i needed to know, even if I didn’t know it then. The big things and the little things you don’t are big until later. I love my friends and tolerate my family but at the end of the day I’m not sure if they’re the ones who shaped me.

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