Senior Goodbye: Life has just begun

‘This moment will just be a story someday, but it’s my story and I want it to be a good one. This is only the beginning.’

%22Life+is+scary.+I+think+that%E2%80%99s+something+we+all+know+and+feel.+But+you+guys+have+made+it+just+a+little+bit+easier.+You+are+the+people+I+love+the+most.%22

Anna Velazquez

“Life is scary. I think that’s something we all know and feel. But you guys have made it just a little bit easier. You are the people I love the most.”

Dear friend, 

What can I say? These four years have been but a cacophony of ups and downs. And there have been a lot of downs.

A second ago I was taking a picture with a Sprite can for my staff picture and now I’m sitting at my desk at 1:26 a.m writing this and crying to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There’s just something so special about hearing Freddie Mercury sing “Mamaaaaa, oooooo” right in your ear. It really gets the mood going. 

Speaking of moods, I’m terrified. There’s no instruction manual for life — I don’t know what I’m supposed to do after this. This is real. I can’t just hide under my covers and wait until it goes away. I’m graduating. It’s happening. I don’t know when it happened, but it did and I feel like any second I’m going to pee my pants and fall down a black hole of nothingness. 

This isn’t a rare occurrence. Not the peeing my pants part, I promise I stopped doing that when I was 6. I was just a little late to the potty-training game. I was also late to the friend game. The nothingness tended to take over and the social anxiety didn’t help, either. It may have taken a bit longer, but I found my people: my wallflowers. The people I’m now dependent on and consult for everything. I know when the nothingness starts to consume me, they will always pull me out. I’ve told them too much — they’re prohibited from ever unfriending me. 

“It may have taken a bit longer, but I found my people: my wallflowers.” (Anna Velazquez)

To Max, AKA the man across the hall who likes to bully me: I owe you a lot, including the epiphany I had as a 15 year old. I wouldn’t be where I am now if you hadn’t told me about Mrs. Pinkham’s introductory journalism class. I know this isn’t a lot, but I hope watching Marvel movies together is a form of repayment for helping me find myself and my passion. Thanks for being my built-in movie buddy and best friend, I guess. 

To my favorite cat lady who is a middle-aged man: I didn’t realize how alike we were until you moved in and suddenly I couldn’t tell us apart. Because an 18-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man with a beard look identical, right? Apart from uncanny physical similarities, you get me. Our outings were my escape from the confines of the house. There was never a plan, only driving with the windows down and pointing at cows or stopping at Target to walk around. Anyways, when can I come over to play with the cats? 

Mom and Dad: Where do I even start? I know many of the things you have done for me have been in preparation for my future and I am eternally grateful to both of you. Your sacrifices will not be in vain. Mamá, mi cuata cacahuata, la persona que empezó mi obsesión con las telenovelas y que me enseñó lo que es el amor incondicional, te amo con todo mi corazón. Papá, gracias por prestarme tu ropa cuando se me olvida y por nunca dejar que me falte algo en la vida. Todo lo que hago es para hacerlos orgullosos de mi. 

To Mrs. Squibb: Your class became my home for three years. Your colorful room and even more colorful personality never failed to ease my worries. The Chaos Theory will forever be ingrained in my mind because of the words you shared with me. As you said, the beating of a butterfly’s wings has the ability to alter the weather miles and miles away. This seemingly diminutive action creates a subtle shift, no more, no less than a smile. Everything has the power to leave an impact. You were my butterfly. Your presence was enough to make anyone smile and your classroom became a home to many. Your hugs will always hold the No.1 spot. You are what every teacher should be. 

 It would be a disservice to teachers everywhere if I forgot to thank them. Much like the butterflies in the Chaos Theory, each and every teacher has left an impact on my life, regardless of if it was small or grand. Every single person is a mosaic of everyone they’ve ever met, and I’m happy to have such amazing teachers be a part of mine.

To Miss Pink (ex owner of G215): Remember that one time I made coffee and forgot to place a mug on the Keurig? Yeah. The look you gave me still haunts me to this day, I hope you know that. Despite that mortifying incident, you provided me with the safe haven that was room G215. I still refuse to believe your room is now the morgue. I’ve despised the thought so much, I don’t even know the new room number. Although my interactions with you were limited to a video call, I cherished all the awkward silences between you, Andrea, Gabe (Pinkham’s awesomesauce dog) and I. I want you to know that because of you and your super amazing mega cool rad journalism class, I was able to find my way out of my little labyrinth of fear and become the writer I am now. 

This next one might be a little sad but it reminded me of your eyes. *cue “Asleep” by The Smiths* The girl who complimented my Nirvana pin in middle school, none other than Andrea Plascencia. I will never forget the first football game we went to, or the Clairo concert when “I Wouldn’t Ask You” was playing and we looked at each other through tears, or the time we watched Shrek and made a pizza at 2 a.m, or the time I projectile vomited all over my room. For lack of better words, we have a lot of memories together, but one of my favorites is the day you got accepted into Rice. I remember sitting at the bottom of the stairs while watching the video as soon as you sent it. You did it. I knew you could do it. There are no mountains at Rice, but I know if there were, you would move them. Go move those hypothetical mountains and go owls!

To Miss Nancy Reyes: It’s impossible to condense our friendship into a couple of words. Six years ago, I would have never known the girl with dark hair and a Black Veil Brides T-shirt would become what people call a “twin flame.” What that means, I don’t exactly know, but it is you. From the countless rides you give me (there’s been a lot, I’m sorry), to the tissues you give me when I’m sick, you are the definition of a mom friend. Don’t worry, you’re the cool mom. You even watch Miraculous Ladybug with me. Even mom friends need to be told they’re doing a good job. I am proud of everything you have become. Who knew the wannabe emo kids could be so cool? 

“I can’t just hide under my covers and wait until it goes away. I’m graduating. It’s happening.” (Anna Velazquez)

You’re a wizard, Matty. No seriously, what kind of dark magic are you performing because I thought I was a lesbian before I met you. Men repulse me for the most part, but you are the exception. Is that really surprising? Anyone in their right mind would love a boy who has a mullet and wears a pearl necklace. You were the breath of fresh air in the male department. Apart from holding (sweaty) hands and fighting the patriarchy, we partake in several activities, including one of my favorites: watching Master Chef and critiquing people’s food. Time really flies when you watch Gordon Ramsay and Alvin Leung scream at people. In other words, there’s never a need for us to go out or do anything special. With you, the insignificant can be turned into the sublime. Oh! I also forgot to mention you smell like cheese. 

I’m keeping this one short, perfect for your pea-sized brain. To my future self, because I know I’ll keep reading this far after I’ve graduated: drink water, stop putting off your work and please, for the love of all things mighty, do your laundry. I’m proud of you.

Honorable mention: Luka (my dog). Thanks for letting me talk to you — I’m sorry if it gives you more anxiety. I promise to hold you when it’s raining and play you the Calming Dog Music playlist on Spotify when you need it. 

Life is scary. I think that’s something we all know and feel. But you guys have made it just a little bit easier. You are the people I love the most.

I don’t know where we’ll all be a year from now, but I know I can always look up at the sky at night and know we are all under the same moon. This moment will just be a story someday, but it’s my story and I want it to be a good one. This is only the beginning.

Maybe it’s finally time to feel infinite.

Love always, Anna.