To those in my life: thank you.

“In the end, I decide that the mark we’ve left on each other is the colour and shape of love. That’s the unfinished business between us. Because love, love is never finished. It circles and circles, the memories out of order and not always complete.”

If you know me, you probably know that I hold hands of the people I love. Not just in passing — but truly clasped, with the pulses of our wrists beating together and our fingers mapping the knuckles and nails like a cartographer learning a country by beat. For a long time, I relied on other means of expressing how thankful I am for the people in my life. I was confident that they realized that I value what they’ve done. Recently, someone changed that. This summer, I was fortunate enough to be part of a leadership conference, and through it, I met a girl who changed how I carry my self today. For two weeks, she messaged me everyday to ask me how my day was or to tell me how thankful she is to have met me. That is it. No favours or questions asked. Just the simple gesture of being thankful.

By kindergarten, we have learned that a proper “thank you” somehow makes the day go more smoothly. And yet, in our non-stop, sometimes frantic lives we easily forget the importance of gratitude, the value of that brief but vital connection we make with strangers when we take a moment to smile and say “thank you.” Being thanked makes the heart sing, and the hardest heart melt.

Today, I write this to recognize and thank the people in my life. I have always found the concept of “relationships” weird. They consist of people who aren’t obligated to do anything nice for you, but they choose to do it. I’d like to thank the following people for inspiring me, for making me think, believe, trust, help, learn, create, contribute, give back and love.

Rabeena, Samira, Saloni, Imasha: Thank you for being my first family on campus. You 4 have supported me through every rejection, failure, and short-coming. You are home to me.

Whidden: On our last debrief, I wrote: “You will remember that feeling for the rest of your life, that you are in exactly the place you are meant to be. You wonder now if you will ever feel that way again.” I am not sure what happened between the first time we met to now, but I am glad that it did. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of support.

Anna: I don’t think I have words to explain how important you are to me. Thank you for continuously pushing me to be my best, and having unparalleled amount of faith in my abilities.

Katie: Thank you for showing me how to have fun, dream big, and love with all my heart. I feel safe knowing that I will always have someone to talk to when I come home.

Mubashira: Besides the fact that we are family, thank you for loving me through every phase of my life. I owe so much of who I am today to you.

Horizons: Thank you for showing me that it is okay to hurt, and be vulnerable. Black Eyed ABB’s: You 12 are nothing short of passionate, strong, and inspiring.

#ETBCafe: Thank you for being the reason my interest in pedagogy sparked. I will never forget this group.

Mr. Caramida, Mr. Carey, Mr. Tucci: Today, I do pedagogical research and I am reminded everyday of educators like you who continue to change the lives of students.

Sorit, Hira, Hirra: Thank you for accepting me for who I was, and giving me the space to be who I am.

Aquino: Thank you for challenging my ideas, and helping me break out of my shell. This world could use a few more Aquino’s.

Paul: Thank you for listening to me be angry about social norms. My heart always feels lighter after talking to you.

Maha: Thank you for sitting down with me the night before Horizons, and saying something that I keep with me everyday: “You can’t change people, you can only inspire them.”

Ive: I don’t think I have ever walked away from talking to you without feeling warm. You are compassionate, kind and important.

Sarah: I am so lucky to have you beside me as I learn more about myself. You have the power of making people feel at home. Thank you!

Meagan: In you, I found a sister. Thank you for sticking around!

My Family: Recently, I talked to 2 friends about my angsty teenager days and I couldn’t help but remember all the times I rebelled against you. Thank you for being the reason I am here today.

To those who have listened to me: Thank you. From you, I’ve learned that an ear with no response is better than nothing. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to turn my day around for the better.

This by no means is the full list of people that I want to thank, but it’s just a reminder that we need more give-and-take on ordinary days in ordinary ways.

Thank the people in your life.

Here is a song that I so dearly love:

I hope today treats you with love,

Mishaal Q

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