My mother’s introduction:
The beautiful young woman graduating this June, has a very special place in my heart. Not only is she my daughter but my best friend. I am amazed beyond words at the wonderful person she is growing into. Life has not come easy for this young woman. She has struggled to survive since the day she was born and she has beaten and over come any challenge thrown her way to this day. She is courageous, she is intelligent, she is compassionate, she is Briahna Kaelyn DeAnda ……
It’s okay to have one, two, or even no friends.
Society tells us the opposite. Our culture says you should be popular, have lots of friends. We are told that only the outcasts and lame people don’t have friends. About this time last year, I finally realized that society has lied to us.
When I was in elementary school, I never had more than two friends. Most of the time I had no friends. I kept to myself, read my books, thought about cats. I was oblivious to the fact that everyone else had friend groups of four or more.
In sixth grade, here at Ann Richards, I met other people like me. I had an actual group of friends for the first time ever and I wasn’t going to give them up.
But, of course, by the beginning of high school, the group had split and I found myself with just two friends. But I knew we would always be friends, because I was going to keep us together. Whenever the other two had an argument or misunderstanding, I did my best to help them make up. I tried to never say anything that could make them mad. It was very hard to be constantly walking on eggshells. It was upsetting to see the other two always hang out without me when I put so much energy in our trio. I would go home to my parents and tell them what was going on, and they would say that I shouldn’t be friends with them. They told me that’s not what friendships are supposed to be. I always resisted, said it was okay, it’s how teens are nowadays. In reality, I was just afraid to be alone again, like I was in elementary school.
Last January, I was finally just sick and tired of always trying so hard to be friends with people who didn’t even share the same values as me, of being ignored, of being around so much negativity. So I told them we can’t be friends anymore. And they didn’t try to tell me otherwise.
After that, I kept to myself. I read books. I thought about my cats. The one thing that I was terrified of happening had happened. I was right back to where I was in elementary school. And you know what? I was happy. I am happy. For the first time in years I’ve been able to be myself without worrying about what my friends will think. I’m actually talking to more people at school now. I’m building truer and better friendships now than I ever have before.
I’m not saying that we would all be happier if we didn’t have friends. There are days that are harder and lonelier than others. What I want you to take away from this speech is that sometimes you need to separate yourself from certain people so you can be your best, and that’s okay. Sometimes you lose friends, and that’s okay. Eventually you will find yourself surrounded with the most wonderful people. It’s just a matter of time.