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Thank U, Next

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Ariana Grande dropped a new video yesterday and blew up the internet. Her lyrics were full of gratitude for the life lessons she received from her former beaus. It caused me to reflect on my own history. Thankfully, it wasn’t very vast. But since I was an influential Christian teen when the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was all the rage, I can say with conviction that I wish I had exactly zero exes to thank a la Ariana Grande style. But, like the mini-dress wearin’ pop star, I’m choosing instead to look back positively on my dating experiences. In other words, I’m so f*!@ing grateful for my ex(es).

Jamie, thank you for teaching me how to perfectly position a plastic bread clip on my finger that would allow me the ability to whip it across the room like a ninja. And thank you for helping me realize that Seventeen magazine may not be the best place to get kissing advice. My bad.

Tom, thanks for showing me the importance of not taking myself, or life in general, too seriously. Your smile was infectious and your optimism inspiring. Also, thanks for getting a hickey from another girl while we were dating which allowed me to pretty easily say “thank u, next”.

Jeff (the first one), thanks for your patience trying to teach me how to drive stick in your souped up Ford Mustang. For regularly driving said muscle car over an hour to visit me. And also, thanks for recognizing (long before me) that a 16-year-old girl had no business dating a 21-year-old man.

Mike, thanks for writing me letters weekly for years and for the hours of long-distance conversations. Thanks for moving cross country for me. And after you drove 2,000 miles so we could be together, thank you for forgiving me when I confessed that I’d fallen for someone else and our future was over.

Thank you to all of you for teaching me some important (and some not-so-important) life lessons that made me amazing. It seems Ari’s aspirations are actually my reality as I did “walk down the aisle holding hands with my mama”. And over 20 years later, I’m kinda thinking I’m “gon’ make that sh!t last”. Just admit it, girl, you totally wanna be me.

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