Thanksgiving has some pretty sketchy roots and there are many reasons why we should all protest it based on its past transgressions of genocide and such. But I am over it and would rather just turn a blind eye to that today and just focus on what consumer propaganda has tried to make it about: being thankful for what you have and those around you. This makes the holiday inherently insincere, but I just want to publically thank those people in my life who have sincerely made it better in the past year. There are many others who have contributed and I haven’t forgot, but for the sake of being semi-brief, I had to cut many out from my original list and have bundled some. These people have been more than just friends or relatives, they have been amazing, despite any temporary turmoil and differences. I love you all.
Laetitia – It is funny to think about meeting that night long ago when I was dressed as robot to where we are now. Who would have though? The world works in funny ways. From NYC to Paris (twice) and back. It has been a bit of an adventure, and there is much more to come. I will keep this one brief because some things are better left unspoken.
Josephine – There is so much to say here, though much has been said personally, so I won’t reiterate much. Thanks for being in my life. While things have changed between us, you are an incredible part of my life and make me strive to be the best person I can. Your qualities are unmatched and I look forward to seeing you put a strangle hold on life and forcing it to be exactly what you want it to be and nothing less.
Mom – I know things have been tough for you lately and you really wanted me around, but I am sorry I have been somewhat unavailable. As you know I have been going through my own issues and it has selfishly made me insensitive to yours. I have tried but I know I haven’t been there for you the way I had in the past. It’ll get back to that soon enough. Sometimes when I feel somewhat alone and lost, your consistent calls and random texts saying you love me help ground me and warm my soul. You are an amazing woman and each challenge you make it though is another validation of your strength and courage. You have always made me proud and are a huge part of the person I have become. Remember that always.
Dad – You have always been the unmoving rock. Stable and unwavering. But even rocks are susceptible to weather and erosion. Just as water can get into the cracks and weaken, life can do the same. I know this year has been tough for you and sometimes it is hard to stay as strong as you would wish, but you have been doing great, dad. You have tried to take on everything single-handedly and have done a pretty good job, but (as I have said before), we are all here for you, even if only for moral support. Times like these are what really showcase your character, and you are beaming. Thanks for everything, Baba.
Cathey – We may not speak so much these days but I am proud of what you have done and who you are still becoming. We used to fight pretty bad as kids, so I am glad that we became much closer later on. You are a lovely older sister. I would also like to thank you for being a great mom to Jasmine, she is the best niece I could have hoped for. Also, shout out to Mike for being a great compliment to your life. He is hilarious and a good influence.
Parvaneh – Isn’t it funny to think back to when we both sharing a room in that trailer in the middle of the woods or learning how to turn the water back on illegally and imagine where either of us would end up. I don’t think I would have seen us where we are, respectively. It has been a bumpy ride, but we have made it to our separate destinations relatively unscathed. Thanks for giving me Eman, The Worm, and Jah as 3 beautiful nephews and for hanging in there when all seemed lost.
Tanty + Danta – While blood may not bond us, I see you both as sisters and appreciate your role in my life. Even if we don’t see each other often, you are both incredible women and I have enjoyed watching you both become independent. Tanty, you make me prouder every day. Danta, thanks for your constant positivity.
Albert – I don’t even know where to start. You are beyond selfless and have gone so far above and beyond for me for no reason, that I will be forever appreciative. When we were kids, I would always wait in anticipation for you to come visit, speaking like a New Yorker months after your departure. Even though time had passed where we didn’t talk much, you took me in when I moved to NYC and have been incredible since. Your generosity is unmatched and borderline doesn’t make sense. It has made me a better person by association. Thanks you, Albert. We may be biologically cousins, but we are actually brothers.
Budi – First off, please come back from Indonesia and visit. I miss you, as do many others. While I haven’t actually seen you this year, I still appreciate what you have done for me in the past and while I may miss your IMs often, I really do appreciate those constant attempts. Oh, and sorry for accidently FaceTiming you in the middle of that conference, but your face was priceless trying to turn it off as I was obliviously saying “Where are you?” when I am sure everyone heard.
Asmite – It has been funny watching each other’s struggles this year, huh? Haha. I won’t get into the specifics here, but thanks for keeping me in check when I needed that. Someone needed to be blunt with me, because I can be irrational at times. Thanks for being my soundboard to throw any nonsense at and not being too harsh. You are hilarious, even if you think people are just humoring you sometimes. Thanks for lightening the mood all those times I really needed it.
Elliott – It is funny how you suddenly became one of my best friends. Who would have ever seen that one coming?! Haha. We are so opposite, yet exactly the same. Thanks for investing as much time as you have into listening to me and calling me out on being wack when I continuously refused to do so myself. I am glad I was able to help mellow you out in manic moments, as well. Sometimes that helped distract me in a good way (sorry if that makes my efforts seem less sincere or genuine). You have been great and it won’t be soon forgotten.
Jeremy – Thanks for having faith in me and always having my back.
Camille – Thanks for never turning your back on me despite some turbulence we may have had. I know that our friendship may seem lopsided sometimes, but my distance isn’t a reflection on you, I appreciate your efforts and thank you for being there.
Dave + Nicole; Dan + Aliyah; Greg + Cari; Randy + Meghan – My favorite couples <3. It has been amazing seeing the longevity of most of your relationships, with Dave/Nicole’s & Randy/Meghan’s originating since I was a kid. I could probably list you each individually, not just as couples but as individuals, so don’t be insulted that I bundled you all. You are all amazing people that I am honored to call friends. You have all done and are doing some incredible things. Special shout out to Belle too...and all your cats, haha. From Kleman Plaza to this? It’s been an interesting one to say the least.
Christina – Thanks for reminding me that some connections transcend specific conditions or geographic boundaries or even regular communication.
Frank Mare – Thanks for looking out for me and being a good friend, Frank. I want you to know I appreciate you.
Leo Gutman – I know I rag on you all the time, but thanks for being you and holding it down. You keep it real, doggie, and I back that.
Rick Sulz – You have always backed me for some reason and have put a lot of trust into me and hooked me up a lot over the years. Thanks a lot, buddy; It hasn’t been forgotten.
Bumgarner, Angel, Vincent, Tim, Jerry, Hadrien, Jon – You guys have been incredible and I appreciate your support regardless of the state of Naysayer. I back all of your skating 100% and will regardless of you skating for Naysayer or not. Thanks for what you have done for the brand.
Eugene Kang – You have always been my biggest supporter with Naysayer and gave me honest feedback always. Thanks so much for that. You are the best, Eugene.
Amy Gunther – Thanks so much for always looking after me, not just with Naysayer stuff, but also just as a local and friend. I’ll always back you and KCDC.
Orly – Dude, it’s been like 15 years since I first went into Phaze One and got that device that changed my life. Thanks for putting up with me lurking so much as a kid and giving me a job and trusting me with the shop when you went away to Spain and for being a great friend always.
Leo Valls – Even though we don’t get to see each other often, you are a good friend and I appreciate all the time we do get to hang, regardless if it is in Bordeaux, Paris, San Francisco, or NYC.
Mike Tuten – Nickel Butt! You have always been consistent with me and I appreciate that. Be it painting together, you tattooing me, talking, or watching gnarly movies like Holy Mountain, you kill it in life, Mike.
Broderick – Dude, hit me up when you come to NYC next time. We are friends, remember? Haha.
Melanie – Aw, Melanie! Things have changed a lot since we used to be the only two at the skatepark at 7am in Tallahassee to now. From you visiting me up here like 7 or 8 years ago, to me vising you in San Diego, to you moving to PA and getting married, to now…you are moving across the country again?! Visit me again before, please!
Tarela – Thanks for almost always being down to come out and film. It is refreshing to have someone motivated, even if sometimes I get a little stressed and am not the nicest dude, haha. I appreciate it, sincerely.
Allen Ying – Allen, it has been an honor to watch all the dedication you have put into everything you do. From keeping 43 alive, to taking photos, to even buying food. It is a noble quality that is rare these days. Thanks for making me a part of 43, regardless of my distance and unavailability sometimes.
Ben Kilpatrick – I miss you, buddy. You are one my favorite photographers and people. I know we have butted heads in the past, but I back you completely.
Darnell Scott, Chris Martin, Marco Hernandez – Thanks for spending the time to shoot photos of me dudes. You back my skating and it means a lot to me. It has been a pleasure watching you all develop your own photo styles.
Colin, DJ, TJ, Igor – Thanks for spending the time you have to film me, dudes. I know sometimes it might take me a minute to land my dumb tricks, but it usually works out eventually, so thanks for the patience.
Jessica – You inspire me. Not only in my yoga practice and application to life, but in generosity and positivity. You have looked out for me and my practice so much, through so much time. I appreciate you for that, Jess.
Dro – I don’t know how sustainable my renewed hype for bboying would have been without you. Thanks for the stoke and helping to push me back to where I was. I’m not there, but working on it…