145/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Did you have a high school crush? Did you tell them about it? Are you still in touch with them? Well, I can say yes to two of those three questions – not the middle one but she’ll know after this post – so I guess I can say yes to all three of them I suppose 🙂 Overweight, geeky, awkward, lacking every social skill teenager boy goes to the first day of Photography 11 class with Mr Zad. In walks Jassy. The proverbial 80s girl with feathered hair, denim jacket, and the most amazing perfume wafts by as she heads to find her desk. Utterly stunning, she oozes confidence mixed with tough girl ‘tude – I’m enthralled. Dare I look up? No. I don’t have the courage to say anything to her in class and I know that I haven’t even registered on her radar. Get a job at the local McDonald’s and who is working there?? Jassy. The girl who could make that polyster monstrosity of a uniform look like something off of a Milan runway. Jassy the hostess. She didn’t have a lowly job like me as cashier – she was the girl who walked the lobby and did birthday parties. Plus, she was nice to me – genuinely nice to me. I was in shock. Beauty acknowledging Beast. Hellos were exchanged in the halls and pleasantries in class. What was going on? Beast bewildered. She even invited me to hang with her and her crew at lunch – I didn’t as it was the “smoke pit” and well, that was just the epitome of the uber-cool zone that I knew that I didn’t belong in. However, I succumbed at work and ended up at a few of the McDonald’s social gatherings with Jassy and other co-workers. For the first time in my teenage life, I was actually a part of the teenage life – the life I longed for!! The life that was so foreign to me and alluded me until I became friends with Jassy. I tried some of the typical teen things – they shall all remain nameless right now to protect the innocent, namely me!! 😉 I ended up becoming a host at McD’s and started to shed the weight towards the latter part of grade 12 and Jassy even complimented me on how I had changed. I was beside myself. Of course, as is inevitable, teenagers move on with their lives and I lost touch with Jassy until my sister reunited us about a decade ago. She went through her personal trials and tribulations around health (cancer conquerer) and I was awed by her positive attitude about life. We compared notes about respective lives, children, and careers and reminisced about McDs. We have stayed in touch over the years and in fact are meeting a few friends for drinks tonight. I told Jassy that today’s gratitude post was about her and she remarked that this was an awesome birthday present for her as tomorrow is her birthday!! Wow, these gratitude posts do things like this which I have come to notice – the power of gratitude! Thank you so much Jassy for giving me my teenage years and allowing me to fit in, never judging me by my appearance and just being a wonderful friend. I shed a tear as I write this as you were probably the only teenager during my teenage years who truly got past the exterior and saw the interior. This Beast has metamorphosed and honours the Beauty who allowed him to see that he was more than his outer shell. In your honour, happy bday martini on me tonight! Thank you so much for being you and allowing me to become me!