“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Everyone wants to be seen and accepted. I had gone through life feeling either overlooked and invisible or misunderstood and rejected.

Setbacks in childhood left me feeling inadequate in adulthood. I battled crippling social anxiety and faced the realities of prejudice as the only Black girl on a predominantly white swim team for a decade. I felt like an outsider.

Navigating adulthood as an outsider was lonely but a few genuine people changed things for me. I don’t know the recipe of a good friend, but I can describe the feeling of meeting someone who listens and understands without judging. I know what it’s like to have roommates who give me space to be myself in the safety of our home. I felt a comforting stillness when friends mobilized to support me when I lost my grandfather. And I’m humbled to have friends choose to stay when I’m at my worst.

Everyone deserves to know what acceptance feels like. I want to help people around me recognize their significance. I want to be intentional with the opportunities I have to show someone they are seen and heard. Because it only takes feeling seen by one person to change someone’s life.

— Arielle Anderson