When I was in high school, I knew a girl named Amanda. Amanda was really sweet. On my birthday during my sophomore year, she surprised me in study hall with cupcakes that she had baked for me. Before that, I don’t think any friend I had ever had had ever baked for me, and the gesture obviously made a big impression.
I remember one Saturday night during my sophomore year, I went over to Amanda's house. She had a den and I remember that we sat there, listened to music and talked. The only song I remember listening to that night with her was Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You.” I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but it was a wide-ranging conversation. I do remember that we ordered Chinese food and, unfortunately, it got me sick.
A few years later, when I was a senior and about to graduate, I asked Amanda to sign my yearbook. This is a tradition that we have in the U.S.: getting your friends to sign your senior yearbook. The unwritten rule of this tradition is that you, as the signee, must write a sincere message. I remember exactly what Amanda wrote. Apparently, during that wide-ranging conversation we had had that night, I had told Amanda that I liked being creative not only in one way but in many ways, and I never wanted to limit myself when it came to my creativity. Amanda remembered my saying that, and in her message to me wrote that she will always remember that night in her parents' den and how I said I never wanted to limit myself creatively. But the best was how she ended her message. With an imperative: “Don’t ever limit yourself, Chad.”