Being Thankful in 2017
I think I can honestly say that 2017 was probably one of the worst years of my life.
YAY, what an uplifting opening!
Let’s examine the facts, though: Terrible breakup. My puppy died. Trump was “President.” My armpit psoriasis came back! My Grandma fell terribly ill. My life was moving backwards while everything else dragged me forward, unwillingly, and I was mostly powerless to stop misfortune from coming after me again and again!
So how can I be “Thankful” in 2017?
2017, as I have just said, kicked my ass. Yet, as it is November, thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and also, to the giving of thanks. My therapist told me at a recent session that she sometimes recommends patients try to do daily gratitude lists… BUT, she told me after, she wasn’t going to assign me to try it because it would stress me out just to try what with all the *gestures at my life on fire* going on right now. Hilarious. Even my therapist can’t imagine what I have to be grateful for at the present moment.
But it got me thinking, contrarian that I am (rebel, rebel). Maybe I could make a list of things I’m grateful for?
I’ll admit, I panicked and felt tears welling up in my eyes over my Thanksgiving meal when the notion of “going around the table and saying what we’re thankful for” was broached. Mainly because I don’t want to be a downer.I was terrified that I would accidentally preface a perfectly lovely “Thankful” statement with “WELL IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT MOST OF THIS YEAR MADE ME WANT TO OPEN AN ARTERY IN A BATHTUB, I’M REALLY THANKFUL FOR MY HEALTH HAH HAH.”
And I’ll be honest: this post is late. I mean, Thanksgiving was so last week. A “Good Blogger” would have this done & queued up, ready to post on Thanksgiving. Well, you know as well as I do, I haven’t exactly been a “Good Blogger” lately. I could be lazy and tell you that work has been like, sooo busy (it has!) but honestly, I’ve just been having trouble doing the one thing that has always come easiest to me and brought me more joy than anything else: putting things into words.
Yep, putting things into words. There’s been a lot of action, feelings, and fears swirling around me for the past almost two months now, but I just couldn’t parse it into words. I couldn’t sort it into stories, or pluck the adjectives out of the ether to make sense of it all. This, above all, has left me feeling damaged, inadequate, and kept me away from the keyboard. I haven’t tried to push, either. The tab that’s seen the most action this month is the BUBBLEZ game! Which I am, I suppose, thankful for, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
It isn’t like gratitude hasn’t been the ongoing theme of the month, oh no. November kicked off with perhaps the single greatest sacrifice and act of kindness of my adult life: when a family friend whom I consider a relative helped me move apartments. I’m still, actually, trying to “deal with” this. Just yesterday, I blubbered on the phone how much I “owe him one” for schlepping my furniture up and down all those flights of stairs. That was November 1st. I daresay, gratitude shaped the month.
I’ve been so thankful for friends who were only a text away when I needed to unload my darkest feelings, and friends who were at the ready when I wanted to do anything else besides talk about it. I am grateful that I had work to distract me and keep me afloat, and new projects to stretch me and keep my mind off of things. I am thankful for my family, who have been non-judgmental and helpful, not pushing, but present. I am thankful for all those things, but more importantly, for those people, who handled me with care and came to my rescue when I needed people who wouldn’t judge me, and just be my friend. Or, my therapist. Oh! I’m grateful for my therapist! Yay, Mental Health!
I also want to give myself a little gratitude, too. I couldn’t have seen this coming at the beginning of the month, but I’m grateful for my solitude. We all know that being alone is my worst fear in the WORLD HAH HAH YAY! But while the early parts of the month had me feeling at loose ends, as the month draws to its close, I realize that I have adjusted quite well to my new surroundings. I like watching the cat in the apartment across the way climb up onto the furniture at night. I like my ridiculous stack of warm, fluffy blankets. I enjoy organizing my books, clothes, and side table to my liking. And that whole “laundry in the building” thing? Oh, I don’t think I could ever go back to a laundromat, again!
I’m grateful for feeling gratitude. I’m grateful for FEELING, honestly. It’s been a rough balance, this year, between allowing myself to feel, and deliberately trying to numb myself to hold back all of the hurt. I think the one moment I’m most thankful for was when I arrived at the Thanksgiving Day parade. I’d always loved watching it as a child (it’s tradiiiiiiition) and decided, rather abruptly, that as I was single this year, I would take myself out to the parade. I didn’t have to wheedle or cajole a partner into doing it with me, it was all up to me. I did it on my own time (read: slept in and I was late) but when I turned the corner to my ultimate parade-viewing spot, it was like The Grinch. My heart grew three sizes, and I started to bubble up with giggles and sobs all at once. The invisible cloak of mourning I’d worn as my mantle for the past few months slipped away onto the sidewalk at 62nd between Broadway and Central Park West. I became myself again. I was happy. I was really happy, not just faking it for the ‘gram!
I’m grateful that my hurtèd little heart is capable of feeling joy, and open to love and gratitude. And I’m really thankful that I was finally able to put it all into words.