Mental Health · Relationships · Teenage Life

A Thanksgiving Reflection

Thursday

Hello world! I hope everybody is doing well today. I am currently sat on my couch a room away from all of my visiting family, sitting in silence as my 10-year-old cousin plays on his iPad, listening to Taylor Swift’s newest album (excellent, by the way). I spent the day watching the second Scooby Doo movie with my sister, watching season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy on my phone, and hoarding my family’s snacks in my room for myself. That’s my Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday. In fact, Thanksgiving has always been my least favorite holiday. For one, I have very little taste for traditional Thanksgiving foods. I’ve never had any dinner I actually enjoyed during Thanksgiving. I also have some VERY bitter thoughts about the holiday’s history, and how all of White America treats the whole idea. And lastly, but probably most importantly, I have no desire to spend an entire evening with my loud, homophobic, Trump-supporting extended family. While I try to keep politics far away when talking to my mom’s side of the family, we are completely different from each other in nearly every way. I have very little to talk to them about, and while my suffering is not even recognizable as such compared to many other people my age around Thanksgiving, it’s not exactly an environment conducive to grateful thinking.

But this year, I’ve been feeling more reflective about gratitude, family, and Thanksgiving. Earlier this school year, I nearly attempted suicide, which resulted in a week-long stint in the psych ward at a children’s hospital. That week was one of the hardest of my entire life, but also one of the most formative. I spent hours sitting in my room with the door open between group therapy sessions and meals, staring at the wall, or out of the window, thinking. I also spent much of my time filling out CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) workbooks, and the biggest thing that I learned is this: there is a lot to be grateful for in life. And the biggest gift is life itself. Sometimes it sucks. I have had front-row seats to life sucking big time. But the viewpoint I’ve decided to adopt is that even the tiniest moments of joy, the smallest bits of something good, make the whole experience of life worth it.

So I would like to start by being thankful that I am alive. I want to thank God, or the universe, or whatever is out there, because I did not end my own life, I did not kill myself. I am sitting here. I will have a future, and will laugh and be the reason somebody else laughs. I will marry, I will see what becomes of the world. I will write stories and books and give advice and make mistakes. And every last bit of it is a gift.

I am thankful for the humans of this planet. Humanity is not often something that I thank, because if I’m being honest there are more moments that I do not like humanity than moments that I do. But people are good. People want good things. People are alive, just like me, and I think that I can be grateful for that. Without humanity, I wouldn’t have my parents, and my sister, and my grandma, and my friends. Without my loud, homophobic, Trump-supporting extended family, my mom wouldn’t be the amazing and kind woman she is today. I don’t want them to be homophobic, and I don’t want to feel unsafe in my own home when they’re here for an evening. But I am grateful for their existence, because of even the smallest pieces of happiness they have brought to my life.

I am thankful for words. Without words, I would be a completely different person. I don’t even know if I would exist if I didn’t have words. I might just spontaneously combust, because words are my nectar, my life force. I am so, so, so grateful for words, the stories created with them, the way they feel on my tongue, the way they sound in my ears, the way they look on a page. They are infinitely powerful and indescribably beautiful.

As I go forward and grow up, I learn new lessons. It’s one of my favorite parts of life. I love thinking about the future, knowing that I will always change my point of view, and I will always have revelations about what it means to be human. It is vast and amazing and just really freaking awesome, much like the amount of things I have to be grateful for. So thank you, blog, for calming down my fears about tonight and providing me with a space to think through my thoughts and journal without feeling like there’s no one listening.

Thank you, God.

Thank you, Earth.

Thank you, Allie.

My life is better for all of you.

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