Thanksgiving is a bullshit holiday. Yes, some people love it with its tasty food and seeing family members and thin veneer of respectability, but there’s so much about it to hate (especially if you come from a long tradition of disastrous celebrations like I do). Perhaps its worst offense is how it whitewashes history and silences Native Americans, forcing them to endure year after year the event that more or less kicked off the genocide of their people and four centuries of violence, oppression, and prejudice. Then we have the audacity to dress our kids up in caricatures of them and make them play nice with Pilgrims. It’s pretty fucked up.
That being said, I can respect the secularized, non-historical meaning behind the holiday: gathering with loved ones and remembering all you have to be grateful for (and eating a fuckton). I think that’s admirable, especially as the very next day kickstarts a shitstorm of consumerism that will leave people trampled, bloody, and occasionally traumatized.
But I want to put aside the cynicism for a moment and simply be thankful. I want to acknowledge a few people and events that have improved my year and my life. This is not a comprehensive list, and it’s not meant to offend or alienate anyone. This is simply what I’m grateful for in 2015.
- My girlfriend. I have a lovely girlfriend. Her name is Sam. She is sweet, kind, and unfailingly supportive of me, even when I need to spend the evening ranting or glaring at my computer. Sometimes she’s too sweet, but we’re working on that. She always tries to help me, and she has stuck by me this year even when I was dealing with being sued, with money troubles, with anxieties, and with personal recriminations. I drive home looking forward to seeing her, and I am more comfortable next to her than anywhere else. I am so glad she’s in my life.
- You, my readers. It floors me that people want to read, share, and comment on my blog every day, and I am beyond thrilled at the slow but noticeable uptick in viewers. No, I don’t always care for the people who hop on here, but I’m still grateful that they’re willing to read my work. It’s so motivating to see that people want to read my work.
- My fellow contributor and friend, Drew Laurens. It means a great deal to me that a friend I admire and respect so much would not only read my blog but want to be on it. As I’m sure you know if you’ve read his first two pieces on Sport in American Culture here and here, he is an incredibly talented writer and intelligent, passionate individual. I am beyond excited to have him here, and I am grateful that he would want to be here. It makes me want to try harder.
- Being able to work with kids. I have never been a fan of kids (They’re loud, sticky, and impossible to reason with.), and I thought after my teaching experience in Ukraine that I would never want to work with them again. However, getting to do comics workshop, summer programs, and story times with them over the past couple years have been the most rewarding parts of my job. I love getting to walk into a classroom and have twenty kids yell, “Miss Cindy! Yaaaaay!” before swarming my legs in a hug. I love getting thank you letters from kids I’ve seen twice because they’ve never been properly encouraged before. I love having kids pull their parents over to meet me because the program we did last week was “so cool.” I love feeling like I’m making a difference and improving these kids’ lives, and even when I’m cranky or tired or pissed about the world, they always make me feel better.
- My wide, weird, awesome support network. There are a surprising amount of people in this group, including my sister Jenny, my girlfriend’s family, these awesome girls from my all-women Ladies’ Night Book Club, my fellow NaNoWriMoes, all of my Facebook friends, random people here and on Twitter, and my friend Lauren, who apparently reads almost every post and thinks I’m a Goddamn genius. It’s so helpful to be able to vent on Facebook and have five people like the status or give me some advice or a virtual hug. It’s great to be able to talk to my sister about relationship troubles. It’s wonderful to have a group of women I can text and squeal at and reveal my deepest, darkest fandom secrets to. When I was a kid, I never would have thought I’d ever have so many people who cared about and supported me. It’s pretty much a dream come true. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Now let’s fucking eat pie.