Well… Thanks

63919875Today’s post is to address the fact that being thankful is not like a switch that is flipped from off to on, and that holidays may be difficult for some of us. Thankfully, that’s not the case here, but things used to be different. For much of my life I was simply miserable. A big part of the problem is that I was thankless. The lens through which I viewed my life was one of what I didn’t have, couldn’t have, wouldn’t have. If something good happened, it was not enough, or not just right, or whatever it took to whip up misery and anger.

Now if you knew me at that time, you might not have been aware of this, but if you knew me well – well then, you know what I’m talking about. In any case, I was always seeing things with my nose pressed up against some glass that seemed to separate me from everything I wanted. Most of the time I was sure that I had (warningbad theology alert) done something that caused God to give me the short shrift. Seriously. Thanks for nothing could have been my personal motto.

Zee54ccdaf6b0732fbe17a81c8f4dc8b8Today, I am grateful to be able to say that I am – well, grateful. It takes very little for me to conjure up gratitude, and I do not say that lightly. It is grace and gift to be sure, I try not to take it for granted. Having said all that, that earlier version of me remains, lurking around the dark underbelly of my psyche, and will pop out unexpectedly like a furious jack-in-the-box. Boy, do I hate when that happens.

Attitude+of+GratitudeThe reason for this is that we are awash in reminders of gratitude and thankfulness at Thanksgiving. This year I noticed more than a few articles stating the benefits of gratitude, as if it were a product to be sold. “Be grateful, science says it’s good for you!” I’m a little sad that gratitude has to be packaged and sold, as if it were a health supplement available at a drugstore in order for people to get with it. Part of me wants to say (warning – bad language alert), “for f*cks sake, drop that gratitude bulls*t!!” Sorry, but that is the truth. The point of all this being – not everyone can jump into that whole be thankful all the time attitude of gratitude thing on demand. 

I’m grateful (really) to not lose track of where I came from, because the image of my old self in a distant mirror does help me to stay on track *most* of the time. More importantly, I hope that the memory of those feelings help me to help others who may feel like saying, “Well… thanks for nothing.”

anigif_enhanced-buzz-15524-1388446005-2So on this day where gratitude takes on a bigger meaning, I am also very aware that not everyone feels the same. I am also aware that the holidays are often difficult for people, stemming from their own feelings, or perhaps challenging family dynamics, not to mention loss and sadness, depression or other illness. From me to whomever may read this, if you are in some not-great circumstances, I am sorry and send my prayers and good wishes your way.

In the end, who knows what makes us thankful. Yes, I personally believe in the fake-it-til-you-make it practice, whereby you act like you are grateful even when you are not. Although I scoffed for years, one day that did start to turn the tide for me, but I hardly think one size fits all, so who knows. It seems that when I look back, it was a long, slow, almost seemingly motionless trip to a different place in life. One that took so long, I had not realized I had journeyed anywhere until long after I had arrived.

I’ll close this post with the video of Alanis Morrissette singing “Thank U.” This song came out in 1998 and it did make me stop and think about some truly crappy things that were part of what turned my life around, including the endless doses of antibiotics that she sings about. That’s another story for another day, but I’ll simply say, “thank you perpetual sinus infections.” (Another warning, this post is full of them, she is kind of naked looking, but you never really see anything. OK, carry on.)

May this day be whatever you need it to be. If you can scrounge up some thanks, hey – go for it. If not, I hope that something works for you and helps you get through what you endure. Whether thank you for everything, or thank you for nothing, I send everyone who reads this all of my best wishes and my prayers – and my gratitude.

Thank U – Alanis Morrissette

How bout getting off of these antibiotics
How bout stopping eating when I’m full up
How bout them transparent dangling carrots
How bout that ever elusive “could have”

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How bout me not blaming you for everything
How bout me enjoying the moment for once
How bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
How bout grieving it all one at a time

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

The moment I let go of it
Was the moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it
Was the moment I touched down

How bout no longer being masochistic
How bout remembering your divinity
How bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How bout not equating death with stopping

Thank you India
Thank you Providence,
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you thank you silence…


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