Recently, I’ve been feeling this feeling, where I want to throw up (No, I’m not pregnant) but nothing comes out. It’s like this permanent, imma’bout to throw up feeling. You know the one. You’ve all been through your 20s. It’s like every Sunday morning. But worse.
Because it just sits there. Like this impending doom. Like every horror story you’ve ever watched, where you’re all like, IDIOT! DON’T CHECK OUT THAT SOUND UPSTAIRS!! But you have to go upstairs because that’s where your bed is. And you get there, and you think, okay, okay, everything is fine. Then you wake up. And it’s still there. And you cry a little. Because, crying sometimes makes things better. But this time it doesn’t. And then you’re like…WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!
But it’s Thanksgiving. So you tuck that weird-won’t-go-away-feeling into the largest pair of jeans you own because you’re going need them anyway, and you drive “home” for Thanksgiving. And on that long drive through the rain that should be snow, perhaps toward a family you barley recognize anymore, you think, “thankful, thankful, I am thankful, I am thankful,” but maybe you struggle to finish that thought, that of what you have to be thankful for this year.
It might be hard at first, but I assure you, all that good stuff is still there. I found mine. And with some boxed wine, a fat cat and some old cheese, you can find yours too.
This year, and every year, I am thankful I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin known in history books for welcoming refugees from Laos. I am thankful I grew up with faces that didn’t look exactly like my own. I am thankful I met my first real gay friend, my first real Jewish friend, and my first real Muslim friend, just a few hours south of where I grew up, at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. I am thankful to have dated a Mormon, a Catholic, a Protestant, to have shared romantic feelings (wink,wink) with skins of all colors, bodies of all shapes. I am thankful I was able to travel this world, to expand my mind to thoughts of the previously unknown. I am thankful I am able to see different ways of life, even those I do not want for myself. I am thankful I am able to see people as human beings, not as the labels assigned to them by society. Not as this, or that, but as men and women, who are just like me, with different thoughts, different ways, different backgrounds, different ideas, but still, just like me, if you really break it down. I am thankful to be able to expand my horizons beyond those right in front of me. I am thankful I was given the right to be thankful for these things, and anything. And everything.
I am thankful.