What I’m REALLY Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your day was full of family, fun, laughter, and giving thanks. As you can imagine, I want to post what I’m thankful for. Weirdly enough, I don’t think I posted a Thanksgiving post last year. Either way, today at dinner we each shared what we were thankful for and I listened and considered carefully. Everyone said they were thankful to have me home, thankful for family, friends, etc. People on Facebook are saying they’re thankful for friends and family as well and I don’t want to say my bullshit detectors were going off, but in a way they were. It wasn’t bullshit, it was a new reading: “What else?” I think we’ve all been told what is and isn’t acceptable to be thankful for or what we should be thankful for and blah blah. I don’t think people are really lying about what they’re thankful for, but they don’t share everything for any number of reasons. I want to share some more of what I’m thankful for and I want to be as honest as possible, which means this list probably won’t look like the traditional list of things people are thankful for (though there will be some of that stuff).  It’s important to be thankful, but I think it’s equally important to be honest, especially about giving thanks.

First of all, I’m not really grateful to be living. Of course I’m glad I’m alive and healthy, but I definitely don’t treasure that so I wouldn’t say I’m grateful for my life. I’ve kinda gotten used to being alive and just doing my thing so it doesn’t feel like anything special to be alive unless I really start to think about it. All of history has led to my life, and your life, and every other life, but I never consider that. The amount of precision in maintaining life is astronomical, but it exists in such vast quantities around me it doesn’t seem so astronomical. Again, I’m glad about being a life and moderately satisfied with my life, but hesitate to apply the word grateful to it.

What I am thankful for is maybe a lot more shallow. I think being grateful for something means you put it on some pedestal. We can have a lot of pedestals too by the way. I’m very grateful for Buffy. It’s my all time favorite show and I devote a lot of my time to talking about it and watching it and relating things to it and so on. It’s a show I see a lot of myself in and am very passionate about. I feel for many of the characters as if they were real people and love them more than I love some actual people. Whether that’s wrong or twisted is open for debate, but it’s pretty real for a lot of us I think. I’m so grateful for different episodes of the show. I’m thankful for Anya and her ability to make me bust a gut laughing or break into tears. I’m thankful that Willow feels like my best friend; she’s sweet and reliable and adorable and I just have a deep love for her. I’m thankful for Buffy for being able to make me laugh, cry, and show me it’s okay to be messed up. We all have our struggles and responsibilities and we’re not alone even if we think we are, and that’s okay. I’m thankful for Angel devoting his life to doing good and doing the right thing and being endlessly devoted to the love of his life: Buffy. I’m thankful to Cordy for never ceasing to make me laugh and still managing to comfort me. She is always there to provide exactly what I need, just like a mother. The amount of love I have for each of them is astounding, but I’m grateful for their presence in my life even if they’re fake. They’ve provided me so much joy and wisdom and sadness.

I’m extremely thankful to Carrie Underwood and her music. I think we all have things we can’t tell other people about and music has a unique power to connect to us. More than any other I connect to Carrie’s music. Through the death of loved ones and days of depression or conversation starters or giving me a beautiful song to sing along to, Carrie has been there for me. Of course not literally, but her music is a place I can go to find solace, express myself, reflect on my situation, and just listen and melt away into a beautiful song. I’m thankful to “Starts With Goodbye” for helping me through the death of my grandfather who I barely knew, but it still tore me up somehow. I’m thankful for “See You Again” for giving me faith enough to say goodbye and know I would see my friends again whenever I left them. I’m thankful to “Good in Goodbye,” for telling me saying goodbye isn’t the end of my life and there is good in it. Thank you to “Something In the Water” for expressing such a reverence to God and acknowledging that power, even when I myself find myself struggle to acknowledge him or flat out refuse to. Thank you to “Little Toy Guns,” for giving me some place to turn after events of this summer involving my parents where I was caught in the middle. And finally for Carrie, I’m grateful for Storyteller and many of its songs for giving me something to look forward to and a collection of beautiful songs for many applications. Most important of these songs to me is “The Girl You Think I Am,” a love song to a father. But it goes beyond simply a love song to the father. I’ll explain more in the next section after you listen to the song.

This song is almost directly linked to my thankfulness for my parents. I didn’t really realize how much they were there for me until they weren’t there; it’s kind of like air. You don’t know it’s there until it isn’t. Going to college has made me realize how much I long to see my mom and dad and how much I value talking to them. Seeing and talking to them every day is an easy recipe for undervaluing them and it can quickly fog the lenses of what they do for me. It’s not even the stuff like doing my laundry and cooking me food that I miss. It’s just the being a parent and always having someone there. When I listen to that song it’s mainly the chorus that gets to me. “You think I’m strong, you think I’m fearless even when I’m at my weakest. You always see the best in me when I can’t, so I wanna be the girl you think I am… You think I’m brave, you think I’m beautiful, you think that I can do the impossible… You believe in me, you’re my biggest fan, so I wanna be the girl you think I am.” Now I’m not a girl of course, but this is still a song that can apply to any child and any parent. Now that I’m away and only ever get to talk to my parents on occasion, I can step back and see there actions from a different light. A conversation I had with my mom several weeks ago just clued me into what was happening without me and now that I’m back in Colorado for a few days there’s this sense of displacement. My empty room exactly as I left it, my desk in the loft filled by my brother, the dirty bathrooms, the full pantry and fridge, it’s almost the same but is missing something. When my dad told me we’d be having two Thanksgivings my heart just dropped out of my body. I know my parents have their differences but we usually have Thanksgiving together. To hear my dad casually say that he’d buy a ham for my coming home and cook things for me and to hear he was happy to see me just felt like a competition. I don’t doubt that my parents love me (and for that I’m extremely grateful), but to know that they can’t find that common ground is heart-wrenching. Am I going to have two Christmases too? I don’t want two. I’m not a prize that my parents can win. They don’t have to compete for me and they don’t have to buy me things. When they say they’re sending me money I’m really thankful, but I can’t ever shake that feeling that they’re buying me since I get money from both of them separately. Regardless, I want both my parents to know how much I appreciate them and love them each. No amount of mistakes or money will make me care for one over another.

Sorry about that. I had to be honest. The last thing I’m grateful for are a select few friends. I won’t call them out by name and this part won’t be that long, but there are a certain few friends in my life who I’m extremely thankful for and they’ll be receiving some form of message from me saying so. Every person I’ve ever met has had some impact on my life and that’s a cause for thankfulness, but others have had so much impact I have to let them know semi-personally.

That’s all I’m really grateful for right now. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and thank you for taking some time to read about what I’m grateful for. Let the Christmas music officially begin.

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