Thanks Everyone

Oh, gee.  Thanksgiving.

 

Thanksgiving is a made-up holiday for Americans who want to overeat.  So we don’t feel bad about stuffing our faces while bad things are going on for those less fortunate than ourselves, we look outside ourselves to the world and say thanks.

 

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While I don’t believe in ignoring the bad things in the world–I, for once, say nay to the bitter Thanksgiving Grinches out there.  Thanksgiving isn’t about stuffing our faces, and it’s not about Pilgrims and Native Americans.  At least, that’s not what Thanksgiving is about anymore.

 

Thanksgiving is about two things: family and saying grace.  This, I’m sure, we can all agree on.  And, to make things more perfect, Thanksgiving is a holiday of American invention.  For some reason, our little country decided that there would be one day a year everyone should join with their loved ones, eat food, and be thankful.  Not only does this concept make me feel more prideful about America, but it makes me feel more confident in the world–and in all the people around me.

 

My mom was very into saying thank you.  I mean, she herself didn’t do much of it aloud… but when you live with someone for so long, you begin to learn their secrets no matter if they admit them to you or keep them buried.  I happen to know that each morning my mother made a habit of listing ten things she was grateful for.  At the end of the list, she would sigh and close her journal, take a sip of her coffee, and pick up Bill’s book.  

 

My mom wasn’t grateful by nature, and she knew it.  So, like any good parent, she taught me to be better than that.  If I had a dime for every time I said thank you as a child, you, rest assured, would have no dimes at all.  But as I grew older, and moved farther from my mother, and moved farther from my past, I began to suffer from the pride that accompanies adulthood.

 

You see, I’m learning very quickly that in the land of adulthood–in the land where the world expects you to make it on your own–saying thank you is the social equivalent of admitting you couldn’t have done this without help.  Saying thank you means you need something you can’t get.  And this all means that saying thank you means incompetency.  We won’t say thank you if no one around us is doing it.  If the guy at the check-out counter is a little too slow, if your mother says I love you, if you say goodbye to an old friend before a college break.  

 

If you stop saying thank you, how will you remember you’re grateful in the first place?

 

It’s not technically Thanksgiving yet.  Not for me, while composing this post.  But I’d like to start my list now anyways.  The things we’re really thankful for, after all, are not so fleeting that they might change overnight.

 

Things for which I am Super Thankful:

1. My family and friends

2. My faith and hopes and dreams about the world

3. That I can make people smile

4. My ability to be grateful.

On Blogging in General

The other night, a friend of mine identified my blog posts as confessional.  A few weeks ago, my roommate asked me if I write confessional poetry.  And I’m thinking about the concept of confession.

I think most writers–at least most writers who write–eventually come across the question of why they themselves have chosen to write.  Why writing?  Why writing what you’ve written?  What made you choose this field?  What made you choose these words?

I won’t say writing was my first and only choice.  At first I wanted to be a veterinarian.  

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That soon passed when I realized as a veterinarian, my job would not be petting dogs and playing fetch and cuddling. (Please see the above picture which represents my young, innocent, beautiful ideas of the world.)

Though I’ve thought about it a lot, I can’t quite say why I write–not exactly, or not clearly.  I could start the list here and not finish until I run out of blog space.  But, I suppose, in the simplest ways, I can describe my most common impulses.  I write fiction because I want to escape.  I write poetry because I feel no escape.  I write non-fiction because I’m repeatedly, relentlessly confronted with reality.  

Following these thoughts, I guess when I started blogging I was turning in on myself–folding in on myself.  I was trying to peer into the corners I’ve never visited, to visit the thoughts I’d abandoned and beg them for forgiveness.  I was trying to connect the pieces of myself, the good and the bad–become cohesive.  And I was so much folding in on myself, that I decided to commit to unfolding myself.  When blogging, I’m swimming away from the shores of my thoughts, past the waves of my doubts and most personal hopes, and happily finding the ocean of the world.