I've gotten a lot of criticism for not loving Thanksgiving. It's practically un-American not to like this holiday everyone else loves. It's not that I'm not thankful; I am. It's just that the whole dinner thing used to really stress me out.
So this post has two parts: my historical dislike of the holiday, and my list of thanks.
My dislike of Thanksgiving began in high school with fear of food, fear of fat, and dislike of darkness and cold. The family stress during the holidays is the dollop of whipped cream on top.
Pre-global warming, Thanksgiving was always cold, no matter what country we lived in. And it's dark so early this time of year. So you're not exercising as much, and your brain and body are craving light. And instead they turn to carbs.
If you're one of those people who is weight-obsessed, with a family that might or might not behave well together, it's a terrifying holiday.
Dinner comes and you're stuck at an enormous table. Where everyone is piling their plates as high as their noses. And they will look over and comment on what you're not eating. And you look around the table and all you can see are pools of butter and fat and sugar. In other words, calories. Gajillions of calories.
There's also lots of wine. But until you are an adult, you cannot access it. And so you do not have the escape that many adults use to take the edge off the ordeal. Oops. I mean meal.
So it turns out it's hard to eat six unbuttered string beans and two bites of turkey and pretend it's normal on Thanksgiving. And then there's all the pie. Oh, do I love pecan pie. Maude's mom used to make this chocolate pecan pie that was just like crack, or anyway, what I imagine crack to be like. One of the best pecan pies I've ever had.
So the pie. You can't not eat pie when it's right in front of you. Even if you tell yourself you're only going to eat three bites. Because everyone lingers at the table. And your pie just sits there, staring at you.
So eventually you eat, reluctant nibble by reluctant nibble, an entire yummy golden-brown baked piece of heaven. A whole piece of pie. Twitch, twitch. And the guilt almost kills you. Especially when, if you sit there long enough, you eat a second piece in the same manner. Including the crust. Because do you know how fattening crust is?
You tell yourself that everyone else is doing it. This is something normal human beings do. It should be fine. And then this reminds you that you are not a normal human being.
So then you sit there in a panic and silently calculate how much running you will have to do tomorrow. That is, unless by the time you wake up you are unable to fit in your running clothes.
I used to be able to tell you the calorie count of a piece of pie. Apple vs. pumpkin vs. pecan. If I recall correctly, pecan is the worst, fat and calorie-wise. Except for the eat a ton in case you die on the plane pre-travel sweet-eating, I still couldn't eat a great deal of pie without some guilt and calculation. But I could certainly have a piece or two.
So that's the fear of pie. It sounds so stupid when you write it down like that. Fear. Of a piece of pie.
And now a list things for which I am thankful.
I'm thankful to live in a country with immense physical comforts and amazing opportunities. I'm particularly thankful for that as a woman. I don't take these things for granted. We may have a very suspect regime in power at the moment, but I feel thankful for so many things about life here. It's easier and safer than in so many places.
I am thankful to have both my parents, and to have them at close range. I am thankful that Betty and I share enough interests and understanding to be best friends. I am thankful that my dad and I continue to progress in our ability to communicate.
I'm thankful to have really dear, close, loving friends. I've relied rather heavily on my friends this year, and they have been there for me without hesitation. Even the ones who live far, far away. I can't adequately express the extent to which I'm thankful for them.
I'm thankful to work somewhere that I love my boss and my close coworkers. I love The Quad. I love Tej and Marta. I'm not always riveted by what I'm doing day to day. But it's really important to me to like and respect the person I work for, and the people I work most closely with. And I am thankful to have that. And to have a job that pays my mortgage and then some.
I'm thankful that I'm in a better place than I was a year ago. It's taken a lot of help and a lot of work. And I'm thankful to be moving forward.
You know, while I'm on the topic, I should also be thankful to be in a place where I can and do eat pie. Of course it's larger than that. But truly, it takes a lot of work to get from having a completely unhealthy relationship to food and no ability to understand or appreciate your body to being able to eat fairly normally and liking yourself for who you are. Most of the time. I am definitely thankful for that.
And I'm thankful to have stumbled into blogging. It's been such a good outlet for me. In fact, it's been good in so many ways. I've met some really wonderful people. And I feel thankful that the people who read LG regularly, or anyway the ones who comment or email regularly - because they're the ones I feel like I know - are such funny, kind, supportive people. I'd be remiss if I overlooked you all in my thanks.
I wish you all happy, safe, healthy holidays with people you love. And especially if you head for the mall tomorrow, I wish you strength and patience. And maybe some Valium.
And if you do have pecan pie today, please have a bite for me. I love it so.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!