Thursday, November 22, 2018
Together together, and thankful
I'm lucky I began blogging when I did.
I started out heartbroken, single, depressed (clinically, as it turns out), and in need of a tremendous amount of support. Way more than my friends could provide.
And I processed things on the blog that I was working out in therapy. Or I told funny, weird stories, and got insight and support from you.
If you've been with me for a while, you know all these things.
I felt very isolated, no matter how many people were around. Because I believed they were all happy and fine.
And I was not.
Putting my struggles and my fears into the world on this blog and hearing that they resonated with others was incredibly powerful.
I wasn't alone. And I wasn't aberrant.
I blog less and less now because life takes over and because I lack a community of bloggers. DC had a great blogging community when I started.
Last month I celebrated my 12-year blogaversary without notice.
Nick and I were both away for work last week, when we would've gone to the Tabard Inn, if we could manage, and cheersed 11 years of meeting. I didn't even post about it.
As I said, life takes over.
This morning Nick realized that last week was our anniversary. He said, "Last week, 11 years ago, we met. And then you went to Mexico with Jen for Thanksgiving."
I said, "Best Thanksgiving of my entire life."
He rolled his eyes.
Maybe not best, but most fun. No family dynamics (as this was back when my nuclear family was still intact), no cooking, lots of sunshine. We read books and swam and drank cocktails. We showed up at Thanksgiving dinner on the resort.
And then, if I'm not mistaken, we resumed our cocktail consumption and then went to bed with our books.
I don't wish away my family, but I would say that since my children developed the ability to say, "No!" I have not had a conflict-free day. I've not had a single day at home where I didn't have to convince at least one person do to something.
That something ranges from eating breakfast to brushing teeth to settling down for bed.
I am not saying there aren't upsides to children--of course they are charming and delightful and hilarious and full of joy and wonder--but let's be honest: they are also relentless and exhausting.
For years I hated Thanksgiving, not because I am opposed to gratefulness, but because I was already well into my slide into winter depression.
I was already eating every sweet I could get my hands on. My clothes were tight. I cried a lot.
And then there was Thanksgiving, with the forced gratefulness and its endless piles of carbs and sweets, and the darkness of night at 5:00 pm.
Now I have medication, and distance, and perspective. I try regularly to think of things for which I am grateful. I ask my children at dinner.
Because apparently just the act of searching your brain for gratefulness changes your chemistry for the good.
I have to make a pie this morning. I've never made pie.
Maude says to use vodka instead of part of the water, to make the crust flaky. In fact, she sent me her mama's cousin Gail's recipe for chocolate pecan pie.
Betty is going to help with the crust. Crust intimidates me.
Vodka will likely help with this.
I have many, many things to be grateful for in this life. And I'm in a place where I can recognize the ways in which I have been blessed.
And I'm in a place to give.
I think for so many years I just needed so much. My ability to give was limited because I was so emotionally limited.
Years ago, when Maude and I were in California, someone was trying to friend me. I can't remember who this was, but someone new was on the edge of my life. And it was clear they were going to take a lot of time and energy.
And Maude said, and I believe this is verbatim, "You only have time for one high-maintenance person in your life. And that person is me."
Which was, at that point, absolutely true.
At this juncture, I have four people in my life who truly need me on a daily basis.
There is give and take, to be sure.
But sometimes there is way more take. Sometimes I am all gived out. Sometimes I get tired and crabby and whiny. Sometimes I get resentful.
And sometimes I haven't even realized it yet, but Nick does, and he suggests I take a break.
I have many, many people I love. I have a safe, comfortable, interesting life.
I'm thankful for many things in this world And I want you, my (in some cases invisible) friends, to know that I'm truly grateful for you.
Thank you for being a part of my life.
Big hugs and lots of love,