Monday, November 30, 2009

post-thanksgiving giving of thanks

This is kind of blog-cheating, because I posted this on facebook already. To make up for the kinda-cheating, I'm elaborating - a little - on some of these "i'm thankful for" bullet points (and, of course, editing out some of the identifying information).

giving thanks. 2009.
so, sure, thanksgiving's past is steeped in really f-ed up politics of pilgrims "civilizing" the native people they came upon when they landed on this country, and celebrating thanksgiving with pilgrim hats and fake-traditional native headdresses is beyond offensive. i could go on and on about how we celebrate a time that resulted in mass genocide of native peoples and their cultures. there's certainly a place for that.

but i'm not going to go there right now, because thanksgiving may have a f-ed up history, but it's become something very different. giving thanks is something i (we) should be doing every day, but there's nothing wrong with having an entire day devoted to eating delicious food and giving thanks for the blessings in our lives.

so, a completely cliche but also completely necessary exercise in thanks giving:

I Am Thankful For:
  • the family that i've found in massachusetts. even when it's not easy, it's still the closest thing to family that i've got, and they're still a better family than i'd ever expected to find.
    (this was one i was going to elaborate on, but...there's not much more to say. surprisingly enough for this verbose girl, simplicity sometimes best exposes the depth of emotion.)

  • northampton/home. i read tracy kidder's book, Home Town, a couple months ago, and i got wicked homesick. that "homesick" thing is kinda new. it's pretty amazing to have a hometown i can be homesick for.

  • coffee. no, really. everything about it: the making and the drinking. i love making pretty and delicious coffee drinks at my lovely cafes (both home in northampton and here in kansas city), and i really love drinking it. i'm so thankful for this wonderful beverage and all of its incarnations.

  • courage. that is, having the courage to extract myself from a family that was toxic. my lovely friend wrote this post over at feministing last week, about taking a risk and being prepared to be wrong, as she did when she left home before graduating high school. i'm thankful that i had the courage to take that much-needed step away/step toward the rest of my life.

  • Reproductive health care providers (including abortion providers), and the political movement that helps them to keep their doors open. mostly, I'm thankful for their existence in general. but more selfishly, I'm thankful for the really satisfying employment that they offer me. the people i work with in this movement are really incredible, and the people i get to work with across the states of kansas and missouri are some of the best & most amazing people i know.

  • eleanor maya (the cat). and, last week, emma (the denver dog). ellie makes my life in kansas city so much more bearable and less lonely. emma is...well, she's emma, and totally adorable, and totally a pup i'd drive 9 hours to denver to pet-sit anytime. (as long as it's at her owner-mama's house -- she would eat my cat if given the chance.)
    i'm thankful that ellie is exactly as cuddly and snuggly as i need her to be...even if that cuddle means i will forever have a light layer of cat hair on every item of clothing i own.

  • pumpkin-based foods. like the beyond delicious pumpkin-apple-butter pie (with streusel topping) i made for thanksgiving this year, and christmas last year, and will make for pretty much every holiday it fits into. (from  pumpkin pies and pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin muffins and pumpkin spice egg nog and pumpkin butter and and and... yum.

  • related: egg nog.  it's now after thanksgiving, so i've now given myself permission to buy my first bottle of egg nog.  unlike most people, i never reach that "too much egg nog" state.  i'll continue to buy egg nog, at least a quart a week, until they stop making it.  this year, i'm SO SO STOKED to be living in kansas city, where i have access to the most delicious egg nog i've ever had, from Shatto Milk Company.  if i gain extra weight during the holiday season, it's not from holiday meals -- i eat pretty normally through the season.  it's from egg nog.  (straight up, no rum. rum only distorts and distracts from the deliciousness of the egg nog.)

  • smith college. the education i got there, the connections i made, and the smith connection that continues past graduation.
    also: the financial ability to attend smith, thanks in large part to the generous aid package they offered me. sure, i'll probably be paying off student loans until i die, but i was able to get those grants and loans, and i was able to make smith college a financial possibility.

  • and, of course, my friends. the people who make being in kansas city bearable, the people who make life in general so much better. from old friends that go back to preschool to the ones i just made out midwest/west (Denver). there are some really incredible people in my life, and i'm really grateful that they're around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your list of things to be grateful for is inspiring. I didn't realize I still had your blog address buried in my computer bookmarks until a couple days ago. I hope you're doing well, and I'm sorry family issues have been so difficult. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I'm still in Northampton but only until June when I move to Alabama to be with my long-term partner. I will miss Northampton horribly in more ways that I can express. I was in Alabama last weekend and introduce my partner as just that - my partner - without realizing that I had put her in an awkward situation by being open about our relationship. I'm too used to this liberal bubble I've lived in for almost seven years! Anyway, I hope you are well and I'd love to hear from you one of these days but only if that's comfortable. We all have paths to walk and I admire your courage for walking your own. Take care, Jen.
Lois Stratton