A day of gratefulness. A day dedicated to acknowledging all we are given and gifted. A day for sharing blessings and care.
I don’t celebrate it and haven’t for several years.
Sometimes I’m part of the get-togethers friends have, because it is a day of togetherness, and they care about me and don’t want me to be lonely, and I love them.
I’m rarely, if ever, lonely. Alone, often, but I haven’t felt lonely for a very long time. Not since I was dead for a night and given my life back. Before then, not since I was little, when I really was alone, despite the glut of people tromping through my childhood with their dirty dirty feet.
Sharing those days of thankfulness with friends always means so very much to me, always. Not because of the trumped up holiday, though. That’s irrelevant.
Because of the people I’m with… and all the people I’m not with. Because it gives me hope to be in their hearts and their homes while we focus on what makes life worth living. Because that gives me hope for a future, and lets me see firsthand what I know is our natural way of being… kind, caring, connected.
It’s beyond me how such a profoundly spiritual habit was condensed into a single day’s observance. People say it’s symbolic, it’s a reminder, it’s a break for perspective… but no, the occasion is where we clump together and make up for not really living in thankfulness… because that’s hard and takes time.
Except it isn’t and it doesn’t. It’s just a way of being. A way of being that feels good, and works, and creates a spiritual, psychological, and physical ground wherein positive energy creates more positivity. I don’t mean let’s go skipping through fields of fabled roses and sunshine, I mean constructive growth and being.
It’s even more beyond me how ithe practice of thankfulness got so infernally handcuffed to a celebration of colonialism and genocide. That’s another thing I regularly got in trouble for quest. I’d be vehemently questioned about what I thought my life would be without Columbus and the pilgrims and the whole crummy fairy tale. I thought we’d all be better off and so would the planet, but that wasn’t the right answer. They’d pummel my idealism and naïveté, and tell me to shut up and be grateful for the big dead bird and to bloody well behave like I enjoyed it.
I didn’t understand how being forced to stuff our faces and get yelled at for eating too much could justify residential schools and the destruction of people and planet. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t supposed to ask those questions.
My parents were raised in the US, so maybe there was more of the colonial aspect of the day in my life than there is for other Canadians, but it doesn’t seem very different to me.
It’s a day that celebrates the demise of nature and of human nature.
We overdo everything that day. Even the thankfulness. It’s like Christmas, which I also do not celebrate, or Sundays, or any other day designated as a a token day for things we naturally do and feel every single day of our lives.
Every time something goes well, I give thanks… to the specifics, to all involved. The toast falls peanut butter side up — I thank gravity, and physics, and the toast, and the floor, and the intervening air currents, and the universe. It’s become a habit, and I like it. It keeps me constantly aware of my position in the universe — small, affected by all the patterns, and yet — my toast can land right way up, and that’s pretty special, considering everything.
Days like thanksgiving are like prescriptions… do this, this way, at this time, and all will be well. Do not self-medicate by showing care outside the scheduled times. Do not try to address the underlying issues, just take your day and swallow it and proceed apace, even (especially) if the other days keep you too busy to care. Celebrate the ideals of a culture that exists only because of abuse, self-aggrandize entitlement, and destruction of the planet. And make sure you eat far too much while doing it, because that cements your cooperation in the farce.
Why do we allow this?
This day ought to be a day like any other. It ought to be full of thankfulness — like every other day.
Instead of participating in this sick mishmash of colonialism and taking luxury for granted, why do we not choose to simply live thankfully every day? It’s so much easier, and it makes life make so much more sense. We think we’re tied to this system, but that’s only true as long as we choose to keep our handcuffs.
Ask indigenous peoples all over the world. They never chose the handcuffs, they rejected them and held to their ways, and now the Earth herself is rising against the very oppressors who thought subjugation was more powerful than reality.
I’m thankful for that. I’m so very, very, very thankful that the Earth will not acquiesce to the atrocities wrought upon her and those who value her and honour her and respect her. If we had stood and yelled for what is right as the planet does, and as those who defend her do, the world would be completely different.
That’s not meant as blame. It’s a statement, and a relatively pointless one, because we are at the point we are at. We can change where we go, and how, but not the road we’ve already travelled.
So we stand here on this day, at the biggest signpost we will ever see. We stand here between coloured truths, white lies, and the future.
We stand in lines for turkeys and restaurant reservations and clamour about our glamorous lives, but we are losing everything that matters.
Please take this day and throw it in the garbage with the packaging from all the unnecessary and unwarranted celebrations. Make everything this day should be about into a normal part of all your days, and chuck the rest. Nevermind the immensely overrated seasonal turkey… have boat beans with friends whenever possible, share tea with strangers, thank your toast, and do all that stuff every day.
It’s not just cliché holiday-bashing. It’s the end of the whole freaking world and we need to get our priorities straight. What are we thinking? Most of us do now understand that concepts like The Thanksgiving Holiday are beyond outdated and more than inappropriate and honestly make no sense. Ditto many other aspects of contemporary life. Old habits don’t work any more.
So, as I am so many times every day, I am thankful.
I’m thankful we are so very able to change.
I’m thankful we can choose to.
I’m thankful for every person who does, in all their own ways.
I’m thankful for whatever change we can still create.
With hope and determination,
I’m also thankful for so many people who make this project possible, and make changing the world possible. You matter, every day, to me and to everything.
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