I have read an astronomical amount of " 26 days of Thankfulness" Facebook posts. Actually, if I am being honest, I should say I have scanned over an astronomical amount of "Thankfulness" posts. I tend to not jump in on trends as a general rule.
You see, I know what this holiday is supposed to be about and it isn't supposed to be about me and the twenty six things I am thankful for this year. It is supposed to be about the pilgrims and the Native Americans joining forces as they learned to live together in peace and harmony. That is what those elementary school plays with the construction paper pilgrim hats say it is about, anyway. That relationship of joining forces kinda went south after how badly we treated the Native people a few years after the "historical Thanksgiving" we all think of when we think of this holiday. A fact they seem to omit in the window displays of the local grocery stores next to the cardboard cut outs of Thanksgiving cornucopias filled with fruits, bread, squash, and goodwill. There is no mention of that when we go out to buy more canned cranberry sauce and five dollar turkey shaped butter sculptures, though I can't imagine why......(sarcasm).
It annoys me, this being thankful for twenty six days trend. Like I have to tell the world what I am thankful for or I am not thankful enough for it. Like I am required to participate in something I think somehow sullies my thanks.
First of all, I do not have to take stock of why I am thankful for twenty six days a year. I do it everyday. Every morning, I wake up and am thankful for my friends and family that stick by me, love me, and put up with me. That isn't a Facebook quota. That isn't one day a year. That is every damn day, because I am very aware that I am blessed to have those people in my life. I could very well have shut myself away and never let anyone in.
I am thankful for my friends who push me to do better, to try harder, and to believe in my ability to do things. I am thankful that their belief in me has made me learn to believe in myself. I am thankful for this blog and it's amazing readers. I am thankful, whether I loudly shout it from the rooftops for everyone to hear or if I quietly close my eyes and whisper it to an empty room. I am thankful. Trust me...
The thing is, I don't feel like I need to list all of the things I am thankful about for twenty six days. I don't feel like twenty six simple days could remotely be enough to cover all of the things in life I am thankful for. Because you see, there were times in my life where my depression had made me blind to those things. There were times when my OCD made me deaf to them. There were times when my battle with my mental illness left me too exhausted to focus or see anything else before me but my own pain and struggles. There were times in my life, when it felt as if I lived inside a sensory deprivation tank unable to feel, or smell, or taste, or think unless it was about my intrusive thoughts. Twenty six days of trendy posts on Facebook couldn't possibly explain that. There really isn't any words to properly describe how bright the world is when you have lived most of it in the dark. It can shine so brightly that it hurts your eyes. The light of it can be blinding.
Nor is twenty six days enough to tell the world, or in this case fb, how I used to be so ashamed of my imagined faults, that I had zero self esteem. I let people treat me poorly because I thought that was all I deserved. Or how I was lost to myself for years because I was different and I blamed myself for those differences and judged myself too harshly for them. There is not enough Facebook posts to explain how much I despised myself or how much I grieved for the "normal" life that I would never have, when I realized that my OCD would always be a factor in my life. That I would always have it. That there would never be a day that I could simply wash my hair in the shower and it would wash down the drain with the shampoo suds and bits of soap. I am thankful that I no longer dwell in that place of pain and self doubt. Believe me, I am thankful.
I guess it bothers me because my thankfulness is very personal to me. I am aware that many people struggle with the things I have struggled with and may not be able to feel thankful about it right now. I want to be compassionate and supportive in that when dealing with life and all of it's curve balls, sometimes it is too hard to see all of the little things in life. Sometimes it is too hard to feel the sun on your face. Sometimes it is too hard to feel anything at all let alone feeling thankful for anything.
I don't feel like, what feels almost like bragging to me, is very helpful when so many are really struggling with all of the issues that have come their way. I am in a good place right now, and I am so thankful for it but that doesn't mean I don't understand what it is like when thankfulness seems an impossibility. I don't need to pressure everyone else to feel that way right now, because it is trendy or the thing to do. It doesn't mean that in my thankfulness to be in a better place mentally in my life, I should ignore those that aren't there yet or turn a blind eye to others that are suffering today. I get it, I really do.
I am thankful, yes, but I would rather not engross myself in that as much as spending the time to tell others that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. To let others know that they are not alone in this fight. That one day thankfulness can come into their lives as well. That thankfulness is not just an fb trend but rather something that happens to you when you are ready to see it and feel it and live it. It will come.
So, if this holiday things are not going the way you had hoped, if things are stressing you out, if things in your life seem completely hopeless....please hang on. The world needs you. Your loved ones need you. You are worth so much more than you know. You may not be able to feel or see or hear thankfulness right now, but those that have you in their lives are thankful that you are there. We are all important in this world, no matter our struggles. We are all meant to be here. We all have a place here, even if you can't yet see yours. On this holiday when the world is thankful for everything, I am thankful for you. Because every person on the face of this planet matters.
Thanksgiving to me, isn't about overpriced turkeys sculpted out of butter, or canned cranberry sauce, or construction paper pilgrim hats. It isn't about all of the things I am thankful for. It isn't about a stupid twenty six day Facebook post. It is about giving to others. So, I drink a toast to you, whoever you are, the person dealing with so much that they just don't know how to feel. I am thankful for you being here on this earth because believe it or not, you are just as important as everyone else. You belong. You matter. You are a magnificent human being.
Happy Thanksgiving my readers, I hope it is a wonderful holiday for you all.