I mean, Happy Thanksgiving and all that - and if you’re into parades Macy’s provides one of the best ever - but oh God here are the holidays!!! AGAIN! How did this happen again so quickly?
One minute it’s the summer and I’m at Cincinnati’s Coney Island hauling my unfit body through an American Ninja-type water situation, and the next minute it’s frickin’ Christmas!
But this year, I am truly grateful.
I’m truly grateful that I spent quality time with my brother who so recently left the planet.
I’m truly grateful for the turn in my internal world that is heralding in a seriously self-supportive change in my perspectives and my renewed and powerful directions of acting and copywriting in my life.
I’m also truly fat! Thanks, Covid! Thanks, inertia! So I’m grateful that I’m deciding (God knows how) it’s time to truly invest my interest in how to live as the person I truly am - not the one I have hidden out in (again - God knows how, but it’s time to feel better than bouncy).
Therefore, this Thanksgiving Day - the Day of Overeaters Not-So-Anonymous, the Day of Mass Turkey Slaughter, the Day of Excess, Family Arguments, Weirdly Ridged Canned Cranberry Sauce (I mean, making cranberry sauce from scratch is only THE easiest thing to do in the world of cooking, ever, so why the ridged redness?), and Tryptophan Overdoses - signals something new to be thankful for: you.
Imagine what it means to do one of the things I love most - sharing myself and our communal experience as human nut jobs…through writing - and to see that people are reading my words every time I put something out!
Maybe this doesn’t seem ground-breaking at first glance but it’s heaven to me because what each one of you does when you share my journey goes beyond being a number. Far beyond.
Even without any direct response - and I love it when you share your thoughts and experiences - your energy and your presence tells me that I am not alone and that we are not alone. What is happening is stunningly more beautiful and life-enhancing than any random gift-wrapped item.
You and I are sharing human experiences
When my marbles got temporarily lost in my very early 30’s - an emotional and overdue explosion of response to my mother’s long illness and eventual death - I went into therapy. Individual and Group. And in Group I learned a primal truth about what makes being human not just “bearable”, but deeply rich in meaning:
It has been shown that being in community lessens pain. Purposeful vulnerability creates strength.
In other words, if I have connection with others with whom I can share my truths and experiences - and they with me - I increase my feelings of human belonging and security.
And that’s critical to my experience here on earth, because without a feeling of security, the feelings of gratitude and appreciation are normally in very short supply.
During my 3 years of “couch surfing” with various friends, I began the practice of nurturing a grateful perspective for the things around me that I found to be beautiful: fascinating people I met, new situations I wouldn’t have ever experienced if I had stayed financially “safe” and independently housed, random kindnesses, and the Facebook updates I wrote that opened me and my story to the many people who supported me lovingly through encouragement, love, prayer, assistance of all kinds.
And I learned once again - and more deeply now in my 50’s than in my 30’s - the connectivity lesson of staying intimately connected with the people I trust, people who hear and perceive the me that is untouched by any temporary circumstances of poverty or homelessness or any other of life’s overlaid situations.
You validate me
Okay, it’s not the same as “you complete me”, but that’s okay. I’m not Renee Zellweger either.1
Think of something you absolutely adore doing… If there is something like that in your life you will know the special sense of ahhhhhh when someone either joins you in the doing of it, watches with attention while you immerse yourself in your special addiction, or benefits directly from it.
Me, I love to write. I love to express myself. I love to be funny and I love to be deep. I love to make people feel accompanied. I love to self-reveal so that others have a shot at knowing that they’re not nuts - they’re just human.
And you are the person who reads my “scribblings”.
That you do so is both an honor and a thrill. It also means I’m not kidding myself when I say, “Hey, I’m a writer!” I mean, I’d do it anyway, but - you know - you complete me!
You are fascinating
I obviously don’t know each of you, but I know something about you: you have been led to believe that your story is not interesting, or it’s only worthy of attention in certain high spots.
Happy to tell you, babe, that you’re wrong. You are fascinating.
I used to tell my brother - who was long-winded AF, and that’s putting it mildly - that I didn’t need to hear the facts of his day unless I was going to hear how those facts impacted him.
It’s not so much what we do in our lives, it’s who we are as we travel through our lives that is the fascination to me.
And you are fascinating. So, when I hear from you, when you make a comment, or when you share something that you have gone through, I get to be fascinated with a fellow traveler’s story.
To me, that’s just pure gold.
It takes the fascination of who you are, wraps it in story, and delivers it up to me with the vulnerability that makes us strong, bonded, and communal.
That is simply swoon-worthy.
So I am grateful for you.
And I thank you.
And I wish you holidays filled with knowing your own beauty, thoughtfully sharing your strength-growing vulnerability, and a community of people who know you beyond - and through - your situations.
In case I’ve lost you, “You complete me” is a line from the movie Jerry Maguire, which Renee starred in.