I’m thankful for that woman in Alabama who was so wrong for me. Wasn’t it just two months from that night — sobbing without control in front of my brother, his wife and my brother’s friend about how mistaken I’d been — that this wondrous woman entered my life? This woman pictured above . . . my playmate for life.
I’m thankful for tech. All of it. Even when I’m sucked into it. Tech and its advances allow me to whisper to you now from this keyboard. Wherever you are, you and I are joined this moment by tech.
I’m thankful for my forever friends. I’m thankful for the newbies too. (I’m looking at you, G-man). Yassir, I am. I’m thankful for the ephemeral connections I can’t really call friends; they’re more like points of tangency. Glorious glancings of non-orbiting entities. Who needs riches when interactions are so enriching?
(For example: My Gil friend, who delights in running out the time on my voicemail the way I delight in torturing him with godawful song on his.)
I’m thankful, Mountain Dew, for all those years we had together, you and I. We had a thing. I’d like to think it was special for you too. Anyway, I’m thankful I abandoned you this year. I’m relieved in fact. I thought I couldn’t quit you, but na na na na na, I could!
Yet I’m thankful my Ras friend still calls me Dew . . .
Oh Lordy I’m thankful for my crazy Mom (MomJo!) (Because this generation’s grandparents refuse to be called Grandma or Grandpa . . .) She’s got the energy of a teenager in heat. An elf on the lam. She can pry loose the backstory from the tightest-lipped stranger. And delight in the now like Eckhart Tolle can only dream of.
I’m thankful for lizards in the tropics. Especially the anoles — rhymes with canoli(s) — who summit a rock, a stone, a garden hose and, head high, explode a crisp orange crescent moon of tissue from mid-neck! A mating thing, I’m sure. It fans out translucent. A flaming flag of flesh. Many was the time in my teens I could have used that trick.
I’m thankful for diners. Sweet Jehosophat I’m thankful for diners — and those who staff them. You light up my mornings.
I’m thankful for siblings I don’t quite deserve.
A sister who connects the far flung. I love her curious mind. Also, the way she fakes an interest in whatever my babblement of the moment is. She knew what quoins are without having to look it up. How to pronounce it too. Like coins. Exactly like coins. No kwuh sound at all. Plus — get this — she sends me Charticles — her name is Charlene — articles about the most random subjects — that never fail to draw me in.
And a brother who inspires me to live higher than my highest best. Because he does it like a dancer propels through the air, seemingly effortlessly, expansively, with unforced style.
I’m thankful for my recently dead Dad. Not an easy man to love. But isn’t that what we’re here for, to learn this simple thing? How to love gushingly even when it’s difficult. Even when we’re wounded? We’re all wounded anyway, maybe the prickly ones the most. Recognizing this helps something akin to love surface.
I’m thankful for dirt. Good dirt in particular, I’m keen to see flora thrive.
I’m thankful for my joy boy Zane. Who I traumatize daily by calling by any name that starts with a Z: Zonk, Zebediah, Zekiel (you have to play loose with the rules), Zoolander, Zoooom, Zarathustra, Zabbadabbadoooo, Zinc, Zazoo. Sometimes just Z. I learn more from him than he does from me. Not a bad gig, parenting one such as he.
I’m thankful for the idea of splurge day. Whoever thought up cheat days is genius! The three I just had in a row is not part of the equation I’m guessing, but this week of Thanksgiving I’m living in an alternate universe where that kind of math adds up.
Are you a yogini? A yogi? The type of person who does yoga most days a week? Everywhere you go?
When this image was snapped I lived on the road more than I lived at home. The yoga mat went with me everywhere. More importantly, I used it every day. Even in tiny hotel spaces flanked by an open closet and the bathroom door.
Now I don’t. I’m no longer yoga active. I’m a sometime yoga-er. My daily physical exertion choices have morphed. I pool walk. I swim. I pole walk. (With limbs cut from trees.) I sometimes bike. I sometimes do spurts on a pilates machine. Yoga, not so much anymore. It’s a sometimes thing.
If your dream is to become an attorney, a coder, an indie biz owner, a chef, an accountant, a doctor, a plumber, a wood worker — good — people will support you.
A writer? A cartoonist? An artist?
Not so much.
Because they love you.
Because they believe it’s a freakish odds lottery of talent, persistence and connections — that also requires a mega blast of good fortune.
In short, it’s far fetched.
Most people who don’t live in a city dominated by the creative class don’t know successful creatives. They don’t know people making a decent living from their art or writing or cartooning or humor or music.
My own Dad was dismissive of the creative life:
“The sooner you quit this writing/creativity crap the sooner you’ll be successful.”
I’m only being partly sarcastic. The non-sarcastic part took decades to acquire.
Because it’s also truth for most people. We all default to what is known. The easy paths are the well-trod paths. Banker, baker . . . (but no longer candlestick maker).
If you’re going to pursue your creative dream you need to push past the resistance of well-meaning people — those who care for you most. They want you to be successful in the most effective ways possible. The known ways.
How do you do this? How do you push past cultural resistance?
You show them that you mean it.
If you’re going to make yoga your living, you do it everyday. Unapologetically.
If you’re going to make tattoing your thing, you do it. In every small way you can.
You push past the love and care and mental constraints of others by doing it every day.
Show yourself you mean it.
And do it so consistently that you show others you mean it too.
Over time you become the town oddity, the one always sketching. Or the one always jotting ideas in a notebook that you carry with you all the time.
Show them that you mean it.
It’s how it works for life too. You know, the universe. You do it until life relents and opens the way for you.
Decades later people who care for you will say, “Yeah, she was always doodling.”
They will tell fond stories of you doing your creative thing when others were on the playground or at the mall or hanging out.
You will be the one people point to when some young spud speaks up, wanting a different kind of life.
They’ll say, “Why not?”
They’ll point to you and say, “Why don’t you ask him how he did it?”