Much has been written about the connection between Thanksgiving and the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. But I realized that I experience Thanksgiving more similar to the way I experience Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) – holidays with introspective, spiritual “shoulds” that I don’t do any of at all because the holiday experience winds up being all the fun and logistics of family obligations.
I don’t mind exactly. Hanging out with my family is rather entertaining. Even when we aren’t having deeply inappropriate conversations about anal sex, it’s still pretty entertaining. I used to attend my community’s interfaith Thanksgiving service the week before Thanksgiving which provided some of the missing spiritual element, and one year, I spoke at it as my congregation’s representative. But I haven’t been in a few years (other family obligations, COVID, etc.)
Anyway, I am grateful. Extremely grateful. But I don’t feel particularly grateful at the moment. It’s not like last year where I was focused on the metaphorical gross olives in my otherwise perfect life sandwich. It’s more that I fell deep into the self-critical/self-deprecating/low self-esteem/whatever you want to call it rabbit hole of “I’m useless, fat, ugly, talentless, incompetent, lazy, with absolutely no problem-solving skills and nothing to look forward to” and I haven’t managed to either pull myself out nor be able to think about or feel anything else.
Then Husband managed to injure himself in a dramatic way and has been hobbling around in pain. I feel bad for him and I’ve been getting him ice packs and driving him around. I don’t mind that, but….well, for background, you need to understand this: Husband has a body that is utterly gorgeous and totally impractical. Every health-related thing or injury is more dramatic on him than it might be on someone else. There’s a lot that I’m leaving out for privacy. Anyway, I keep being reminded of the time a few years ago when Husband had a health issue necessitating an extremely common, safe, routine surgery. It was a nightmare. Not because of the surgery or the recovery itself (which went perfectly and he recovered just fine) but because of Husband’s anxiety over it, some of which was understandable and some of which was so far over-the-top. Anyway, we both entered mentally dark places of different sorts, although Husband left his immediately after his surgery was over. I’m not sure when (or even if) I left mine exactly, but watching him with this injury is bringing back shadows of that mentally bad place.
In contrast, my body is ugly, but hardy. I’m not strong or athletic or anything like that. More that my body can put up with a lot of abuse like lack of sleep and neglect and so on. That’s definitely something to be thankful for, considering how much abuse I put it through.
I don’t really feel thankful, but I am. I’m thankful for my family and for the opportunity to be seeing my family in person today. Zoom Thanksgiving last year wasn’t all bad and in some ways, it had its advantages, but three different family Zoom calls on the same day with an awful migraine is its own kind of hell. It’s shallow, but I’m grateful that my additional COVID body fat mostly still fits in my clothes. (It’s one thing to gain weight during COVID. It’s another thing to visit your judgy relatives who notice everything. I choose my outfits carefully.) I would be a little bit more thankful if I could actually drink at the Thanksgiving meal today as opposed to having to be the designated driver, but a) Husband is taking pain-killers so he’s not going to get drunk and rub it in my face, b) drinking mostly just leads to a killer headache vs. an actual pleasant state of drunkenness, and c) I enjoy spending time with my family sober too, so this is not so bad.
I’m thankful for my job, even though I don’t really like it and am performing it badly. I’m thankful I have a roof over my head. I’m thankful for The State I Would Like to Move To. I’m thankful for my husband, who read my blog and seemingly decided to remain married to me. (Not that I’m entirely convinced that staying married is the right decision for long-term happiness but that is not the point.) I’m thankful for G-d and the many ways I’ve been blessed by G-d even though I am not at all deserving. I’m thankful for the few in-person friends I still talk to. I’m thankful for my blogger friends. Your kind, caring comments mean more than you could know.
Husband just woke up. He’s doing better. I sense the shadows receding somewhat.