Today I’m thankful for this: Hot cocoa
Just a nice steaming mug of cocoa with marshmallows.
Today I’m thankful for this: Hot cocoa
Just a nice steaming mug of cocoa with marshmallows.
Today’s post was going to be for a different topic. But I will come back to that one later this month, if it still applies.
Today I am thankful for: An understanding partner.
This is one I can’t really get too into too much because our relationship structure is one that faces a tremendous amount of discrimination (all discrimination against us is 100% legal in all 50 states), and it’s also one that faces a lot of additional challenges if everyone involved can’t be equally on board and competition arises and attempts at monopolization. Hurt can come about, and that’s what I’m dealing with from it. A lot of hurt. And the source of solace is the person who would, in a typical relationship, not be expected to be such.
In typically accepted relationships, a spouse wouldn’t be understanding, and if I were to try to explain it to someone who doesn’t instinctively understand this symbol, it probably wouldn’t make sense. So I’m not sure it’s worth trying. But for those of you who get it, then you understand what it means when an extremely insecure meta successfully monopolizes the time of the common person, especially when that person doesn’t see it happening and gets defensive when it’s pointed out. There’s potential for a mountain of hurt, as I’m dealing with.
And it would be very easy for a partner who whom you’re married to be the opposite of understanding and trying to make you feel better. But I’m lucky, and I’m thankful for who I have.
Today I am thankful for: Internet access
I’m sure the sounds odd. It’s so universal, right? But it’s not. In the US alone, tens of millions of people still don’t have internet access. If you have internet on your phone, you’re considered to have access. I don’t consider this to be value because, well, just try to have a Zoom class on a phone. I see that as having a cellular data plan. When you count only the people who have internet on a computer, the number of people without goes up, and that sucks. Internet is so vital these days. Everything from school to applying for social assistance is done on the internet, and that’s ironic–those with the least who need the most help are less likely to have internet access to apply for help.
And now just internet access, but enough of it. My daughter has classmates who come up against data caps early in the month, and it’s draining families to have to buy more. Not everyone can. And this isn’t falling under something schools need to provide for all families who can’t afford it since income limits haven’t been adjusted to reflect the changes society’s had this year. Internet, and enough of it, is a privilege that is easy to take for granted when you’re so used to having it and not needing to buy more. So it is indeed something to be thankful for.
Today I am thankful for this: New experiences. And they wouldn’t have been possible without the removal of toxic people from my life. This isn’t just a silver lining. Though brief, thanks to Covid and the lockdowns starting, for a short time I got to spend weekends in Seattle going to XFL games (I had season tickets, and will again when the XFL restarts) and out to clubs.
I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to go out and do these things when my life had toxicity. I’d have been given too much hell, and the people mentioned yesterday would have done who-knows-what about me going out dancing. Alone. I love dancing and moving around, but there would have been hell to pay.
But instead I did have a time, no matter how brief, where I got to go out and just be me as me, not the mom-me, the wife-me, or the seamstress-me. I got to find that, when I’m not trying to fit into a mold, I’m more social. Maybe it’s not worrying about fitting some preconceived idea about how someone should be, no one telling me I need to tone down the glitter makeup since I “need to remember [I] have a kid” and such. I can talk longer with random people in museums since I’m not ignoring whoever I’m with or at risk of boring them. I can dance like no one’s watching while everyone’s watching.
These are things that I couldn’t have freely done before. Even though they’re now in the past, for who knows how long or if we’ll ever really get them back, I at least got to have those experiences, and I’m thankful for that.
In keeping with the theme of yesterday, today I am thankful for this: Learning who my real friends aren’t through losing my two best friends. Or, being free of friends who weren’t real friends.
I am certain at least a few of you…okay, all of you, are wondering what on earth I could mean, how I could be thankful for that, and what it has to do with yesterday’s post. Buckle up for some stuff that might be summed up as drama.
Some of you might remember that I was pickpocketed in Paris in January, when I was there with my daughter who had just turned 10, and my cash, debit cards, and ID were in my phone case. I should have been able to vent a bit to my two best friends, right? I merely mentioned to my best friends that I was pickpocketed, and they decided to tear into me for not being grateful to be in Paris. I didn’t say anything about that. I was worried about making sure my daughter had what she needed until USAA was able to get a new card to me and I could get to a money wiring place to get cash. I literally had none. They both blocked me on Facebook, phone, etc., and my first feeling was…
That hit me hard, realizing that I was relieved that my two best friends of eight years had blocked me, and then I figured out why I was relieved. Over those years, I’d done everything I could for them, whether that meant derailing a long-planned family trip to go two states away when one was in a car crash or providing a home for the other when she needed it. But I couldn’t vent to them about anything. They would always be “too busy” or “out of spoons” for me despite leaning on me for everything. The only emotions I was allowed to have around them was happiness with the temporary exception of when one of my cats died. But I was even chided for being so upset when one of my dogs, who was literally there when my daughter was born (home birth) died. Yeah, I wasn’t even allowed to feel anything but happy even then. I didn’t see the imbalance until I felt an unexpected sense of lightness. Worse, one of them managed to get me ostracized from my local social group by claiming I was an adulteress. Someone contacted me about it, which is how I found out. Even still, lightness. Relief.
It might also be worth noting that these two “friends” spent three years trying to convince my husband I was cheating on him. I found out after two years, forgave them, and didn’t know they continued until January of this year. I do know the reasons they had, and they’re not flattering to them. Their reasons, stemming from jealousy of the trajectory of my life when they were at a better place than I was when we met, are ultimately irrelevant. They caused real damage to my family in that time.
In “losing” them, something I can now put quotes around, I gained freedom. I could breathe. When you can ever say that about someone no longer being in your life, they probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with.
And this will be relevant to tomorrow’s post. Thankfulness for severance from toxic non-friends is indeed something to be thankful for on its own, but it led to something else that…I literally can’t even think go how to describe it. I’ll try in tomorrow’s post.
This year, more than almost any other year, It’s difficult to find things to be thankful for. I don’t think there’s a single person alive on this planet who isn’t struggling in some way, whether big or seemingly small. But I also think there are still some things we can all find to be thankful for, even if it feels like scraping the bottom of the barrel. I think it’ll help to do that, and would like anyone who reads this to join me. Nothing is too small.
My own first day is simply this: The knowledge that it is okay to not feel happy all the time. That “Choose joy” stuff is well intended, but makes it seem like we can simply choose not to have emotions. The most positive person in the world will still hurt upon the loss of loved ones and beloved pets. You can’t just choose your way out of it. Yet there’s been this massive push toward telling people to just choose to be happy. But that’s simply not something we can always choose. When you understand that it’s okay to not always be happy, especially right now, you don’t feel guilty for not “choos[ing] joy.”
Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Silly as this will sound, this Barbie video…BARBIE…is one of the best I’ve seen on this.
So for today, I’m thankful to know that having a full range of emotions, the sad and the mad and the frustrated with the happy and relaxed and upbeat, is okay, and in fact, something to embrace. You can’t know what happiness feels like without also knowing what sadness feels like.