thanks

To the Women…

The drive home from my aunt’s house last night was full of laughter, my grandma and her daughters recounting the time she and Pop-Pop horrified them, using a ripped blouse as inspiration for a pre-date prank.

“Sometimes the Devil just gets inside of you, and you have to go for it!” Sassy Maggie said.

We laughed until we cried, and I just felt so warm inside, the visceral kind that reaches your toes and your bones simultaneously.

I had been surrounded by such strong women all day, women who have survived lost love, lost children, divorces, economic hardship, and the day-in, day-out patriarchal bullshit I’m still putting up with today. And luckily, because we’re strong, we’ve surrounded ourselves with men who build us up; men that know that if they don’t, they’ll be kicked to the curb because we have each other–the women–to pick up the pieces.

Our society is divided by race, sex, and religion more than ever, but I don’t see that in my blended, matriarchal family. And though I’m so thankful for the men in my life (aka some of the strongest feminists I know), and my friends, and my love, and my puppies, and the general blessings of a white, middle-class (i.e. PRIVILEGED) American, I’m still the most thankful when I look around the kitchen in my Grandma’s house in the stark light of a November morning and see women of three different generations relating over and over again. About drugs. About music. About family. About sitting inside together on Black Friday in support of a young man in Ferguson instead of shopping for more shit we don’t need. About making today about someone else.*

It doesn’t matter if we were born in 1921 or 1950 or 1987. Because women are the strongest when we sit together over coffee, realizing that no matter how we differ, we are stronger and better together.

I am so thankful for the women who taught me to rise above the status quo, to strive to listen, to be better, to help, to support, to never let a man sit you down in a corner and tell you “No, you can’t do that.”

And it fills me with joy when I see my cousin teaching his daughter the same things, and letting me teach them to her, too, with 100 percent trust that I have her best interest–as a human, but most importantly, a woman–at heart.

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What women are you thankful for this year? I am proud of oh-so-many of us for breaking boundaries and building bridges this year!

 

* Well, I guess aside from this blog entry.

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Gonnas: Happy Anniversary to Us!

March, Then & Now:

One year ago, I decided it was time to stop pretending I was gonna do things and start to actually do them. Since then, this blog has seen me through many life events, both great and bad. It has evolved from silly to-do lists and it will continue to change as I do. (There will always be room for humor, though.)

I am thankful for the motivation that struck me on The Ides of March last year. I am unsure as to where its gone – my sneaking suspicion is it got smothered by real life – but my goal is to get it back. It carried me through a solo trip to my dream city, a new love, a new job, multiple moving woes, another new job, finding a home, changing friends, new furry children, a wedding, an even newer job, the last year on Earth, a healthy lifestyle change, and finally, another limbotic phase, the kind that brought me to form this blog in the first place.

I am just as thankful for the things this blog itself has brought me: new friends, the world’s best audience, and peace of mind – even if no one reads about how pissed off I am at a wanna-be politician or how upset SOPA makes me, it’s soothing to have a platform.

While I have technical goals for my blog in its sophomore year, my main concern is reinvigorating my creativity for everyone’s sake. I want that starry-eyed wonder I had a year ago to return, never forgetting the harsh realities learned this year, but letting go of the anger and fear those not-so-shiny moments spawned.

This year so far has been about change for the better. I only have the same hopes for this blog. It might be a long, complicated process, but with a little work on my will power muscle, it can all only go up from here.

Thanks to all my readers supporters. I couldn’t keep writing without knowing someone out there cares. You are champions.

Special thanks to:
My mom, for supporting/helping create so many of the ideas behind and in this blog. The rest of my family, for keeping up the ratings when no one else does. My friends, for being good sports about being blog fodder. My love, for actually laughing at my videos. My teachers, for teaching me all I know about writing and its technicalities. Those who made this year full of hard lessons, for teaching me that some people and situations just suck, but also reminding me that their suckage is not my problem or a reason to hold on to anger. And again, my readers, for being interested in the mind of a weird girl who uses too much profanity, thinks she’s funnier than she is, and who loves all of you more than you’ll ever know!

Letting Go of the Fear

I was driving with the windows down yesterday, enjoying the 70 degree weather and 90s Pop Pandora station streaming through my speakers. I was singing along, finally feeling rested if not still fatigued with a sickness that is taking its sweet time leaving my system. I thought about how great it was just to be able to see a beautiful day like that. It reminded me that I should remember to be really thankful because the universe is mysterious and infinite and it doesn’t owe any of us jackshit.

I remember my dad telling me it was a miracle I was even alive. Not because I had a tumultuous entrance into this world, but because of all the places in all the universe, my molecules were in this place in this time, beside him as his daughter. I always think about that, but never long or often enough.

It entered back into my consciousness as I was smiling on the drive home yesterday. I thought “Wow, really, how lucky am I?” Not in that humble brag, not really thankful but pretending to be so I can still gloat without guilt kinda way. In the way that reminded me that even if I give thanks every day (not to anyone in particular – the universe itself most likely), I need to be thankful in a way that is equivalent to what I have. And what I have is endless. Therefore, I have to be endlessly thankful. The only way to do that is let go of all the fear.

Sure, I will always be the worrier. I will always be the girlfriend calling to make sure her boyfriend is not in a fiery wreck in a ditch somewhere. I am the daughter who will always call to make sure her parents are safe from the storm coming their way. I am the sister who will send links to my sibling to make sure she knows what’s going on in her community. I am the person who knows real fear of death, who is afraid of every ache and pain, and who shakes a little in her boots when it comes to a handful of my own hangups.

But I have never been afraid of change and I have never been afraid of going the road alone. I have dined alone, learned alone, coped alone, traveled alone, and found my true self alone. I have no qualms letting go of the fear alone, though I know I am so lucky to be the opposite of that.

See, letting go of these fears is the only true way to be fully thankful of what I have. I can’t fully enjoy my blessings if I’m always scared to lose them. I can’t wholly appreciate them if I am caught up in worrying if what I have will always be here. Really, that’s where all of my fear, all of OUR fears, come from in one way or another: losing what we have.

While I am thankful for my life, constantly fearing it will end is not a way to be grateful. To be grateful, all I have to do is wake up, thank the universe for cosmically coming together to form my atoms, and live the gift to its fullest.

This realization happened in the small space of my Cougar in a matter of seconds, but those seconds were enough to make an impression. I will grapple with fear for the rest of my life – hell, I haven’t even crossed off more than one item on my gonna list of frights – but I will also be eternally grateful for the fact that I have things to be frightened about losing.

From now on, whenever I’m feeling the rush of dread edge closer to me, I will remind myself of all of the things I can’t believe have been somehow placed in this universe so close to me:
My family, who for all their imperfections, becomes more perfect every year. // My friends, most of whom I’ve somehow kept my entire life. // My love, who is literally the best person on this planet for me and in some miracle, ended up only counties away. // My pets, who are the cutest bundles of insanity I’ve ever met. // My health, no matter its ebb and flow. I can workout, I can lose weight, I don’t have to starve myself. // My brain, which has a capacity I still don’t know the ends of. // My job, which actually gives me a chance to make a difference in hundreds of other peoples lives. // The fact that I know what really matters IS making a difference in other peoples lives. // All the art, food, film, music, people, events, politics, discoveries, and adventures I get to bare witness to. // My home, my senses, my laugh…
…all of it deserves so much more thanks than I will ever be able to give it, but I can start by being gracious enough to enjoy them every day of my life.
And a laugh for the road…