Annual Flaunting of Gratitude
[An audio version of this podcast is available HERE]
Flaunt is a strong word, but it's funny. Keep up.
The following is a circumscribed list of things I'm currently thankful for. I'm sharing this list for a few reasons:
1. My life is not glamorous, but it doesn't suck. Hopefully, yours doesn't suck either, but even if it does kind of suck right now, you can probably think of a few things to be grateful for. Air, for instance, is an easy addition to any gratitude list.
2. In a world built by narcissist for narcissists, it is natural and good to tell the universe all the wonderful things about me and my life. In the spirit of full transparency, I'll also share some of the bad.
3. A #Daily #Gratitude #Practice is difficult to maintain amidst the mire of my super-busy-but-fairly-unimportant-life. You might feel the same. So, take this Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019, as your annual opportunity to cleanse your soul a bit. Shall we?
Things I'm grateful For
1. Family, Friends, People I Don't Hate
This is number one, for obvious reasons. The people in my life make life worth living, make life fun, make life memorable, beautiful and full. Nothing I do or accomplish in life would be satisfying or worth anything without people to share it with. Like Maya Angelou famously said, "People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." Cue Abba
2. A Job I Don't Hate
I *truly* love my work, not because I love writing grants or begging (asking?) for money, but because I know that the funds I raise will help people in need. Making a living by helping others is an actual, certified blessing. I could be hawking over-priced essential oils on a street corner in Venice and be wildly unhappy. (If you're a happy essential oil hawker, more power to you).
3. Chub Chub (Obviously)
Who said a picture is worth a thousand words?
4. Physical Health
I recently had my annual physical, and my body is ticking away on all necessary cylinders, and probably some unnecessary ones, too. My body is strong enough to climb up mountains, and feeble enough to tear open when I fall while running up mountains. This August, I had precancerous cells removed from my cervix, and now I'm pre-cancer free. The minute I start feeling invincible is usually the moment I something goes sideways. For now, I'm just grateful that nothing is sideways.
5. Resources To Help My Mental Health
I currently see a therapist and a dietitian to help me manage my eating disorder and the anxiety that comes along with it. I don't pay any out of pocket costs for these services, but I didn't always have that luxury. I'm grateful for my insurance, my mental healthcare providers, and every mental healthcare provider. That shit isn't easy.
6. The Necessary Bits
No gratitude list would be complete without the grey, boring bits we so easily overlook: running water, electricity, a car, air, a functioning liver, a lack of laryngitis, food, teeth, nostrils, showers, utensils, elevators, public transportation, sidewalks, curtains, coffee, the internet, etc, etc, etc.
I recently wrote a poem about all the things I'd say to a daughter (if I had one), and all the things I wish I'd been told as a young girl. One of my favorite lines is, "make a list of things you adore and put yourself first: you, the moon, strawberry jam, holding hands, music and dancing and people who don't shy away. don't shy away from yourself, girl." According to my poem, I should be first on this list instead of down here at number seven, but I digress. Give thanks for you, too, because your life would definitely be worse without you in it.
8. Time To Pursue Everything I Love
When people ask me what I do for fun, I always say, "I run and I write." Sometimes, I get a lukewarm response like, "Is that it?" But hear me out. I want to be really good at the things I do, and therefore spend a lot of time running and writing. I'm thankful I have the time and ability to pursue both with such vigor. Many people don't have the time, or a clear sense of direction.
9. The Place I Live
Life can be messy and stressful and annoying. But, it would be eons messier and stressier and uglier if I lived in a place I hated. The beach is nearby, mountains are close, and there's a goddamn palm tree outside my bedroom window. Best of all, I live close to the things I love (miles of trails and a community of writers). As every good real estate agent says, "Location Matters!"
10. This Blog, And Everyone Who Reads It
I'm thankful for you! Nothing makes me happier than when people reach out to give me feedback on this blog. Some who've had eating disorders themselves, some family members of people with eating disorders. Some, who have always wanted to voice a thing I write about but couldn't find the words. This blog wouldn't exist if you weren't here to read it. From the top of my heart, thank you.
To My Unborn Daughter
stand up straight, girl
don’t close up your heart like that
don’t let that fire burn out
fall asleep to the sound of your own pounding heart
don’t ever think a lover can fix you, girl
you don’t ever need that kind of fixing
make a list of things you adore
and put yourself first:
you, the moon, strawberry jam
holding hands, music and dancing
and people who don’t shy away
don’t shy away from yourself, girl
wrap ribbons around your own neck
zip your own dress
don’t let anyone take the spring from your step
collect butterflies and swallow them whole
don’t ever let go of the girl inside your own veins
who believed in magical kingdoms far far away
where the hurt couldn’t get to her, girl
do not look away from those who condemn you
look up and say, I am a kingdom
and when the urge to run scratches
the back of your throat, have a cough drop
stand up and swallow your pride
you are nothing and everything at the same time
do not mourn the days you lost hiding
do not be ashamed of nights you spent crying
tears are tiny rivers, and baby girl
nothing is stronger than water
drink it up, but don’t let it drown you
I want you to breathe out, hard
when life feels too full
stand up straight, learn to play Für Elise
across keys of your rib cage
and when your Momma says
I love you
I want you to believe her
when your daddy holds your hand
squeeze it tight
do not be afraid of the night
do not be afraid of anything, girl
you can slay monsters
with those piercing blue eyes
you are nothing and everything
at the same time
girl, square those shoulders
stand tall and proud
don’t ever let your fire burn out