i have had too many thanksgivings spent in excruciating loneliness. some thanksgivings surrounded by a cold hospital bed instead of my family, with the sounds of medical machinery engulfing me rather than laughter, some thanksgivings states away from the place i call home, where my loved ones gather and celebrate without me. i have had them in places so dark i could not eat a bite of the food prepared for me, neither by my grandma’s warm hands, nor even the hospital’s sterile cafeteria. despite all these years of sorrow, in the last year i am proud to say that my soul has grown in ways i never before believed it could. i still feel lost, i still have nights where i choke on my emptiness, but i am utterly alive. alive, and existing as i wholeheartedly felt that i never would.
and so as this year’s thanksgiving neared, i cultivated a hope so dear in my chest that it blossomed in anticipation before the celebrations even began. this was the year, i thought, today was the day. not in six years i had not been out of treatment or able to feed myself on this day, until now.
i will become, i thought. i will become. become, become, become.
and then it all crumbled around me.
my brother screaming, “why are you still here”. here, in this house? no, but he must mean here, alive. oh my god, why. why. why.
why am i here? why am i alive?
my mother, crying. she says she isn’t wanted anywhere.
my grandfather, telling us that this life isn’t his anymore. he isn’t who he used to be.
my beloved grandmother, fear-stricken, scared that we are all drifting, getting swallowed each individually by the black void of disconnection.
the pumpkin pies, that i baked myself, untouched.
“how could this happen?”, i screamed within myself, my voice so overwhelming that it shook my own walls. the picture frames i’d just begun to hesitantly hang in the home within myself, fell. shattered. into a thousand pieces.
i left. my body moved, but my mind was gone. my mum came with me. it was all too much; we both feel much too much.
and then, only in the company of the two of us in our quiet car, we see this sunset. i’ve given you a picture of it, too.
i believed that the loneliness and disconnection i felt at the depths of my eating disorder would vanish when i came into the light of the world. and to that old extreme, it does. but nothing can change the fact that this life is far from perfect. nothing can drive out the hardest feelings of becoming a human once again, not even the most triumphant journey out of darkness.
and in this moment, i remembered once again that this life is one continual flow from chaos to connection, sorrow to love.
i looked at my mum, and i realized that as terrifying as it is to once again be a living part of a family, and a living being in this world, i am so glad to have lived. in this quiet moment, with the woman i adore the most, under the vast sky of swirling colors, i am glad to have lived. i have my entire life to work everything else out, but for now i am here. alive. heart beating. existing. becoming.
thanksgiving is not a day, it is a place. a place of being. a place that we can step into in any moment of our busy lives. a place between breaths, where just for a moment, the weight of being alive is no longer overpowering, it is breathtaking.
it is a place where we can fall in love with the undeniably imperfect nature of our lives, no matter how much we have struggled to finally feel the contentment we’d always believed a full life would entail.
it is a place where the disconnection is only an opportunity to mend.
it is the place where we can learn to hold the heartache with grace, and remember that this life is long.
the thankfulness of existence. we still have so much more to become.
and so if your day yesterday broke you more than healed you, i am here to tell you that that is more than okay. i am so so glad you are alive.
i hope that one day, your life can be a continual home of thanksgiving, for your soul is worthy of so much light.
thank you for existing.
thank you, thank you, thank you.