Dear readers, I seem to have slipped into an unforeseen hiatus. The lack of posts can be credited to a number of things, including being buried in work and job applications, a week of travel, holiday plans, and a heavy heart. But as I’ve said before, sometimes even when blogging feels like the last thing I want to do, I usually end up feeling better after I’m back at it. And I know sharing some belated Thanksgiving reflections will certainly remind me of how abundant this wild and precious life of mine really is, so here goes….
The weekend before Thanksgiving, I was at my annual national academic conference. I am thankful for a career that I love, as difficult and precarious as it may be. I am grateful that when my academic community gathers together, I feel hopeful about using academia as a means of political and social change. I am thankful for the opportunity to see my academic family at least once a year in these spaces we share over ideas and drinks. I am thankful for community and for friendship and for theory. I am thankful for inspiration in unexpected places. I am thankful for mentors.
I got to spend a whole week in Cleveland for the holiday. I am thankful for a job that allows me, for holiday breaks and summers, to do work wherever I want. I am grateful that even though I still had a lot of work to do, that I actually enjoy my work. I am thankful for the delicious juxtaposition that is sitting in a coffee shop listening to cozy christmas music while planning a lesson on the NSA, and that those silly pairings are the patchwork fabric of my day job.
I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for the memories of those who have recently passed, and the stories we share about them that makes it feel like they are right there in the room with us. I am thankful for the primarily strong health of my family and that my mom has insurance to see doctors finally. I am thankful that everyone is employed right now. I am thankful for feeling accepted by my family, for never once doubting their love or support. I am thankful for all the vegan food that was prepared for me and that I helped prepare, with love.
I am thankful for my friends from home. For the women whom I have known from 4, 5, and 6 years old, who I don’t see for a full year, but who share with me the ability to pick up right where we left off. And for the friends I made the summer before I moved away, the group who I would end up sharing one of my most favorite traditions—our vegan Thanksgiving that we’ve been doing without fail for 12 years!
And words cannot express how thankful I am to be honorary auntie to this light of my life. He has added a brightness and joy to my world that I didn’t think was possible and I am so glad to call his mom my longest best friend.
For myself and for our world, I am thankful for the fighters and resisters who get out of bed everyday and participate in the struggle against capitalism and white supremacy.
I am thankful for yoga and for resilience for getting me through what has surely been the hardest 18 months of my life. Last year around this same time, I made a decision to break my own heart (and another heart) by ending a relationship. This year, those wounds still haven’t fully healed, and somehow my heart has managed to find ways to crack in new spots along the way. A weary heart puts a damper on the holidays, and I’ve found it hard last year and this year to get in the festive spirit. This is very unfortunate, because I *love* this time of year, and am usually the first one singing Christmas songs to profess my glee. Not so much last year or this. But when I take my yoga off the mat, and practice presence and breathing through hard times, I am able to find glimmers of joy amidst the cloud of uncertainty and pain that have hovered over my days. I am so grateful for those moments and I work everyday to choose more joy.
Things have not been easy, but they have felt significant and transformative. Sugar says, “I used to see a butterfly in my mind’s eye every time I heard the word transformation, but life has schooled me. Transformation isn’t a butterfly. It’s the thing before you get to be a pretty bug flying away. It’s huddling in the dark cocoon and then pushing your way out….It’s the messy work you have ahead of you…of making sense of your fortunes and misfortunes, desires and doubts, hangups and sorrows, actions and accidents, mistakes and successes, so you can go on and become the person you must next become. The one who doesn’t wallow in her own despair.” (I am thankful to have so many reasons to not wallow in despair, despite a slew of misfortunes, and doubts, and sorrows, and mistakes.)
I am thankful it is December 1st. And as hard as it feels this year, I am going to sing at the top of my lungs to all the Christmas songs I hear.