Oh shit, was yesterday Thanksgiving? Did anybody eat any turkey and stuff? And if so, did you take a picture of it so that I don't feel like I missed anything? Can you post it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, too? Can you also talk about how delicious it was? What? You already did? Oh yeah. I HAVEN'T MISSED ANY OF YOUR TURKEY-GRAVY-STUFFING-BOOZE-VEGAN THANKS/FRIENDSGIVINGS. I HAVEN'T BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK.
Just kidding, guys. You know I love seeing how much more awesome your holiday was than mine. Even though mine did comprise of 13 amazing people, 5 dogs, 3 pies that you wish you could have had singing in your mouth and 2 badass games of charades. One of which included phrases such as "the artist formerly known as prince" and "genocide" (you can blame my brother for those). I acted the SHIT out of genocide. Thanks for having my back, Grandma.
Ever since I stopped going out of town for Thanksgiving -- or maybe since I dropped out of school and have a job that doesn't call for four-day turkey weekends -- the holiday seems to be shrinking. It's become confined to the one day, in the middle of the week, that flies by as quickly as it came barreling down at us. It's like a brief, violent firework that signals the first of 40 days of bloating, booze and being broke (TAKE THAT, alliteration).
That's not to say that I don't love the holidays. I LOVE the holidays. But sometimes, in the middle of the days that actually constitute them, I find myself slipping back to other time zones. On occasion I hear myself speak, or see from above how I sneak into the background to chop potatoes, or find myself asking over and over again what I can do to help, that I remember my little-kid self. I find myself occupying a mold I created a long time ago within my family unit: one of peace keeper, one of Perfect Eldest, one of Thou Whom Has Thine Shit Together. And sometimes when I see myself in this light again I want to whack that saucepan full of cranberry sauce over my head and shout WAKE UP, MOTHERFUCKER!
Because look, Here's The Thing:
The holidays are that perfect time of the year -- regardless of your current or past relationship with your family -- that bring up all the years that have come between Birth and Now. There's something about being with all the people that have seen you through that life -- not to mention helped shape it -- that pulls out all the best and worst in ourselves. It's hard to take a step back from everything and remember what you are at the current moment when there are so many reminders of what you've been before it swimming around you.
I absolutely adore my family. I couldn't ask for a group of more loving, supportive, endearingly obnoxious or thrillingly loony people than what I've got. They have worked infinitely hard at being healthy, strong and mutually supportive. But there's no denying that with every family comes baggage, and the holidays are the perfect time for all of it to come tumbling out and trip you down the stairs.
The Mother and I used to get into explosive arguments nearly every single holiday when I was growing up. After I started taking a look at myself and the person I had grown into, it was easier to see where that dynamic came from. We were both fulfilling rolls that we had created and we were both working our ways out of them. It's easy to see after you've done some digging where your patterns are. And after you've learned to see those paths more clearly, it's a hell of a lot easier to change their direction.
Of course we all grow into different people after we've moved out of our parents' houses, formed our own identities, claimed our unique lives. But if you find yourself becoming lost in it around this time of year, just remember that it's a collective thing. It's the ground zero of all the poignant moments in our lives that gets sticky when somebody spills the cranberry sauce. And it's the strength needed to say "yes," "no," or "maybe."