2000-11-06If... november collab, here's a bit of writing inspired by the topic for another collab group.
I am not thankful for...
the question is sitting there, and i walk right up to it. it's so simple.
i am not thankful for bus drivers who disregard the schedule and leave me standing on the cold, slushy corner late at night.
i am not thankful for rude, inconsiderate people.
i am not thankful for people who profess to be Christian, yet hate their neighbors with a most un-Christian vehemence.
i am not thankful for the abuses we have visited upon this planet, and the damage we have done to our home.
i am not thankful for the unwanted gifts my cats leave for me, in the middle of the floor or in my shoes or on my zip drive.
i am not thankful for the limitations that aging imposes on each of us.
i am not thankful for infomercials.
i step back from the question, and wait. it hums quietly, and seems to change. i circle around the other side, and sit to meditate on this new aspect.
it occurs to me that i am not thankful for some things out of lack of attention. i have been blessed with my family. they are not perfect, but they have provided love, and support, as much understanding as they can. there has never been a question that we should be there for each other. we have fought, and screamed and argued, in an effort to connect. walking away was never an option; even if we do not speak to each other for long stretches of time, we are still family, we are part of each others' lives.
that immutable fact has led to carelessness, a kind of ignorance. i am not thankful enough for the warm, difficult, complicated layers of who we are as a family, who we are as individuals, how we have each informed the other in creating ourselves.
i am not thankful for the factors that have eased my progress in life. i am white. we've never been rich, but neither have we been haunted by the spectre of poverty. i was challenged and encouraged to think as a child, and learning has come easily to me. i got into the university of my choice. i've had managers hand me opportunities. but it seems like egotism to acknowledge any of this. i've spent more time looking up, at those ahead of me, envying them, and not been thankful for the gifts i have been given.
i shift around to find a more comfortable spot, and when i look back, the question has changed again.
i am not thankful that some of life's lessons have been learned the hard way; perhaps that's the only way to learn them, but that doesn't make me thankful. the hardest lesson to learn has been love and respect for self.
and i do not appreciate the people who participated. Sumit Kumar Nagpal was my boyfriend for several years in college. he lied to his friends, he lied to his family, he lied to my family, he lied to me. he got kicked out of several schools, including my university, for failing and cheating. he stole. he destroyed my grandfather's garnet signet ring. he was evicted from an apartment, where i had most of my things, and all i was able to salvage was my cat. his roommate assaulted me, trying to get rent money from me. he assaulted me.
and thru it all, i defended him. i played the good girlfriend, alienating friends, isolating myself as those who couldn't get me to see the truth abandoned me. i called my parents from the bus station one afternoon, crying and begging them to help us, and hating them for their refusal. when he was kicked out of my university, the walls collapsed and i couldn't deny the facts any longer. that afternoon was rock bottom for me. the process of separating my self from him, and rebuilding self-image, self-respect, has taken a long time.
it's still a process. and the road has been far from smooth. there have been others, some i've hurt by swinging the pendulum too far and trying to be in control of everything myself, others have hurt me because i went too far and gave all control to them. my ex-husband was certainly a prize lesson.
ultimately, i am grateful for where i am today. but i am not thankful for the pain, and abuse, and mental anguish that contributed to the journey. most days i try to put a positive spin on it, reasoning that i would be a different person, in a different place, and perhaps have missed meeting the friends who mean so much to me today if those negative experiences hadn't happened. but today - fuck it. i'm not in the least bit thankful for the suffering.