if your Thanksgiving (and birthday and Halloween and Labor Day and any old given day…) doesn’t feel weird this year, you’re not doing the pandemic right. Take your ass home, go to your room now, and think long and hard about how your actions are affecting everyone else, not just you, and don’t come out until you feel weird, like the rest of us do.
if your gratitude feels a little (maybe a lot) off this year…if your skin feels oddly ill-fitting at the same time as you laugh riotously playing Cards Against Humanity (who thinks up those god-awful answers to the questions?! And can I get a job there?) with your family on Zoom at the same time as you think if you never partake in another fucking Zoom call the rest of your life, it’ll be too soon…if all 37 trillion cells of your being ache with yet another anemic version of a family gathering, yet reverberate with curious solidarity when you buy take-out Thanksgiving dinner for five (there’s only one of you) from a local restaurant to help keep their doors open, that you split with your sister and zoom-eat with her, simultaneously choking your food down with tears and feeling the love from so many sources…if you find yourself going to the basement to switch out laundry and instead drag out tubs of holiday decorations even though for weeks you’ve said why bother this year…if you fall asleep crying into your pillow and wake with a vague dread weaving through your veins more days than not, but still find that your heart swells under an expansive blue-black 5 am sky scattered with pinpoints of light while walking your dog…if you find soothing respite in the woods, or by making something—anything—banana bread, an essay, your bed—no matter how crappy (it’s NOT) your stupid (they ARE) internal critics try to convince you otherwise, and every damned time you squash those voices and keep on walking and making, you will never not be not awash in wonder with how it all works, that somehow it’s all connected…
if you manage to get through another day (holidays add an extra uncomfortable helping of weirdness, you’ll need to loosen your belt to make room for the density of it), if it feels like barely some days, even if your phone’s “health” app seems to be giving you the finger, if every day makes you wonder will these dark days will ever end (Biden’s Thanksgiving address might make you feel cautiously maybe? somewhat? soon?…) if you wonder how much more can your poor heart take (you will continually discover, more than you could ever imagine, which usually happens on the precipice of not much more), when your only nourishment some days is coffee and the news (you should really do something about that, btw, starting with stepping away from the news and going for a walk in the woods and hug a tree or ten, or through the neighborhood and pick up some trash, or fill your senses with bird song, wind on your cheeks, ground underfoot…)
in case no one’s told you, you are not losing your mind. Everything is right with you. Everything is working exactly as it should. You are a deep-feeling, compassionate, passionate, wildly complex, sane human being, who can’t help but feel grossly unsettled in this grossly unsettling time, it’s by design. When you experience great loss—and that is what we have experienced in this pandemic, layer upon layer of uncontrollable loss—you will grieve. deeply, righteously, excruciatingly. which, in turn, sets a mysterious, painstaking, inexplicable, life-altering process in place called healing, which is where you catch shimmers of that thing called hope or growth or maybe there’s not a word for it, just a feeling that feels terribly incongruous, wrong even, next to the shit, but it will be the thing, the tiniest of things, that will will build on themselves and become stronger, in time, that will help you move forward, though at the time, it might feel anything but.
And always remember, you are in very good company, even if some days it feels like anything but. It might not look or fee anything like gratitude, but trust me, you are righteously, deservingly, messily steeped in it. xo.