Let’s Be Thankful Year-Round
I’ve never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving. In fact, if I had to rank my holidays it would probably be last on the list.
When I was a kid it started because I didn’t understand why this was the only day we were supposed to be thankful compound with the fact that my mom went insane with insisting she host the entire meal/event herself, thus going even crazier than her baseline.
When I finally learned (not in school because they kind of skim over that shit– I learned way more from “Addams Family Values“) about what we did to the Native Americans when we first came to this country I was horrified not just at the actions, but at the fact that we somehow angled it so we could celebrate it as a national holiday!
“We cannot break bread with you. You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, and you will play golf. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They said do not trust the pilgrims. And especially do not trust Sarah Miller. For all these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.” – Wednesday Addams
Today, I still think celebrating Thanksgiving can be an ignorant act. You’d be surprised how many people truly don’t know the Native Americans’ tragic story. Does that mean you shouldn’t utilize the day off from work to eat delicious foods with your family? No, not necessarily. But it’s important to be aware of the roots of the things we do.
Today, I still think taking only one day out of 365 to take note of what you’re grateful for is bullshit. That’s why I prompt you guys to do it at least once a week with the things that happened recently. Today, I think is a good day for taking stock of all the BIG things we’re grateful for. Larger concepts, people, ideas, and privileges.
The pictures here are a little series of installations I did a few years in a row, where I just taped posters up to poles, asking people on the street to write down what they’re thankful for. I zoomed in on one so you could see what they said.
Below in the comments, I’d like you to think about the larger things in your life you can be grateful for. What is absolutely amazing about your life/being alive that you are so lucky enough to experience? Big picture thinking. I’ll go first!
* Being able to see in color * Never having to worry about where I’ll sleep tonight * Being a race that isn’t oppressed (which doesn’t mean I think my race is better, but I can’t not acknowledge the privileges that come with it) * The way the human body can regenerate things like hair, fingernails, and skin * The ability to communicate with other human beings, and how we’ve found ways to do so even when something gets in the way like a hearing disability or vocal chords not working * The magic of sleep – how it fuels us, but also how we don’t understand it * How many cultures there are to experience in this world and how it’s so unlikely we’ll never get to fully immerse ourselves in all of them — thus, the world being a total mystery * Animals! All of the animals’ complete natural instincts and innocence * Clean drinking water * Accessible medicine * Having my dad in my life * The feeling you get when you’re surprised by something * Rainbows and waterfalls * Being born a gender I identify with and not having to struggle with self-loathing due to social constructs that shouldn’t exist * The ability to fall in love, and know what that means / Joe * Synesthesia * Transportation that makes it possible to travel to places that hundreds of years ago would have taken a lifetime or two * When I see a stranger help another stranger