Thanksgiving is a holiday that means little to me. I have no particularly fond memories of the day. My childhood memories are all blurred together by weeklong travels to Ft. Pierce so my parents could participate in the East Florida Primitive Baptist Association Convention. As a child that meant attending church services after church services, always on the prowl for another child to befriend. To pass notes with. Anything to stay awake during those long sermons that all merged into one. Thanksgiving dinner was usually shoved in between two of the monotonous services. Always carefully eating not to soil whatever pretty little dress I had on.
The one time we didn’t go, my parents opted to attend my mother’s family reunion in South Carolina. The Thanksgiving dinner came from Cracker Barrel-which I boycotted. My meal for that day consisted of Frosted Flakes and Oreos…together. I know now that those aren’t a good combination. My subsequent sickness was not the highlight of the trip, the highlight came during the drive home. The windows in my father’s car broke and wouldn’t roll up. My brothers and I had to huddle together to remain warm with the 30 degree cold infiltrating the backseat.
Last year I was home in West Palm Beach for Thanksgiving , making it the second time I can remember being there for the holiday. And the first time I spent it with family. Spending holidays with family is usually code for me making a plate and bringing it back to my room to eat alone.
The revolutionary in me (which is sometimes subdued by the Republican in me) – is anti-Thanksgiving because of it racist and paternalistic origins. Shout out to those who participate in the National day of Mourning instead of Thanksgiving.
The Christian in me is anti-Thanksgiving because it promotes gluttony-one of the seven deadly sins.
The pork enthusiast in me is anti-Thanksgiving because it privileges turkey over the pig. And I hate Turkey…its so dry and a very awkward looking animal.
Here in Phoenix, away from family and friends, the desire to do anything on this day is at an all time low for me. None of the Thanksgiving day invites extended to me seemed appealing. Somehow eating with a bunch of semi-strangers who couldn’t or didn’t want to go home- didn’t sound too appealing. Especially since I am not sure what type of food white people eat for Thanksgiving…but I am sure it’s not fried and southern like I want it.
After reading some emails from a listserv/ yahoo group I am apart of, I reconsidered my pessimism and focused on what I am thankful for…
This year- 2010. I am thankful for two people who never ask or want me to be anything other than myself. Who give me space to grow and the courage to dream big. My biggest supporters/fans- My parents. They still manage to love me (no matter what) despite my many test of their love…
“Mom and Dad, I’m pregnant”
“Mom, I’m getting married-tomorrow”
“Mom, I am transgender”
“I’m a drug addict”
or whatever other foolishness I can make up as “confessions”
There answer is always “Ok, Tab-lets talk about it.” Despite the implausibility or unlikeliness of my “confessions”.
I will spend the majority of today home- writing papers and reading. Then dinner with my friend and her family (the only invitation from a real family/ black people I got). If I am productive enough maybe I will go out line dancing or for a drink.
To all who might be reading this- Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are spending it the way you want, with the people you want. If you can’t find anything to be thankful for, you can just be thankful for knowing Tab.