Thursday, November 26th, marks some special holidays for Americans. There’s National Cake Day, which is where we sing that one DNCE song. There’s National Day of Mourning, which is kind of a big deal if you or a loved one have ever lived with or been a Native. And then there’s FUCK YEAH THANKSGIVING [ELECTRIC GUITAR WAILS] [FIREWORKS] [DEAD TURKEY SOUNDS]. And that’s the one I’m going to talk about today, because I’m not well and I need help but I also have to keep things together for my children.
Many of my social media followers aren’t American, and of those some of you aren’t Canadian (who have your own day of Thanks but it’s held earlier because you guys just have so much to be thankful for) so I’ll walk you through what the holiday is. Legend has it, once upon a time, after Columbus had discovered America, there where some white people called the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were an awesome god-fearing race of people who were kicked out of England because, like all Greek Tragedies, the king had heard that some day Americans would kick his ass so he did “the thing” that initiated a self-serving prophecy.
One day, the Pilgrims were harvesting their wheat and grain and yams and marshmallows from their respective wheat trees, grain trees, yam trees, and marshmallow bushes when they decided to throw a three day party. Why? Who knows, the Pilgrims were allegedly pretty anti-partying so this was new for them. The Pilgrims had a lot to be thankful for, such as the fact a whole bunch of natives had died earlier to diseases. Also, only half of the Pilgrims had died the winter prior – the other half had lived! God’s plan was gracious that winter! Also there was an native and his name was Squanto, which was totally his name and not totally some sort of semi-racist way of twisting his actual name.
As a result, every Thanksgiving day, Americans come together, and share gifts, just like the natives and Americans of old. Back then, the natives taught Americans how to hunt and fish and talk and stuff, and the Americans in turn gave the natives Manifest Destiny! Yay!
There’s some historical fuckery that happens after the point, like how when America became a Real Country (TM) the President of the United States used to define the date in which the holiday was supposed to be celebrated, but now the Greatest Nation in the World gathers together every Fourth Thursday of November to get into huge family fights over a table, eating delicious foods and complaining about politics and other races.
What does this have to do with me? Well, for starters, I’ll be cooking for my kids, and no one else, which is a pretty big depressing thing in its own right. Also, I am not a great cook. Like, on a scale of one to 10, I’m like… a 5. 6 if there’s instructions on the box. Also also, I’ll be cooking Turkey, and my kids are not the biggest fans of it. I’ll also be super exhausted, because I’ll be working a 10 hour shift up until the morning of Thanksgiving. Which is great, because we’re in a timeline where a lot of people don’t have that luxury! But it means I’ll be exhausted, preparing food no one really wants to eat, and spending it kind of alone with my kids while on Facebook my birth family continues to spar with each over about Qanon, how the election was stolen by The Grinch or something, and also how certain people they despise drink the blood of children to gain power (yet none of my family who believe this are willing to drink the blood of children to become powerful themselves. Yet they expect me to pull myself up from my bootstraps? Pathetic.)
Also, dear reader, you might not have noticed but this year has been A THING. Almost a third of a million Americans alone have died from some virus that’s supposedly not even real, but the result of 5G and birds needing their batteries changed. Several people from work have tested positive; one is believed to have died (although others at work, being deniers, insist there were other influences.) If my extended family is to be believed, the entire city of Minneapolis burned down as part of a ploy by Black Lives Matter to ensure we all become Communist, which is sad apparently despite the fact literally none of them are from or have been to the city. There was an election and the nation moved slightly south-west on the political compass and apparently that’s gonna be the death of the nation. My wife left in February. Trying to be understanding and supportive there but there’s been complications.
All this, at a time of year when historically friends and family members have killed themselves or died. Suicide or cancer, which will it be?
Now I know what some of you are thinking: woah, keep that shit to yourself, we don’t care about your mental health and your kids would do better in a more stable household anyways! No need to worry about me, dear reader; I’m so used to being unwell at this point I’d be worried if I ever could go through a day without having an anxiety attack, thinking about how worthless I am, or alternatively going through a manic spiral where nothing gets done but at least I feel on top of the world. It’ll take more than crippling self doubt to bring me down. But it does taint the world around me, how I see it, how it tastes to me… and this year just hits a little different. It’s like being used to be punched in the gut, and then one day you flex your stomach muscles to take the hit and someone kicks you square in the balls instead. With steel toe boots. While calling you out on things you did wrong ten years ago.
That said, in the spirit of the holiday, I still can be Thankful with a capital T. I’m Thankful I get to spend time with my children, and watch them grow up and show more of their personality and who they are. I’m thankful I have a job at a time over 10% of America can’t even find one. I’m thankful that I’ve found a few communities that, while maybe not accepting me for me still allow me to contribute and share with them.
I think a lot of Americans grow up believing they are in The Greatest Country in the World and can “take on anything” and then are surprised when little things get them down, like, American soldiers died for your freedom and you’re spending that freedom being sad? The gall! That’s all part of the fairy tale, that bleeds into this holiday much like the blood of the English bleed into the soil during the Jamestown Massacre of 1622. I think it’s good to be thankful, to take a deep breath and see some of the silver lining. But that comes with the understanding that the silver lining is found on clouds that are worthless as they can’t be bought, sold, or tamed and they tend to kill 2000 people yearly like the murderous fiends they are.
It’s okay to be Thankful. Encouraged, even. But it’s also okay to admit there’s a lot to be crushed about. Just keep at it. Teamwork makes the dream work, imagine what it can make a nightmare do.