To all of my American and US followers, Happy Thanksgiving! For everyone else, Happy Random Thursday! Regardless of if you celebrate this holiday or not, for whatever your reasons may be, I hope everyone’s day is a good and pleasant day filled with happiness and joy.
As I sit reflecting on what I am most thankful for in my life, which is of course my little family. And to have a home to call my own… But as I reflect back, I remember the horrid holidays of my childhood. There was always happy memories to be found, true, but there were also the bad times. My siblings and I could always tell when it would be a horrible holiday when my mom woke up in a good mood. It meant that my dad would go out of his way to upset her, and thus ruin another holiday. If she woke up in a bad mood, then we knew it would be a typical holiday in our house (which wasn’t necessarily a good one, but it wouldn’t be horrid either). It wasn’t until 2009, when I made this comic panel, that I came to realize that just because my dad was an asshole, and my mom was in a bad mood, that didn’t mean I had to be in a bad mood and not enjoy the day.
In 2009, one of my older sisters came to visit for the holiday. She didn’t exactly want to, but she had to. I forget the reason, but she couldn’t go to my grandmother’s, as she usually did. So she came to Florida to stay with us for the week. Mom was working (she lost her job not long after this) and I was unemployed and not in college at the time, but going back to school at the start of 2010. So, all but the turkey were left for me to do for Thanksgiving dinner that evening. I woke up in a good mood, my mom in a good mood, and my sister… along with our baby sister… in a terrible mood. Because they saw mom in a good mood to start with. That day, I just chose to keep smiling. At the time, as well, I was in treatment for Bipolar type 2 Disorder and was responding well to my medication. I was in therapy, and life was pretty good. So I made the choice to just have a good day. My sisters on the other hand, kept getting angry because I wouldn’t get angry. I wouldn’t get upset or worry. I was just happy, smiling, and even humming and singing Christmas carols in the kitchen as I worked away on dinner prep.
The result was, yeah, mom got angry later – but that was only after she saw that my sisters were being deliberately bitchy on the holiday, and didn’t even help like they’d been asked. But my positive attitude throughout the day was, for mom, a pleasant surprise when she got home, and it helped keep her in good spirits. Not even my dad could piss her off that Thanksgiving. And yeah, she was angry at my sisters, it wasn’t enough to ruin the holiday, and in the end we both decided that if they wanted to be miserable, then fuck ’em. We were still having a good day.
Ever since that year, even if a holiday is going to be terrible, I’ve approached it from this angle. I might wake up in a sour mood, but if I set out to have a good day, and just do the best that I can, I’ve found that I almost always have a great holiday. People around me could be the most miserable person on Earth, but I smile. I laugh. I CHOOSE not to be angry or upset because it takes far more energy to tell someone off than it does to just be nice.
And in recent years, this approach has helped me so much, in so many ways with so many people, that now I’m not dreading the holidays, any holiday. Hell, I woke up 2 hours early today because I simply couldn’t wait to greet the day, and get started on the cooking, and just enjoy watching my son’s second Thanksgiving unfold, and to just spend time with my family.
So, I’m thankful for my family, for my home, for food on the table, and even for our dog. I’m thankful for the time I have to spend with the people I love, and that I’ve been able to change as much as I have to ensure I build happy memories to go along with the bad ones.