There's Always Room for Gratitude
Having a grateful spirit is important all year round. I try and practice this every day, not just as we enter the holiday season. Especially not as a part of the colonizers fairy-tale of the first Thanksgiving. I wanted to share some of the things I am most grateful for and share how even in our toughest moments, there is still room for gratitude.
I Am Grateful For . . .
I am grateful for failing. It’s hard for me to say that I fear failing any longer (in the past 3 years, I’ve done a fair amount of it). In the past 1.5 years I have failed in my professional life. I quit a job after only 6 months. The work environment was awful and it’s still going to take some time to deal with all the racial trauma I experienced.
In my personal life I fail to choose the wrong people to pursue a relationship. I lost a relationship with someone I considered a best friend for a very long time. The failure so often felt like loss, hurt and confusion. So many times I asked myself if these fails made me a failure and if they were my fault. I’m still not sure.
What I do know is that all of that failure taught me something. I have reevaluated my life and the role of relationships and my career path. For the first time, I feel like I am in control of my next steps. Sometimes the opposite of failure is success, other times it’s experience. I am grateful for the experiences and how they have strengthened me.
I am grateful for my exes. Difficult, sad, angry or painful endings aside, each of my relationships had at least a few lovely moments: a memorable trip to Provincetown, a former lover as intense about snuggling as I am, a partner who went out of her way to make sure I felt special, another partner who used my snoring as a sort of ASMR (no really, they didn't like to sleep in silence) and another who shared a passion for the Harlem renaissance. I am grateful to have these happy memories.
More than those memories, what I'm most grateful for is what I learned from each of my former lovers. I learned about myself. They all contributed to my overall growth. I learned about how to love, how to talk through difficult moments and most significantly, how I wanted to be treated and what I needed from a lover. Though it's doubtful I will share my gratefulness with them (because feelings) I truly am grateful.
I am grateful for my alone time. Moving to a new city meant leaving behind some of the most important people in my life. Communicating with them via social media, texts and google chat will never be enough. I miss seeing their faces and being wrapped in their hugs so very much. In my time alone in a new city, I am even more appreciative of these people and their love. I am finally making adequate time for myself to rest and recover. I’ve learned to prioritize my needs and give them more attention. Even an extreme extrovert like myself needs some downtime. I am grateful for this solitary phase. I am also graciously ready to move on from it.
I am grateful for every curve, every roll, every bit of melanin, every achy joint, jiggle, wiggle, ache, kink and coil in my hair and every pound I’ve been told to lose (‘for my health’). I am grateful for my body. I am grateful to be in love with my body. I have been told so many times that there is something wrong with my body, my skin color, my hair, and weight. l was taught to dislike my body.
Then I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition— it seemed that my body didn’t like me back. I was prescribed medication to help with my condition to varying results. What seems to help most is sending love into my body through yoga, acupuncture, and warm baths. I am grateful for low pain days.
I am grateful for my imperfect body.
Being Out & Proud
I am grateful for coming out—over and over and over. Being a very feminine queer woman means having to share with people regularly that I am in fact queer. I have to correct pronouns. I have to pass on conversations about my ideal man. I have to deflect on questions about why I don’t have a husband. It’s exhausting. I often hate doing it. I wish people would stop assuming things about my life. Yet, mixed in with that annoyance is a lot of gratitude. A few years ago I didn’t think being this out and proud wasn’t even a possible.
I am so grateful to be living my truth out loud.
This year I am grateful for the stormy seasons I have faced. I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me. I am grateful for how my struggles and disappointments have helped me grow and challenged me to be a better version of myself. I am most grateful for the rainbow that has followed the storms.
Dear reader, what are you grateful for?