So your sitting at the Dinner table, engulfed by the aroma of your favorite holiday foods. You look across the table and see your brother giving too much affection to his, recently-proposed-to fiancé. She is gorgeous. You are slightly jealous. You find yourself sitting without the love of your life, instead you are wedged between your aunt and uncle- the ones from out of town. These are the ones who have enough time and money to travel whenever and wherever they want.
Your aunt and uncle have the hugest, most fake looking smiles pasted across their faces. They seem robotic, smiling so hard and insincerely that it seems they won’t even be able to chew their food. You wonder if it is even possible to be this happy, especially at this time of year.
You try to smile but it hurts (literally hurts) your face. You’re unhappy and you find it difficult to conceal the piece of your heart you wear on your sleeve. Then it happens. Its your turn. Now you must tell the entire family what you are most thankful for today.
You want to scream! You hate this part. You are kinda happy that everyone around you is happy and full of gratitude- but you simply aren’t happy and you’ve decided for whatever reason, you don’t wish to express your gratitude today.
Are you an evil person because you don’t want to go through a pretentious song and dance for tradition’s sake? Are you are you insane because you aren’t as overjoyed as those around you? Are you somehow flawed because, for you, this is just another day on the calendar?
The is answer is “No.” You are not evil, insane or broken. You are, however, human. And as a human you have dozens of emotions that you are capable of experiencing. Unfortunately for most of us, our emotions don’t change just because a particular day insists that we should be grateful.
Relax. Your among a family of many other humans who can’t just switch their emotions on and off with the simple change of date. Perhaps you’ve lost you’re loved one, your sister, dad, or bestfriend. Perhaps, you’ve found yourself in a horrible financial down spiral that will takes months to repair. Or perhaps, you’re like me and your marriage is on the rocks and you know the demise of your relationship is both eminent and quickly approaching.
Is it not reasonable to expect the prevailing emotional state of someone going through any of these devastating trials to be something other than gratitude? Is it too much to grasp that not everyone is happy or in the holiday spirit when the holidays roll around? For some of us, the holidays are more reminders of the lives we wish we had, or the people who we will never share another holiday with.
I personally am in a good place this year. I’m generally content with the state of my life as a whole. I am going through some personal issues, but we will talk about those in due time. I just look back and remember years past where I couldn’t find very much gratitude on Thanksgiving Day, or much holiday spirit on Christmas Day. And during those times, there was little solace for me as I sat ’round the dinner table surrounded by smiling faces.
So this year, I’m dedicating this blog to all those who are lonely, bereaved, and in dire straits. I recognize that it’s not that you don’t have anything to be grateful for, but that gratitude may not be the prevailing emotion on your mind. So if this describes you, sip your drink, paste a huge smile on your face, and give gratitude a huge “Screw You!”. Remember, you are entitled to feel how you feel, and more than likely, you are not the only one who may not find much reason to celebrate this holiday.