Since it is Thanksgiving week, I want to list all of the things for which I am grateful. It’s rare for me to take time out to do this kind of thing. I may write a few things down here and there, or bring up something at dinner, but I don’t reflect on the good things as often as I reflect on the bad things. There’s something wrong with that. I need to start reflecting on the good more than the bad, recognize all the positive happenings and advantages that I have rather than focusing on the things I lack. All that does is make me sad, and I really don’t need anything else contributing to my near weekly fights with my resident rain cloud.
So, here goes.
1) I am grateful for my education. I have had the opportunity to attend public and private school. I went to a four-year college right out of high school. I am in graduate school. My mother wants me to get a doctorate. As a black woman, I recognize that many things work against me. However, I have had many wonderful opportunities. A lot of girls and young women don’t get the opportunity or support to even finish primary school. I’m talking about 1st-12th grade. Malala Yousafzai was shot for wanting an education. I am eternally grateful that my family values education. Starting with my mother’s generation, we have all graduated high school and many of us have an associates, BA/BS, or some college coursework completed. That’s pretty impressive for a low-income black family from the deep country of Louisiana.
2) I am grateful for my job. I have had the pleasure to be near consistently employed for the last seven years. I phrase it that way, because the I didn’t have a job during the summers of 2008 and 2009. My first official job was an assistant at my parents’ dry cleaners. Chong, an older Korean lady, was nice enough to give me a job the summer of 2007. It was quiet, sometimes boring, but a nice way to spend the summer. I made money, and she could focus on alterations while I loaded laundry and helped customers. When I was in undergrad, I took various office jobs and was a philosophy tutor for three and a half years. The summer I turned twenty, I got a job at MESW. If you’ve been with me for a while, that’s the job that drove me to smoke briefly near the end my three years there. In January of this year, I got a job at West, my library. 🙂 I love it. It keeps me content in life, despite the constant interactions with people. I’m lucky. Many people are struggling and have been struggling to find work that fulfills them, and here I’ve got it. I was promoted last week. I have a full-time job, in a library. How crazy is that? Do you know how many people never get their dream job or get it and discover that it isn’t what they want? I get to do what I love everyday for the forseeable future in the town where I grew up. Maybe one day I’ll want to move, but for now…I’m content and grateful.
3) I am grateful for my amazing friends. This past year, I have made new friends, reconnected with old friends, lost some friends. It has been a relatively smooth year, with no major blow ups on the friend front. I went on a cruise with my best friend. We had a ton of fun, lay on the beach, read books, drank a lot. I toasted the end of the Dark Ages with another best friend. We’ve been through a lot together. Trying to imagine life without her is hard and unacceptable. I am better friends with 2/3 of the 3 amigas. We have some great talks, drink wine, and enjoy each others company. It is good.
4) I am grateful for my artists. This includes my tattoo artists, the people who drew what would become my tattoos, the musicians that have touched me with their songs, the authors that have gotten me through. Where would I be without these fabulous people? What sort of art would I have on my skin? Would I have art on my skin? I don’t know. These things and people make me who I am, they tell my story. I see myself in the words and art of others. If I couldn’t do that, didn’t know that others have been where I have been and made it through, that others have struggled and triumphed in ways similar to mine, I’d be dead.
5) I am grateful for my coworkers. They believe in me like crazy. Wen I am unsure of myself, their confidence in m makes me believe that I can do it. When I went for the new job, my PC, my supervisor, the lady who would become my supervisor, and FT were all excited for me. They kept asking me if I was going to apply. They really wanted me to do it. I contemplated not going for the job, because I was afraid that I couldn’t do it well and that I wasn’t ready. I met with my supervisor the day the jobs opened and explained to her my fears. She really set my mind at ease. We talked about what the new job entails and did a mock interview right then and there. 2/3 of the Three Musketeers helped me do a mock interview while traipsing through the woods. These two sessions helped me see the questions coming and formulate answers that were coherent and not random.
6) I am grateful for my family. I have four parents, one mom and three dads. I have seven brothers and sisters and three step sisters. I have nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, a god-daughter, and countless cousins. They are all beautiful and intelligent, even when they don’t seem like it. I may not have grandparents anymore, with the exception of a step-grandmother, but when I had them…they were awesome.
A short, but meaningful list. Take the time out of your day to list what you’re grateful for, it can really put things into perspective. Until next time.