Thanksgiving Alone

This Thanksgiving my ex took the kids to her parents’ in LA. With nowhere to go, it was my intention to make Thanksgiving merely mean “Thursday off work.” I would read and write and run — enjoy my solitude. I had no complaints. I would be fine. Living alone I thought, “How could another simple Thursday occur in a qualitatively different way just because it was also called ‘Thanksgiving’ that day?” I have no idea.

I think I must think I’m more disconnected than I am, as if I’m not a product of a culture in which a holiday occurred. You know? I experienced Thanksgiving as a kind of pressure, not thought, but pressure descending on the city and my person to be grateful for, and with, my family. But I wasn’t. They weren’t here. And I couldn’t talk Thanksgiving into being Thursday or myself into being okay.

I don’t even eat turkey.

I spent most of my Thanksgivings in Michigan with the same eight people and four of them are dead. I knew, I was completely aware, that if I just put on my running shoes and kicked off five, I would be fine. But I didn’t. I was completely baffled by my inability to navigate that day. The distance between gratitude and self-pity is minuscule, a little swing in perspective, but I couldn’t pull it off. I went to the movies and ate popcorn, more aware of myself as a lone figure at the movies on Thanksgiving than the movie itself.

You would no doubt like to see this story turn around. Me too. I don’t think it does.

Because the only epiphany I had in that movie theater was that the life I wanted and the life I had were completely at odds. The life I wanted appeared to me as a jail cell and I couldn’t escape. I was trapped inside a bunch of ideas that didn’t exist. I couldn’t even see through the bars to see the life I had with the hope of learning how to appreciate it. I was not grateful. I gave no thanks.

Saturday, I took the kids out to lunch and we ate burritos while I edited my son’s essay about Vincent Van Gogh. I told them: See? This is life as it is, the one we’re living, the one we could never make up. We’re eating burritos and talking Van Gogh and this — it’s good enough. My son asked if I was crazy. I said If I was crazy, I would never tell you. He thought this was fair enough. I’m getting too old to imagine cures for depression.

Read more from me at Black Hockey Jesus,

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Recent posts: A Bubble Of Solitude Around My ChildrenDiscussing Delayed Gratification With My Son,  My Daughter’s Halloween CostumeGetting Locked Out Of The House With My DaughterThe Rapidly Developing Interiority Of My SonMy Daughter’s Transience And Inevitable DeathBeing a Divorced DadTaking My Kids To The Salad PlaceMy Son Becoming A Real Person, My Daughter Reading To Me

Tagged as: , , ,

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Learn More.