Thursday, November 26, 2009

Everything is a gift from the universe

Well, it's Thanksgiving*. I've never written a blog post about Thanksgiving. At this time last year, this blog had not yet been born - though its first birthday is coming up very, very soon! -making this my inaugural happy Thanksgiving post. Bawk bawk, y'all.

Firstly, I should say that this is my first Thanksgiving ever away from my family. (Insert frowny face here.) I decided a couple months ago to visit my BFF C in Chicago instead. My parents were surprisingly receptive to the idea -- they made reservations for themselves and a couple good friends at a fancy restaurant in downtown Birmingham that serves three-course meals on Thanksgiving. I'm kind of jealous, to be honest. I miss my parents, I miss tha Queen B., and I miss the South. But I will be home for Xmas in just under a month for like ten days, so I'm really excited about that.

Life in New York has been such an adjustment for me, and not always an easy one. It's really easy to get caught up in the glamor of being young in New York - going out all the time, sipping on (often free) cocktails, just generally being jaded - and to forget what's really important in life. It seems that the longer I live here, the faster life happens and the less time I have to devote to really important stuff, like thanking the universe for all the amazing things I've been blessed with. So here goes. An open, sincere, unabridged letter to the universe about all the things for which I'm thankful.

1. My family. Although they are far away, which is really hard, I still feel their presence everyday. Were it not for their support, I could never have achieved the things I have, and they are a constant reminder of who I am and where I come from. Life in New York is complicated, and my parents' lives are so simple in comparison - and I don't mean that in a degrading or bad way at all. I mean they just enjoy being where they are, and for them life has always been - at least since I was born - about giving me all the tools I needed to do well in life. So far, they've done an amazing job. In addition, they constantly remind me that I am very loved.

2. My friends. Were it not for my close group of amazing, inspirational, talented, hilarious, brilliant friends in New York, I would have literally gone insane already. They give me a home away from home, a family away from my family. They inspire me to work and create and do amazing things. Along with C in Chicago, they've been there for me through some hard stuff this year, and I am so thankful.

3. My health. My health has been off and on this year, and as of late I've not been feeling too well - but having said that, I am very thankful for my body and all the amazing things it does. Being healthy all the time is kind of a curse, I think, because it's virtually impossible, when healthy, to remember what it feels like not to be healthy. I'm kind of thankful that I've felt sick at times, because when I start to feel better, I appreciate it more. Is that weird? Whatever. I'm thankful for life, period.

4. Love. I experienced my first real heartbreak this year. In less than two months, I went from dating someone I really thought might be the love of my life to hearing him tell me he no longer felt the same way about me. I've lost sleep because of it. There were days that I would go in the bathroom stall at work just so I could cry and get it over with. Other days, I was so depressed that I wasn't sure that I could even go on enjoying life. But in the end, it made me stronger, and all I can honestly say is that I'm thankful I experienced that kind of love at all. It was my first grown-up love, and it was fucking hard at times, but I learned a lot, and at least I know - without a doubt - that I experienced something a lot of people never do. And I have hope that I will experience an even greater love in the future.

5. Hope. I remember hearing someone say once that hope was a meaningless word. They said that because it's not an actionable verb - because saying you "hope" for something is not the expression of any specific action - it's essentially devoid of any real meaning. I am thankful that I don't feel that way. Through everything I've been through this year, heartbreak included, I still cling to my hope for the future. I have high hopes for myself and my career, as well as my personal life. I still have hope that if I believe in them hard enough, and make every effort to live my life humbly and authentically, I will be able to make my dreams real. I have hope that I will find another great love in my life, and that I will one day get married and have brilliant children. I have hope that I will make myself a successful career writer - whether it's writing books or magazine articles or plays or TV shows. I have hope that I continue to be surrounded by great people. For these hopes I am thankful.

6. My blog. I really poured myself into my blog in September, and I've been making a sincere effort to write at least five days a week. I'm so thankful there are actually people out there who want to read my writing, and who give me such positive feedback. Thank you thank you thank you. It's been such an outlet for me - and without it, I honestly don't even know who I would be. It's become such a big part of my life that it's hard to imagine how I could be happy without it.

7. New York. The experiences I have had in New York have helped me grow. I can honestly say that I have matured more in the past 11 months than in my entire life before I moved to the city. In some ways, I'm a completely different person than I was when I moved up here. Some things will never change - you know, like my unending love for Beyoncé and Lady Gaga and terrible rap music - but in other aspects, change is the only constant. Since moving to New York, I've experienced more love, sorrow, confusion, anger, hurt, joy and exhilaration than ever before in my life. For all these emotions, I am thankful, because in every case - even the most painful ones - New York has made me feel more alive than ever before.

So thank you, universe, for giving me a year of dreams, both good and bad. Thank you for the beauty that surrounds me. Thank you for helping me grow. Thank you for keeping me in check with what's really important in life. Thank you for occasionally reminding me of who I am, and helping me to keep sight of it. Now, just help me to live my life with as much outward love in my heart as you've shown to me, and I'll do my part by showing others as much compassion as possible and always trying to stay positive.

Oh - and I can't believe I almost forgot this - thanks for Weezy.

*Recently dubbed Wanksgiving by my friend M; I'm not exactly sure why or what that means, but it sounds street as shit so I'm keeping it.