to candice, thanksgiving had become a torturous holiday of infighting, smoke filled rooms, droning televisions, & overcast skies inside & out.
food the color of the carpeting in her maternal grandmother’s sad apartment.
uncomfortable silences and meals that sat heavy long after thankfulness was forgotten.
all her boyfriends took it personally that she would not follow them on their annual treks to the houses of relatives who would make jokes at someone else’s expense causing candice to flinch from her invisible corner as some of the barbs (i’m just joking! can’t you take a joke?) hit a little too close to home.
candice dreamed of a day that the third week of november would blend seamlessly into the rest of late fall, no longer poking at the scars of her so-far survival.
so i have some thanksgiving baggage. i stopped going to my family thanksgivings as soon as i was able. i stopped eating turkey. i sought out thanksgivings full of music & non-traditional dishes with people who were also orphans of society.
one year, boycotting my first (& estranged) husband’s beige & dry family thanksgiving, i went out to a bar & asked everyone what they were doing for the holiday until i found a cutie who was going to a get-together of friends (hosted by a local chef.) i tagged in on his thanksgiving. the rest of that thanksgiving is a story for another day….
i like cooking (this year i tried to make potstickers for the first time) and i like drinking and i like hanging out with friends…but i still dread the holiday each year with flashbacks to a colorless palate of foods & people who were only spending time together out of obligation.
one day i hope i have banished all feelings of suffocation this holiday brings to me.