That Thanksgiving Thing
November 28, 2013
I’m all about giving thanks where it is due. I thank the universe every day, I thank friends or family when they do something for me whether I asked them to or not. I constantly tell the people in my life how much they mean to me. A compliment ungiven is useless. If I think you are doing something fantastic I tell you. If you go out of your way to do something for me or someone else I thank you.
If you appreciate someone and you don’t tell them, how do you think they know? You ask them to assume that they know how you feel about them. The truth is a wise person assumes nothing. So I’m all about letting everyone know they are appreciated and loved.
You know what I neither appreciate nor love? That tradition so many families have where they all have to say what they are most thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner. Really? Talk about on the spot. Do I in this moment say what I am really most thankful for and risk hurting someone’s feelings when I don’t mention them? I let people know how I feel about them all the time; I don’t need an event to spill my guts in front of a room full of people some of whom I only see at that time of year. Thanksgiving day is a day when we have a feast. The feast and the coming together — those are the testament of our thanks. Do we really need everyone’s really uncomfortable speech where half the things that come out of their head aren’t what they are really MOST thankful for at all, but are just the things they think will get them the most points with the other people in the room?
Many people just love this tradition, so I never say jack when someone wants to do it. I just say how I feel in that moment trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings or caring how I will be judged. I feel really uncomfortable, though, and here’s the thing — I don’t mind standing up in front of rooms full of people. I sit on panels all the time; I do standup; I even do stage acting. But doing the “what we’re most thankful for” thing on Thanksgiving makes me a nervous wreck, and no matter what I wind up saying I’m never happy with what I’ve said.
Why? Because I feel like my thankfulness is on display. I don’t think sentimentality should be a spectator sport. Mostly I don’t feel like saying that your most thankful for whatever or whoever it is once a year in a group cuts it. People who the rest of the year can’t bother to thank you for a damn thing suddenly are saying they’re thankful for you and… Well if they are why don’t they say it when you are actually doing something for them? If they think the things you do are amazing, then why don’t they say so at the time? Why do they need an audience to do it? I don’t need an audience to tell anyone how thankful I am for them, or how proud I am of them, or how much I care about them. I need an audience when I’m performing, not when I’m giving thanks.
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