Image courtesy of Jill Wellington on Pixabay
This Thanksgiving Holiday is so often fraught with conflict, pressure and stress. The burden placed on the already laden shoulders of the matriarchs, this burden yet another symbol of the patriarchal dominance idolized by our society. The origins of this holiday told as a story of love, generosity and community in order to whitewash and cover up the atrocities committed by white colonialism, by my ancestors. The food worship just one more example of our pornographic obsession with consumption and gluttony.
As a child, this holiday could be the delightful smell of buttery potatoes and the pleasure of being with the adults that I loved and craved, it is also the anniversary of my mother's first trip to America, adding to the sense of hope and possibility that occasionally showed up around this time of year.
As I learned a well rounded history (thank you Philadelphia Public School) I understood better the horrifying historical implications of this holiday and soon it wasn't just the food worship that repulsed me, but also the betrayal that this holiday was founded on. I spent many of my tween and teen years attempting to rebel by sulking in my room, or at the table scowling through my consumption of delicious food prepared with love by my Aunt. Eventually addiction took over my life and most of my choices were taken away, including having the luxury of contemplating the moral ambiguity of this holiday. My entire purpose was now bent on avoiding myself by whatever means necessary; all of my decisions and actions were motivated by this end.
A little over 18 years ago I was brought into utter desperation and was able to surrender, giving up the fight against myself and turning towards recovery. At 30 years old I restarted the process of growing up, slowly regaining the power to make choices and decisions based on my own morals and values.
This Thanksgiving Holiday still stirs up conflict in me: guilt, rage and defeat mixes with love and hope and determination. This mix is the beautiful, complex tapestry of my life fully lived. I am grateful to be able to choose what I do with this day, this life and how I celebrate (or don't) this Holiday. I choose to take this opportunity to gather together the people that I love in celebration of OUR LOVE and OUR community. The ideals of this holiday may have been promoted over a foundation of lies and betrayal, however the ideals are real to me and put into action of truth by my own demonstrations of generosity and love.