Thanksgiving and Lamenting

22 Nov

image via Burnside Writers Collective

Super impressed by all of you who were already posting photos on Facebook last night of delicious-looking Thanksgiving food.  I saw “papou’s stuffing” and “maple-glazed brussels sprouts” and pie galore.  My family was always in charge of bringing dessert and liquor.  We’d pick up the cake — no pie from us; it had to be chocolate cake — along the way.  The Glenlivet was already in the closet.  I’m carrying on the tradition.  No measuring and mixing going on over here.  I’ll stop and pick up some wine along the way to my aunt and uncle’s.

This Thanksgiving season, I’ve been seeing a lot of daily posts on Facebook on what people are thankful for, which is a great practice and quite beautiful. However, I also have a lot of friends who are going through significant struggles. It’s okay to feel sad, hurt, angry, or frustrated. It’s important that we acknowledge that our lives don’t always go as planned and that we don’t pretend that our lives are perfect. Sometimes on Facebook, it’s easy to get the impression that people’s lives are so much better than our own, but we don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes.

I’ll confess that I was a bit “jealous” of my colleague, Emily Timbol, who wrote this article on lament and thanksgiving: “Let’s Have a Kvetch Fest.” Her writing career is going really well. She writes for the Huffington Post, has participated in radio interviews, and has made great progress with her book. I’m happy for her, but at times frustrated with my own writing. In this article, she shares her frustrations with her writing. This does not bring me joy. I think she has an important story to tell and has an engaging voice, and I want her to succeed. Her honesty, though, was a good reminder to me not to compare myself to others and not to be so hard on myself. I share all this because I believe it’s important to be thankful even in the difficult times, however I also believe that when we’re open with each other we learn that we’re not alone in our struggles, our fears, our frustrations, our sadness, our loneliness, our insecurities, and on and on.

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6 Responses to “Thanksgiving and Lamenting”

  1. aquaverse November 22, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    A meaningful post for all of us on our computers on Thanksgiving, alone. Thank you.

  2. annawood November 23, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    thank you for reminding me: “It’s important that we acknowledge that our lives don’t always go as planned and that we don’t pretend that our lives are perfect.”

    things have changed in my family as far as all that stuff as i’m sure it has with everybody. this year i didn’t have a plan until last minute. and i guess that’s why it felt more special this year. i kinda threw it all together, when we were all gonna do our own thing and not have a turkey dinner at all. i suggested to my folks at around 9am thanksgiving morning, “you guys pick up some stuff. i’ll be by at noon and cook everything except the turkey, if you guys take care of that bit.” then i hopped on a bus and got there at 2pm and voila! i was just trying to be grateful for what i had. i was so down the day before with everyone at work talking about, what are you gonna do for thanksgiving? and trying to hide and avoid the question and just giving some plausible response, like, “yeah, i’m not cooking.. i’m bringing dessert, haha…” lying through my teeth..

    i overheard my coworker the other day telling someone, “yeah, it’s the day to remember all the things you have to be thankful for…” and it really hit me for some reason. we’ve all lost so much in different ways; it’s cool that we have a holiday where you can be thankful for any old thing you have. who can’t say they’re not thankful for SOMETHING, right?

    ok, well, sorry, i feel so open to you, the more i read your writing and your thoughts. thank you for sharing through your blog and please don’t ever stop writing!

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos November 23, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Aw, thanks! Yeah, even though I had plans this Thanksgiving, I felt pretty dejected about how certain things had changed and are still changing more. Still, I am so thankful for the people in my life and for all that I have.

  3. Linda November 24, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Hi Stef — Darn!! We should have photographed that German Chocolate cake with pecan/coconut/caramel frosting!! And you know what?? … that Glenlivit was much appreciated each and every year!!!! But seriously — there is a fine line between envy and jealousy …. And I think people need to know … Envy says — give me some some TOO or ALSO … Jealousy requires one to prosper and the other to suffer. — Too bad envy is so misunderstood as to be one of the deadliest of sins!

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos November 24, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      I had that German Chocolate cake for breakfast today!! Soooooo good! I am blessed.

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