Putting the THANKS in Thanksgiving
BY THE TEAM @ [IN]VISIBLE MAG
With Thanksgiving finally here, we here at [in]Visible Mag been thinking about what it is we're thankful for, and what it means to be thankful. Read on for our team's responses!
Small gratitudes for when you can't look at the full picture of your life without it blinding you. Small moments of Thankfulness.
When your online order arrives earlier than expected
When your fingers find your keycard on the first reach into a tote bag
When someone saves you form losing your water bottle by reminding you to grab it on the way out of class.
When a pen running low on ink makes it to the end of a sentence
Thankful for remembering to charge my speaker so I can pull a dramatic lay on the bed staring at the ceiling while listening to Mazzy Star on my lunch break in style
Thankful for that one scene in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" when naked and sweat Danny Devito is birthed from a couch.
- Thankful for the dialogue in "Igby Goes Down"
- Thankful for pulling off a "casual" smile to a past hookup
- Thankful for medication and insurance
- Thankful for no longer wanting to be a "chill" girl
In the midst of what feels like a long and hard semester (in a word, THESIS!), I’m feeling more grateful than ever for the people I have around me — both those who are here with me and those who can’t be, but who I know are still there for me.
Sometimes, it’s enough just to be together with friends who are struggling right along with you. Deadlines can feel like they become your entire world, until you remember that you’re not alone. I’m thankful for every meal that a friend let me spend running through my worries, every random text message question never gone unanswered, every half-delirious snapchat that they put up with, and every FaceTime counseling session that I so needed.
Remembering the amazing times I’ve had with my friends, from the grandest of adventures right down to the smallest, everyday moments together, have been helping me through these tough, tough weeks and mean more to me than I can say. (Maybe my cheesy gif can begin say it for me?) I hope that I can be there for those around me just as much as I’ve found them to be there for me when I’ve most needed them.
The line between guilt and gratitude.
My first instinct when I think about all the luck I was born with is guilt. It’s that familiar feeling of discomfort I get when I walk past homeless people in downtown LA when I visit my brother. It’s the nausea rising in my stomach the time in Paris when a little girl handed me a piece of paper with a handwritten note on the subway, asking for anything to help her eat that night. It’s that heavy feeling of helplessness, like I want to simultaneously run away from this girl and cry for her.
It’s that comparison of my life to theirs, that moment that shocks me out of my everyday complacency and reminds me that I have so, so much. A home to return to every day. A family that could support me in an emergency. Enough food that I can throw away half my plate at the dining hall. This gap between me and them seems to widen every day, with each new piece of information I gain. Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general seems to heighten this sensation for me; every time I asked what I am grateful for I can’t help first feeling that sickness inside me, that persisting, nagging guilt of being so damn lucky.
A year ago, a friend told me that I should stop apologizing to people and start thanking them. When someone comforts me when I’m sad, I should tell them I am grateful for their support instead of apologizing for using their time. I should thank the person who holds the door open for me instead of quickly saying sorry and rushing through. Since then, I’ve reminded myself of this whenever I get the impulse to apologize. I do think that we all need to be aware of our position in comparison to other people, and aware of the affect our actions have on others, but guilt can be an unproductive emotion. We want to run from our guilt, distract ourselves from it or ignore it altogether. But when I am grateful instead of guilty for my loving home, middle-class upbringing, and supportive friends, I can both be aware of my positionally and be empowered to create change. There is a place for guilt and a place for gratitude, and I’m still figuring out what is appropriate to feel, and to what extent. And the difference between the two in how I experience them and how each one pushes me to do what I can to help. I guess I’ll end this here with a question: when do you feel guilt and when do you feel feel gratitude and which do you feel around this time of year?