Why It’s Not Important to Have Thanksgiving

I remember my first Thanksgiving alone: I was about 19, and new to Austin, I lived off Parmer (shudder), and ate an entire pumpkin pie, filling only, and “watched” the shitty parade in the background. I never liked the parade anyway…

I was new to cutting my family off, and everyone thought it was a phase. “You’ll go back to your family; you’ll talk to your mom again.” they said. Wrong. They all came from surprisingly un-abusive families, and all had somewhat normal mothers.  How could they relate? I won’t tell you the back story, but I will talk about having Thanksgiving by yourself and/or with friends.

Fast forward to 2010: it was me, A., Magz (who’d just met me from a long-term MySpace/Facebook/Twitter hetero-girl-crush) and a ton of displaced Ohioans. Magz had never never been to Austin, and I had never met Magz. She only knew that she hadn’t been to Austin, never met me, and suddenly had a long weekend off. It wasn’t until she was here that we realized, “Oh shit. It’s Thanksgiving.” The Ohioan Thanksgiving was fine enough, the people were more than loving, and the highlight of the day was a new tradition I refer to as, “YouTube Thanksgiving.” We all took turns on the giant iMac of the house, showing shorts of our favorite videos. The older people showed “I’m On a Boat,” and the younger showed me, “Neely Comics’ Sodom.” It was a blast.

I remember Thanksgiving as a kid, it was my grandmother, mom, sister, sometimes my aunt, and me. I cried when my aunt left for Houston (her new hometown) at the end. I wanted her to stay forever. She brought cosmetics we never dreamed of hearing about, odd golf pendants, and books; she knew I loved books.

There were always cookoo clocks ticking, as well as old, fancy clocks. The house was a page torn out of Ralph Lauren’s furniture catalog, and the tree as well. It was perfect in a way that I cannot describe, and at the same time… I knew it was several layers of decadent frosting on a piece of shit that you could taste the moment you held it all up to your face.

Sometimes I think about my mom, not in the sense that I truly think about her, but in a way that reminds me that our holidays were very specifically our own. She covered her emotionally abusive husband’s remarks with sarcasm and funny stories, I ate my way through feelings, and my little sister (played?) was stupid throughout. Holidays were an odd circus of distracting emotions, lies about home life, and concealing feelings with… OOH! Is that baked Alaska?!

We would hold hands, say what we were thankful for, each outdoing the other with some bullshit lie about “Family, friends, and God.” I knew better? I know I knew better.

Here, at the ripe, old age of 28 I sit and think about the charade of the holiday and suddenly I don’t feel so bad at the fact that I might be spending this one alone. It’s a terrifying holiday, and attempted reminder that “your’e not with your family.” When I consider being with my family vs. being alone, it’s not so bad! When I consider being alone on Thanksgiving vs. YouTube Thanksgiving, that’s when I get a little depressed.

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