A Note of Thanks(giving) on Christmas Day

I didn’t do a post on Thanksgiving. And I’m not doing a post on Christmas. These times of the year used to be so special and precious to me. Now they’re just reminders of how lovely things once were and how alone I am now.

But I met a man in the grocery store Wednesday morning, a man who shook my world a bit and brought much needed clarity and perspective. I was in the produce section, picking out onions, when I heard singing. At first, I decided to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t happening. Isn’t that what most people sheeple do? I was having a pretty bad morning. I’d already been to the rheumatologist, where I had more tests done and more tests scheduled. Mention was made of an MRI and a specialist over two hours away. And I had crashed hard and felt heavily sedated from some new meds I’m on. So I was not feelin’ it.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted him. This little old man, small, frail, harshly stooped over. Pushing his cart at a steady clip and singing his heart out…and in a rather brusque manner, I might add. And I couldn’t help myself; I smiled broadly at him.

Are you laughing at me, young lady?

“No! No sir! I’m smiling, because your singing has brightened my morning!”

Good girl. Music is good for the soul. A little Nat King Cole is good for you.

He went right back to singing, and I do mean he was belting it out. The lady behind me, waiting to get at the onions, remarked, “I don’t know how anyone can be so happy in the mornings.” He heard her.

Happiness is a state of mind. I’m simply choosing to be happy.

I thanked him for bringing a much-needed smile to my face.

He wandered off, seriously pushing that cart hard and fast. He was on a mission to get his things and get the hell out of there. I saw him again on another aisle at the other end of the store. He was still singing his heart out.

“Hello again,” I greeted him.

Why, that’s a song, isn’t it? I do believe you have music in your soul, young lady.

I grinned at him and thanked him once more, letting him know how pleased I was with his music and spirit.

Thank YOU. For seeing me, for hearing me, and not just seeing a crazy old man. Merry Christmas to you.

“Merry Christmas.”

Oh no, I’m far too old now. My Christmas passed away years ago.

And he pushed his cart away, resuming his singing and heading for the checkout. I stood there, frozen in place for a few moments, mouth slightly agape and tears coming unbidden. His last words broke my heart. And yet, his spirit endures in spite of his loss and pain. He went into the grocery that morning and sang his heart out, not necessarily to spread joy but to maintain some within his own heart.

I saw him at the checkout, as I stood there. And he stopped singing momentarily and asked someone I couldn’t see, “Are you laughing at me?…You’re really laughing at me? You think I’m stupid, don’t you? Well you’re a jerk!” Then he picked his song back up and continued singing.

I saw him again as I was driving home. He was walking with his groceries. My heart sank. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t get to him in the traffic. I glimpsed him in my rear view after I passed him by and saw him darting across the road to some assisted living housing.

I don’t think he has any idea how he touched my heart, but I hope so much that he felt the hope and peace he gave to me. And the important reminder that happiness is an action as much as a feeling. We have to seek it out, work for it, find it in the little things (that aren’t so little after all), appreciate it…and share it.

So thanks to that angel of a man, I’m going to choose to be thankful today rather than moping around feeling sorry for myself. I’m going to at least try to be present and thankful. Because even at my lowest, I have much to be thankful for:

I’m thankful for you, my awesome blogger buddies. My Peopleaneous. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you cry with me, you crack jokes with me, you share your music and your lives with me. You come and check on me and show so much patience and understanding when I crawl into my cave and don’t reply to messages or emails for days. I’m more thankful for you than you know.

I’m thankful for being welcomed into the geek fold at work. I don’t get to talk with them often, because we’re in different parts of the building. But it’s nice knowing there are people there who are friendly with me and actually enjoy my company from time to time.

I’m thankful for luxuries like running water, central heat and air, a working washer and dryer, a home with a solid roof and a comfy bed. I’m thankful for a running fridge, stocked with food.

I’m thankful for my two cats, one of whom is my cuddle buddy every single night. He snuggles and purrs and makes me feel needed.

I’m thankful that I wasn’t born in a country where I’m being shot at or bombed every day. Where I don’t know when the next time I’ll have clean water or a full belly will be. Where I’m not allowed to educate myself or speak my mind.

I think of a lot of silly things I’m thankful for: like #2 Black Warrior pencils, double A batteries, flip flops and Welch’s grape juice. I’m thankful for butterflies and tree frogs and dainty earrings and belly laughs.

I hope that you lovely people will take time out of a day (usually) filled with lots of gifts and things and sometimes a lot of stress and personality clashes: take time out and remember to be thankful.

be thankful

Happy Holidays, y’all.

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How’s this for a Headline: Today Sucks Ass.

Today sucks ass. Seriously. In other news, it also blows.

I have a headache from hell. And I’ve also crashed hard from whatever high I was on last week. I’m back to hating the world and, more specifically, myself.

It’s a combination of things, I’m sure. For once, I felt dread building as the weekend drew to a close. That’s simultaneously a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it means I was dreading the right thing – work – instead of how I usually dread being alone with myself on the weekends. Bad because there’s nothing I can do about it. At least not so long as I need to work in hell. I mean Corporate America.

But it’s not only work. I can also feel the onset of holiday blues. Like what seems to be the majority of people, this used to be my favorite time of year.

Not so anymore. No.

What used to be my favorite holiday and day of the year – Thanksgiving – is now a day to dread. Spending Thanksgiving alone is not something to envy, peoplleaneous. No matter how hectic or stressful your holiday with family and friends may be, please…I implore you…please never tell one of us who spends it alone that we’re lucky. Please don’t do that. Because the last thing in the world that it feels like is a stroke of good fortune.

Last year, I cooked. For the first time in a while, I did it up. Big ass turkey, cornbread dressing, pecan pies…the works. It was a great diversion while the preparations lasted, which I managed to drag out for a few days. But it was bittersweet, of course. Things like that are meant to be shared. And though I have much to be thankful for, it’s difficult to dredge those reasons up during the ultimate season of family and togetherness.

Christmas was never great for me. It was usually a time spent in stark reminder of our poverty, as children. Mother’s palpable depression and feelings of failure, vociferously lamented. Sister whining and begging for things. Brother stealing any things he wanted but didn’t receive. Me in the middle trying to soothe broken spirits and remind them of what the holiday is supposed to be about. It never worked. I can only remember two Christmases that weren’t like that, but it was still there. In the background. Until everyone just say fuckitall and stopped getting together.

And now. Years later. They’re getting together, alright. Only…I’m no longer invited. In fact, I was informed that I’m specifically uninvited. Because I won’t can’t seem to forgive him. The one I’m supposed to call father.

November has arrived, and it’s all anyone wants to talk about today. At the office. November. Thanksgiving preparations. Gift buying. Black Friday plans. Pinterest recipes.

Yeah. It’s official. I’m back on the downswing, and I’m sad. I mean, really fucking sad. Wishing I hadn’t woken up this morning sad. Angry and Anxious and Depressed and Aching from arthritis and fibro (I mean what the fuck is that, anyway). Woo. I need to shut the fuck up with this whining and find something to do.

I’m gonna write about anime later, I think. Because it’s slow at work, and my brain desperately needs diversion.