Giving thanksWe don't have Thanksgiving and I don't have a god to give thanks to, but I am thankful. Mostly, I am thankful that I have people I love and who love me. That is the foundation of life. They tell you it's money that makes the world go round but money won't give you a cuddle when you're down. (Yeah okay, you could probably pay someone to do that but they cuddles are better when they come with feeling, don't you think?)
I am thankful that in the dark times that I've had, I had people who showed me love. I was lonely but I was not entirely alone. I have been loved by people who must sometimes have felt they had little in return (and some made it clear that that was true, and vanished; I can hardly blame them for that: I'm not exactly conventional in how I show love, I know).
I am thankful that A has never abandoned me. You could not wish for a better friend. When she has had more than enough of her own shit to deal with, she has still had time for mine. When I allow myself dreams, I include in them that I will one day "reward" her by releasing her from the grind, paying for her to spend her days as she would love to, painting and learning. It would not begin to repay her if I could spare her a million bucks.
I am thankful too for other distant friends, who have a regard for me I cannot think is merited, but is a source of strength to me. You could not wish to know better people than L, P and even D, even if they are Americans. Indeed, I am thankful to know that not all of America consists of crazed haters. I am thankful for the people I have not met, yet know well, thankful that we live in an age where it's possible to say that and it's only a little weird.
I am thankful for the hours P has mystified and frustrated me, and I her. She has always tried to give me something, even if I didn't want it. I don't know whether she ever got any part of what she wanted from me.
I am thankful that M nurtured me when I split up from Mrs Zen. He is a good man, who never made me feel discomfort for the imposition. How lucky I have been to know him. I am thankful too for other friends who come and go, some near, some distant, particularly for C, who when I turn up at her door, it is like I was just there the day before, so comfortable is it to know each other.
I am thankful to have known Bella and two As, because they made me feel I had not ceased to be someone a woman could want to know, even if one was a crazy fundie who didn't actually like me much, and the other two I have no idea what they wanted or want, one I think confused me for someone I am not, the other felt she had no right to ask anything, or at least it seems that way.
I am even thankful for the woman who fucked me hard one night and pretended to have a family crisis so that it would just be a one-night stand. Not because I care about my "score" but because I felt so low that what was to come was all the more uplifting. I am thankful too that R spent a night with me despite herself because I am vain enough to want to feel desirable and she made me feel desired.
I am thankful to have known S because she inspired me and sustained me when I was entirely unmoored. I doubt she sees it the way I do and I know that it makes little sense to anyone outside it that I should be so happy to have something fragrant yet untouchable. But I was.
I am thankful that I could know E again. I am even thankful that she cannot change, and will never change, because I would not change her. I have never understood why people can say they love each other, yet feel that the beloved should be someone different. We are wholes, not mere collections of pieces, and you must love the whole if you are to love at all.
I am thankful for my family, my beautiful mum and my dad, who I believe has tried to love me as best he can, and what else can you even want from someone? I am thankful for my sisters, who are the finest women I know, yet still the little girls whose room I would creep into at night and pretend to be my imaginary friend to make them smile. I forgive them for liking the imaginary friend more than they liked me. They are still my companions of the heart, as they were my companions when we played by the loch at Aultbea, when we swam in the pool in Hayle, sharing our tray of chips, when we ran on the beach and across the towans, happy children, wrapped in each other's love.
I am thankful for my children. I am thankful that they are well, that they are smart, funny people who have big hearts and can in turn show love, that being from a broken home has not broken them, that they reward me in a thousand different ways for my love for them, however incompetent it is. I am thankful to Mrs Zen, if for nothing else, for the love she has for them, and too, for having loved me in her fashion.
I am thankful for B. I am thankful when she is vibrant, funny and charming, when she has self-belief, when she is kind, and she is very kind. I am thankful for her crooked smile, for everything she gives me, and it is a lot, for her generosity of spirit, for her intelligence and forbearance. I am thankful that she needs me, that she has use for me, that she loves me. I am thankful above all to be loved, however hard being loved can be, because nothing else is worth as much, is as complex or as simple.
I am thankful that I am well, employed, never hungry, richly entertained, white, straight and male. I am thankful, believe me I am, that when I start to give thanks, I find I have a lot to be thankful for.