I am thankful for so many things.... my friends, my travels, my work, my musical adventures and all the people I come in contact with on those adventures.
I have been invited to several dinners today, and many more folks checked in to make sure I was not alone, and I am so very grateful to all of you.
Some of you may notice, I don't mention family. Yep, I don't. Like many of you, family is not something that warms my heart. Too many hurt feelings, misunderstandings, arguments..... I sure am not thankful for any of that. Like many of you. Some of you swallow the pain and will enter a place today with forced smile and an overwhelming desire to leave. I will not. I have many chosen families, all of which I hold very very dear to my heart. I will eat Thanksgiving dinner with one of those, and continue on through the day will people I love, so please, don't worry about me.
It appears that many many creative people have fall outs with family, or just can not DO it anymore.... I want to say to you, it is ok. Find your own family and nurture your relationships with them. You are not a failure because you just don't get along with the people you were born related to. You are still loved by the people you choose to be with. You are not somehow a lesser citizen, no matter what your family may say about you. If, in your heart, you can say that you did the best you could to get along and finally concluded that those relationships were more harmful or painful or difficult to you than nourishing, fun or even neutral, you can stand proud. Proud of your choice to be doing what you can for yourself.
Lets talk a bit about how this may sound selfish to some. I can not give my all to my work, my profession, my friends, my music, if I have a continual drain on my energy and goodwill from people who suck the life out of me. I have to protect myself to be able to GIVE to anyone. If you want to drain me, I am going to cut you off. You drain me with lies, with your selfish requests of my time/money/life when you could be taking care of yourself, manipulating me against another person, requiring me to feel guilty about a situation you set up yourself, etc. I do NOT have to be a party to your problems in life just because of my birth. I think that when people pull at you in that way that you know is unhealthy (yes, for them too), THEY are being selfish, you are NOT selfish for not playing the game. You are taking care of your first responsibility, yourself, by disengaging with the forces that are trying to drag you down and in that way, you are able to truly give where it matters most and helps the best.
I did this a few years ago, and although I miss some of the better times of large family gatherings, I know that I have benefited from distancing myself from people who tended to use me to fuel the negative parts of their lives. Yes, I am thankful I woke up.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!