Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For all of the normal reasons. It’s an effective holiday. I love Thanksgiving. I’m an American who likes Thanksgivng. Hardly tombstone status.
I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving this year. For reasons that aren’t complicated. I have no family. I don’t believe in freeloading on other people’s families to compensate for my lack of one.
The problem with not celebrating Thanksgiving isn’t that I didn’t eat biscuits or turkey last Thursday. I eat plenty of biscuits. The problem is that I don’t have a problem not having celebrated Thanksgiving. The problem is that I don’t have a problem not having a family to celebrate with. Or a family at all. Both feel like the way my life ought to be.That those are my normal is weird. And that’s not normal.
One of the more ludicrous conversations my mother ever had with me was about her diagnosis about what was strange about me and what was normal. I was in high school. Unlike the prior 14 years of my life, I had friends. Unlike the other 14 years of my life, I had things I was interested in. With friends and interests, I had some sort of…personality. This bothered her. My mother told me that wasn’t the “real Robert”. I was faking it. Somehow people calling me on the phone and my staying after school to do some thing was not real. Everything these people thought about me was an illusion while she knew the truth.
Looking back, in the Rolodex of nonsensical statements my mother could/did tell her child, this wasn’t particularly wrong. She was right. Having friends was weird. Even now, after a decade of people who consistently give me their unconditional love or joke with me about masturbation or wait hours for a concert to see Kanye West, it still feels weird. It’s weird to have friends.
But the truth of who I am and what I value and what I get excited about and how I express myself wasn’t set in stone at age 14. I changed and dug it. Weird and normal are inconsequential. Maybe it still is at 25.
So I’m going to celebrate Christmas this year. For all the normal reasons.