By: Grainne Rhuad
If you have been visiting us here at Subversify for any length of time you know we don’t usually advocate for any holidays. That’s not to say that individually we don’t all celebrate holidays, some of us do, some of us don’t. We are a diverse lot.
Another thing we don’t advocate as a group is decadence and waste for any reason. So really there isn’t a lot to say about a holiday like Thanksgiving is there? Thanksgiving is based on consumption, over extension of both waists and wallets and preparation for the continued gluttony of more holiday shopping.
It’s also an all American holiday, a fact which Americans often forget. The world does not celebrate our arrival in the New World. On reflection, I kinda think they should, I mean they got rid of a lot of puritanically bent asshats that were on a mission to smash out anyone who disagrees with them. This unfortunate perchance has been passed down in the American gene pool and maybe the world at large should have a great big “Thank Goodness We Dodged That Bullet” day.
But this year I’m thinking maybe things have gotten a bit too ugly. And really one of the biggest culprits in this is a lack of gratitude. A distinct inability to look at what we do have and appreciate it. Thanksgiving just seems like a good day name-wise to remind everyone of that. The world is an ugly place with terrible things in it, but all of you have something to be grateful for.
It’s easy to say, be thankful for what you have though isn’t it? But when you get past things like family, roof over my head, clean water, satellite television; you know, the basics that we all have been spouting off since Kindergarten it gets a bit harder.
So how do people do it? Especially those who really don’t have much?
One has to dig deeper. And that’s what I’m going to ask you to do this Thanksgiving. Cultivate your Gratitude. Cultivate is a good word because it implies work and time and care and those are things we don’t like to give to ourselves and our feelings not to mention others. Also it implies work. Cultivate is an adjective people. It’s work that goes beyond buying an uplifting thought of the day calendar, although that’s a good place I suppose to start, baby steps and all.
So hey Grainne…what are you thankful for you all-wise poseur (which is a really accurate description but hey, fake it ‘till you make it right?)
I’m thinking I’m really grateful for everything in my life that keeps me humble. From kids to critics to bill collectors there are people in my life daily reminding me painfully that I am not “all that.” Even though this hurts and it sucks; I know if I was some spoiled rich kid who had these things smoothed over, I would likely be as big an asshole as all the spoiled rich kids out there everyone loves to hate.
It’s what makes a affluent person who is kind and giving and not an asshole such a ray of shining light; the fact that it is extra hard to be a good person when you have not experienced anything hard and nobody has told you your shit or writing or art or people skills or eye for design stinks.
I also think its part of what’s wrong with society. At least the society I can easily observe and am a part of. People saving their families and kids and loved ones from any idea that they may be wrong, need work of some kind. You see it all the time, the people whose parents paid for them to go to college, whose connections helped them get a job, who were able to save or inherit money to start them off life. It’s these people who invariable say things like “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.” Or “There is no need to help others, they need to help themselves.” Or the one I love “Give a man a fish…blah, blah blah.” I can’t even listen to the rest because you know they aren’t helping people out there learn to fish; they don’t know how to fish!
But if you had lived these privileged lives what sort of human do you think you would be? I know I would be different, less able to imagine that simply applying for jobs and housing doesn’t work a lot of the time. So I am thankful for the things that keep me on track, keep me humble.
I’m also incredibly grateful for our ability to think. Our brains. Okay our entire bodies are a wonder; this is a lesson I learned when I lost the use of my foot for 3 months. Bodies that work are wonderful. But I am so grateful for the ability to think that it pisses me right off when people don’t do it for themselves. When they lazily repeat the last thing they heard about whatever issue instead of thinking things through and weighing things. And this is true for those who memorize what was on NPR as well as those who regurgitate what FOX news says. It’s still not taking the time to philosophize on any given issue. And I really don’t care if you have it ALL thought out, just so long as you are thinking. You know, in a process. So I guess I am grateful for philosophy really. The hobby of turning questions over, taking them apart and seeing if they fit back together or not.
And yes, I realize people work in “real” jobs, whatever that means because it usually sounds demeaning to those who don’t punch a clock. This does not mean that you cannot spend time thinking instead of looking up funny Memes to impress your friends with.
I am also really very grateful for the Subversify community. All of this is not possible without the input, suggestions, arguments, insults and flat out trolling that everyone who stops through takes the time to commit to. We set out to make this a global community effort. At times it moves so fast we can’t keep up. At others, we count on a core of dedicated writers who have become like family. The communication and ability to look beyond the differences of opinion to get work done is a beautiful thing. All this and it is a site we are proud to say is completely dedicated to free speech. This by the way, is also painful sometimes. It is no small thing to commit yourself to free speech. In practice it’s sometimes harder when you are dealing with people and feelings.
In addition to all that, doing this has afforded me the opportunity to meet people involved with helping children in Gaza through MECA. I’ve also met a good number of musicians excited about the work they do and even if I’m not always into that genre, I’m into their excitement. I also got to meet and add to the list of real friends the Pie Man, Aron Kay whose activism has been going strong since the Yippie counter culture began. But it’s not just the meeting of these folks, through this work I and we have all been given the opportunity to help; whether it’s monetary, voluntary work or getting the word out. What a gift! It’s a big world out there but getting involved and yes, even boring-assed research helps make it smaller.
But enough of that mush. What I want to know is what you are feeling good about this year. What helps you get up in the morning and do things for other people? What makes it okay in your world to be a human being in a time when it can be downright embarrassing to be a member of the human race? Maybe you’re like me and you are completely eschewing Thanksgiving, treating it like any other day, or maybe you’re getting together with people you care about for a yearly meal. Both of those are really good and fine. But, what are you doing to remember to work on being more grateful for what you have been given?
I have a suspicion, that if we all behaved like everything afforded us was a gift worth having, we would take better care of everything from the environment to our relationships. Even the material things, we would make them last longer, go further if we really thought of them with gratitude.