Being Thankful, Finding Gratitude

In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.It’s been a strange, wordless month. It only occurred to me in the past few days that maybe the reason I’ve buried myself in other people’s books all month (my Goodreads challenge page indicates I’m well on my way to doubling my “normal year” of reading) was related to the unheralded second anniversary of my miscarriage. That experience killed my dream of parenthood and my sense of who I was meant to be. It’s been difficult not to live in nihilism since then, since, really, who would actually be interested in any legacy I might leave behind?

The feelings rumbling around in me since election day came to a head while I was reading Sunshine, by E. Xia. It’s an excellent novella whose central conceit is that the female protagonist’s mother literally dreamed her into existence. When her parents are killed in a car crash, then, she fades from reality.

He couldn’t imagine it. What it felt like to see yourself fading, disappearing by inches, knowing it was because no one cared enough. What it must have been like to drift through the world, not quite part of it, but bound to it just the same.

At the meta level, it’s a fascinating commentary on women’s status–from the mother’s perspective, she validates herself by producing a child. From the daughter’s perspective, she becomes nothing more than light and shadows without anyone remembering her. There are other layers, too, of the moon maiden and mirror maiden legends, and how much it ends up taking out of the people who do the emotional labor of managing relationships and perceptions. While it could be classified as a sweet paranormal romance, the feelings are purely human, and the book is permeated with a strong sense of becoming.

What punched me in the gut, though, was the story-inspired thought that maybe I had imagined my child so vividly, that I trapped them in that in-between state of not-becoming.

So I’ve been sitting with my feelings. Hubs and I have watched two movies this week. “Juliet, Naked” was the gentle exploration of choosing relationships and who you want to be/become. “Downsizing” was actually thematically similar, despite its marketing. While the first was sold as a rom/com, it wasn’t the stuff of laugh-out-loud funny. The second was sold as a comedy, but its focus was much more slice-of-life and how the banal can become surreal. Neither was what we expected, but both were excellent and led us to some interesting discussions.

We’ve been keeping up with our walking (FitBit says I averaged 5,662 steps/day last week), and, with the holiday this week, our sleeping as well (FitBit says I averaged 8 hours 9 minutes per night last week).

Yesterday, finally, I looked at my WIP again. And even added 218 words. So I’m past the mid-point. It’s all downhill from here, right?


Some other recent thought-fodder for me included an author who wrote a meta review of disaster films, and concluded that survival entailed … being white and speaking English. Given that my WIP could on some levels be considered a disaster story… I paused for a minute. But {{mini-spoiler}} the story also includes the death of a white, English-speaking person, so maybe I’ll give myself a pass for this round. A very different opinion piece had that author concluding he only wants to live until age 75. His thesis about the “American Immortal” hit home and has me considering interventions and health care from yet another perspective. Finally, fun science reporting gave me a sonic interpretation of the sunrise as seen from Mars.

Hopping back to the theme of this post, (and really, the theme of the week, given the US celebration of Thanksgiving) I find it interesting that there are so many voices in the world around us that pile on to individuals, plowing them under with self-doubt. Finding ways to be grateful for small things helps me ride that wave, so I’m happy to share this week’s image to remind others to rebel… by liking yourself. Discovering and cherishing those beings and experiences that light you up.

Interestingly, the theme for this week’s ROW80 check-in is the excuses we make for not having dedicated the time we hoped to the tasks on our lists. There are still 25 days to go in this round, so I suppose there’s a chance I’ll still finish Team Alpha this round. Especially now that I’ve identified the underlying emotional paralysis. But I’m also going to continue practicing self-care. If the last bits of my emotional energy are only sufficient to cuddling with hubs and the furbabies, I’ll live with that and work on my WIP when my energy comes back. Meantime, reading and watching shows has been feeding me emotionally in different ways, so I know those escapes will continue to entice me. I recommend the same for everyone else struggling with the exigencies of the season.

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One thought on “Being Thankful, Finding Gratitude

  1. I can’t speak for your situation, Tonya, but… if you need someone to talk to privately via FB messenger, I am available. But… I do have some perspective on what you’re going through.

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