I Would Be The Last To Let You Know

I’ve been thinking a lot today about the giving of thanks, and how simple that concept seems to be for some.

It’s harder for me. Everything about any holiday is hard for me.

Anyone who knows me at all well has heard me describe my family, my history, as “Lovecraftian in scope of horror”. The very, very few people who know me very, very well know that to be one hell of an understatement.

I do this thing, instinctively, on the rare occasions that I talk about my past or my family. I joke, I perform, I throw a wry tone on descriptions of crippling pain, betrayal. I laugh with you, for you, when I say things like “Jerry Springer-esque” to describe the latest, worst thing my family has done.

I pretend there’s humor in the fact that an actual frequent line of defense they use is “but X family member did far worse!”. I think to myself “sure, and rape isn’t murder, but what’s your POINT?”

I recently went back to Seattle for a visit and discovered that it would never be home again. I learned that I made the right choice in moving far, far away. I learned that I am still broken and barely glued together in some places, and that I am still stronger than anyone I am linked to. I learned that I may never learn to trust anyone. Ever. When I get close enough to someone to start believing in them even the tiniest bit, I do these things to make sure they don’t want me to, to make sure, even though it’s the last thing I want, that they will stop wanting to know me. I’ve been in nearly unspeakable pain since I made that trip, and still, I make jokes about it. I smile. I work 80 hour weeks. I manage not to tell anyone what anything that’s happened to me means. I am deeply damaged by the past, the present.

And I am still thankful.

I am thankful for being this strong. I am thankful for all of the beautiful, magnificent people in my life, who will never know me very well but who I nonetheless treasure. I am thankful for my incredible job and all of the talented people I get to know through it. I am thankful for the strength it took to leave everything I had ever known behind in search of a life unlike the one my family insists on living. I am thankful that no matter how low they go, I don’t respond with maliciousness and cruelty, even when it is the only reasonable reaction. I am thankful, frankly, for who I have become in spite of where I have been.