the chillest thanksgiving

a couple of weeks ago, i got weird. i started to panic about everything. at first, it was just panic about the usual stuff: paying rent on time, what bills do i have to pay late this month? and then it mushrooms from there: i really need a second job. maybe i can sell some of my stuff? i can’t do anything until i have some more income. i am so sad i can’t go out with all my friends because i have to save everything i have for two more weeks so i can pay rent…you know, that stuff. every time i think i might FINALLY be okay for awhile i hit another speed bump. i’ve been through so many ups and downs financially since 2014 the thought of having to hustle / stuggle / scrape it together AGAIN just makes my stomach hurt. so yeah, a couple of weeks ago i was stuck in that spiral.

finally started to feel okay again last week and then i realized thanksgiving was coming up fast. oh crap! is it that time of year again? the last few thanksgivings i’ve celebrated were all right, some downright incredible, but i just couldn’t bear to have to reach out to people to find somewhere to go for thanksgiving dinner this year. i have a few friends here in LA but i honestly don’t see them or hear from them much because that’s how it is in this town— we all have a lot going on all the time. by the time “thanksgiving eve” rolled around, i was mad at myself for not being able to articulate that i really didn’t want to be alone this year. i somehow found a way to catch myself before falling into a pit of dispair about being alone with no plans on thanksgiving. i can’t possibly be the first/only person to do this ffs, why is this always so hard? i read a couple of articles from others who were in the same boat and the deal was sealed. this year, i am skipping thankgiving.

last night, i was dead set on a day at the beach. images of polishing my nails and listening to some psych rock, maybe taking a nap and shooting some photos at sunset flashed through my mind. i ended up sleeping in until 12:30pm and cleaning my studio (which at the moment is the dining area of my kitchen). i started my day with a cup of coffee and pecan pie, then started clearing out some clutter from my studio (kitchen), watched some stories, sorted some art supplies, made iced tea, listened to music, washed some dishes. pretty much everything else but getting stuffed on heavy food and drinking way too much.

and now it is 2am on friday morning and i had the chillest thanksgiving ever. i’m sober and comfortable and not stressed out at all. all the pressure i put upon myself to make sure i had some super awesome plans for the day are long gone. i know now that it wasn’t even about making plans, it was about distracting myself from reality.

this year has been a masterclass in remaining aware of what my body and mind are doing in response to…well, everything. a couple of years ago, i did a vipassana meditation course where we had to be silent for 9 out of 10 days, no smartphones, computers, television, radio, internet — nothing. all we had was a place to stay amonst the gorgeous nature of sonoma county, a bed to sleep in at night, two meals, and about 10 hours of meditation per day. i meant to write about the experience but i didn’t, mostly because it was intensely personal. while i was meditating though, i learned how to be aware of sensations in my body that occur, both pleasurable and averse. it’s a practice; each time i catch myself before an anxiety attack is a massive milestone. this is the first year i skipped doing anything for my birthday and thanksgiving and i am so much happier for it (because planning my own birthday festiviites is a social anxiety hellscape). understanding how much pressure i was putting on myself to do something AWESOME was taking away all of the fun. knowing that it stresses me out and setting boundaries made all the difference in the world. i don’t have to explain my motivations to everyone, and i don’t judge anyone for choosing to celebrate in the traditional way.

maybe next year i’ll make it to the beach. and if i don’t, that’s cool, too.