Thanksgiving with a side of Sucky
Have you ever noticed there aren’t many Thanksgiving movies that get to you like the Christmas
ones? As far as I can tell, “A Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” were both
designed to make a person want to cry their eyes out while they attempt to wrap Christmas
Another classic Christmas movie is “A Christmas Carol”. Over the years, Hollywood has given
us many adaptations, even one with Bill Murray. The story might be tweaked a little bit to reflect
the star of the moment, but the story follows a familiar pattern. The second act has the super
creepy part when the ghosts of Christmas past show up and scare the pants (if he was wearing
any under his nightshirt) off of Ebenezer Scrooge. They force him to revisit his past Christmas’s
since he had been such a nightmare to everyone in his life.
What if the ghosts of Thanksgiving past were to do a drop into your past Thanksgivings? I am
willing to bet a most were good, a handful was great and a few well were a giant downer. Did
you always pretend they were fabulous to your friends back at work or school on Monday? Did
you act like things were perfect at the time when you were in fact screaming on the inside?
Sometimes, life flat out stinks and the calendar is not on our side. It would be fabulous if we
could schedule all of our crises and disappointments away from big birthdays, Valentine’s Day,
the Holidays, New Year’s or anytime where Life + Holiday= Bigger Crisis. Ideally, all of our
upsetting life events should be during April, so the weather isn’t too depressing and it isn’t near a
major holiday, so it would have to be after Easter, but not too close to Mother’s Day so your
Mom wouldn’t ask too many questions… See this can get a little bizarre rather quickly.
When Life gets Lifey, it does not care what day of the week it is, or if you have the time to
schedule a family member to get sick, a tree to fall through your house or for you to decide you
want to change your major halfway through your Senior year of college.
Looking back on Thanksgivings past, one, in particular, was a doozy. Things were not going well.
We changed our usual Holiday plans and did something completely different. Was this the best
answer? Perhaps, it is impossible to know looking back. What I absolutely do know for sure is
pretending like everything was perfect was not a possibility for me, however, I didn’t go from
person to person at my daughter’s lacrosse practice and tell them the problem.
There is a balance between oversharing at an acquaintance at Starbucks and pretending
“Everything Is Awesome” as in the Lego Movie, sometimes it isn’t always clear to tell what to
say and how to act. We all know people who live on either extreme and there are pluses and
minus to both, however, I do not believe either case truly learns gets the lesson. The over-sharers
tend to be upset everyone isn’t running to support them, they get lost in the drama, as they tend
to forget they told all their first, second and third tier friends about the crisis last week about the
dry cleaner, so when the crap truly hits the fan, everyone isn’t answering the SOS calls. For all
the Lego Movie fans, to say nothing but be dying a slow death on the inside, is unhealthy and
disconnects us from ourselves and our community. Often, this coping mechanism can lead to a
whole other set of problems, Yes, we are all stronger than we think. However, all of us is stronger
than one of us!
Who can forget Beyonce’s legendary “Lemonade” concept album? I am not implying I know
Becky With The Good Hair. Notwithstanding, I would like to express how often looking back
when life is super challenging, it will be when we had our opportunity for growth. The hard
times were when we found out maybe our values were screwy or how capable we truly were. If
we run away from the opportunity and do not look deeper at what this crappy experience we did
not want is telling us, we very often learn something we needed to learn.
Standing in the middle of the awful time and being quiet enough to hear the lesson can feel
excruciating, but it is during these moments we can really strengthen our connection to
ourselves. When we try to run away from our feelings with food, it only makes things worse. I
cannot promise you life will get easier, or better or the tree will fall into your house, I
absolutely guarantee you going to food to avoid experiencing one of these times WILL ONLY
MAKE THINGS WORSE. I know this to be true for a few reasons
1) I tried it a lot and trust me, the problem was still there afterwards.
2) Your body will now have to handle the stress and the resulting inflammation from the
problem and now the food you just shoveled down in an attempt to distract yourself. Stress is
seen as inflammation as is sugar, flour and or artificial sweetener. Odds are you just doubled
down on the inflammation your body will have to process. Your sleep will be more disrupted
than it was before the food, your mood, your skin and the rest of your body will only be in
3) The chemical reaction of the sugar and flour on your brain. The sugar and the flour will now
be causing your blood sugar to crash and be demanding your body to go find more of both
chemicals. In addition, it will take weeks for you to completely process the sugar and the
flour out of your body.
When we go to Food to distract ourselves from how we are feeling, it does not work. If we feel
the stinking feeling and survive, we get better and feeling the feeling the next time something
comes our way. I cannot promise you a peaceful life, I can promise you the more we walk into
the feelings versus try and hide in a bag of Sugar or Starch, the better we will be at it.
The first time we do something whether it be anything from learning how to knit, or speaking a
second language, at first it doesn’t feel natural, but in time we do not think about it. Embracing
the Suck can be the same way. Going to any other sort of way to process our feelings will not
occur to us in time, but there has to be a first time.
I wish everyone an amazing Thanksgiving, however, if you are one of those who didn’t get lucky
tomorrow, I feel for you. Do yourself a Thanksgiving favor and do not try and pretend everything
is perfect, even if that means you are fifteen minutes late to your parents or the pies have to be
store bought this year. Taking care of yourself is never the wrong decision and today is the
perfect day to start.