shweta_narayan (shweta_narayan) wrote,

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Happy thanksgiving to US folk who celebrate it.

But I don't think I celebrate it so much as go through the motions for family peace. It's not that I dislike harvest festivals; I love the idea of them, and I am all for celebrating when the hard work is done and bringing people together to get through the winter months. In societies where that bears some resemblance to reality.

And I am deeply grateful for the people in my life, the ones who care, who make me reconsider assumptions, who give me space to have a voice. You know who you are! But that voice, today, is not managing "thankful".
(ETA: and on the subject of having a voice, thank you ithiliana for speaking out so often on so many important topics, and thus helping me have one. Including, coincidentally, today.)

Thing is that this version of a harvest festival seems weird to me; very "Let's be thankful we invaded this land and destroyed a whole lot of it and devastated a so very many families, so very many cultures". Or in my case "Let's be thankful we get to be the immigrants that the most destructive wave of immigrants let in after taking over.*"

Wouldn't it make more sense to have a "let's take some time to think about the people who let us have what we need/want, but are screwed over in the process" day? And instead of... I dunno, eating more than we need today and buying a lot for ourselves the next day, to give back somewhat? (I'm not thinking charity here, because it has its own problems with underlying entitlement imo, I'm thinking taking a real look at what we normally grab beyond our share, and undoing some of the damage we cause by living the way we do, at least as a cognitive exercise to make us more mindful...)

Wouldn't that require somewhat less doublethink, even if it's just for one day?

Or, I dunno, can indigenous people and other oppressed groups only be considered on one day a year even in more progressive and community-minded privilege groups?

I work at blending into my adopted culture, I swear I do, but I'm having a lot of trouble swallowing this one.

Maybe I'm being an asthmatic grouchy grinchy type. Maybe I'm externalizing social anxiety about needing to speak up about what I'm thankful for in a few hours, after a year where I've had about three sick days to every good day (setting the bar really low on "good"), after a month of extra breathing trouble and lack of focus and being stalled right out on writing anything, after a week when I've had to seriously consider moving again, after a day when airport cleaning solvents (maybe?) sent me into asthma attack.
Maybe I'm just having a hard time being thankful this year.

Or maybe I'm thinking about this instead of just accepting another tradition-of-adopted-culture because I've had my consciousness raised some by the Year Of Fail.
And if so, maybe that's something to be thankful for. The hard things. The learning experiences. The discomfort.

Or maybe both of those are true. Certainly it's possible to have things to be thankful for and not be able to shift mode to thankful on order because of other things one is not supposed to be whining about today.


* Not that it is emphasized in this family/friends group's thanksgiving, which is a collection of very cool people being cool together, and I'm glad of that. It's just such a pervasive presupposition in the culture, and so seldom challenged, that I can't get away from seeing it.

Tags: anti-racism, indigenous people, thanksgiving, thoughts
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