the hurting kind
Thanksgiving is a weird day for me, because most years my family doesn't partake in anything that remotely resembles a traditional holiday celebration. It's been years since I've seen any extended family members, and more than a decade if I don't count my only stateside aunt. Sometimes I wonder what it'd be like to get the entire extended family together for a weekend, or even a single meal. Because I haven't ever known any sort of proper Thanksgiving tradition, the sort of Thanksgiving tropes I've picked up on from popular media—elaborate table spreads surrounding an oven-roasted turkey, questionable in-laws talking politics, annoying kids running around—are all fiction to me. A few years ago we didn't have dinner at all, so I found myself eating Thanksgiving dinner at the golden arches, which is still somehow the most and least American thing I've ever done.
I never know what to do with myself on a day like this. Everyone in my family is off in their own little world: my mom shopping, my dad working, my brother gaming. All my friends are (allegedly) celebrating at home with their families, and every place I usually go to to kill time is closed. I guess I could go to a park, but I can't spend all day at one, and besides, I get a bit antsy when I hear about the drunk-driving statistics on holidays. So I sit at home.
My brother came home for break. Aside from my family finally being able to play doubles, it sort of feels like he's not here at all. I feel bad saying so, but it's difficult to tear him away from his videogames and schoolwork when he is here. The times I do succeed in getting him outside often end up not so fun anyway, so I'm not sure why I even bother trying. Where does this sense of obligation come from, the desire to be a better big sibling? What's the right thing to do, anyhow?
Thanksgiving usually forces me to retreat to a book for company (and this year is no different), but it's been a long time since I've properly written a wordvomit and my boredom told me I'm out of excuses today. I've been a bit self-conscious about posting here since I shared my blog link with my interviewer, but now that I'm through the gates, I thought I'd be better off. Yet this self-consciousness persists, an uneasy discomfort stemming from (the possibility of) the gaze of unfamiliar eyes. (Even though in all likelihood, nobody has bothered to read more than a post or two.)
I know the solution for this discomfort is the same as it always is: just write. I need to use something like the Most Dangerous Writing App (or channel its fuckitjustwrite energy) to get over myself, and that's what I'm trying to do with this wordvomit. I'm so rusty that getting to 1,000 words feels like squeezing water from a rock, but I'm sure that after having written this one the next one will come slightly easier.
I got to see some old college friends this week and I can hardly believe it's only been a month since I saw some of them. The trip we took to Puerto Rico feels so distant to me now, even though it scarcely wrapped up a month ago. When I flip through the photographs we took, I cannot believe the person in them is me. It's not like that much has happened in the past few weeks either (at least, if we're counting memorable events), and I'm worried this might be some strange form of dissociation. I wrote it down to discuss with my therapist the next time I see her; hopefully she'll have some insight.
A few of them only have time to see me once this week (that one time being our group reunion), and it's been so long since I've talked to them individually they are multiple chapters behind in what Kayla would call my "lore". It's hard for me to remember who's been caught up on what, and keeping track also makes me think: how much does it matter that they know what's going on in my life? How much weight should I assign to my friends checking up on how I'm doing regularly? Some friends are very good about dropping in every once in a while, and for them I'm very grateful. But there are others that rarely do the same, or never in some extreme cases. Should that be a reflection of the quality of friend that they are? I'm not so sure where I stand on that one.
A friend of mine tells me that his friend who broke up with his ex around the same time I did with mine is seeing someone again. I am jealous, not because he's no longer single, but because I desperately crave feeling whole enough to do something like that, to even think about the thought of romance without experiencing pain and nausea. My therapist tells me that eight months is not a long time, and I don't know whether to believe her. It feels so long when I think about all that has happened since, and yet—when a photograph or a melody brings me back, eight months passes in the blink of an eye and there I am again, a card-carrying member of the hurting kind, the sandcastles I worked so hard to build washed away by the tide.
I have always been too sensitive, a weeper
from a long line of weepers.
I am the hurting kind. I keep searching for proof.