Thankful for

The middle history of Thanksgiving is curious.  I am not talking about the poorly documented 1621 encounter between natives and colonists.

Sarah Josepha Hale 1788 - 1879 Relentless, prolific, infle

Sarah Josepha Hale 1788 – 1879 Relentless, prolific, infle

Thanksgiving as the holiday we know can be credited to the Christian feminist Sarah Josepha Hale.  Hale has largely been vanished by the history books, but was an editor, activist, author, autodidact and lyricist.  She helped discover and was an early promoter of several great writers including Oliver Wendall Holmes and Edgar Allen Poe.  She wrote the lyrics to Mary had a Little Lamb.  She edited a highly influenced magazine at the time for 40 years (an unusual occupation for a woman at the time).  She also lobbied 5 presidents to create Thanksgiving, ultimately succeeding with Lincoln.  Her intention was to create a Christian holiday that was recognized nationally, in this she failed despite Lincoln’s highly pious speech announcing the holiday.

In light of this and a couple of days late, i wanted to laundry list a few things that i am highly thankful for.

High functioning body – somehow with very little sleep and a poor feeding regiment i have energy to do all the engaging things i do.

high functioning body

Exotic and complicated family of choice – I don’t know anyone who has a successful poly family by design from before conception.  Perhaps they are out there and i have not run across them.  But having more than two parents plus a community is the way to raise a child.  And i am thankful that this is what my life looks like.

Stars in Rome - Circa Nov 2013

Stars in Rome – Circa Nov 2013

Flexible and model life in community – My community work scene (like everyone who would like at Twin Oaks and Acorn) is extremely flexible.  i can run away occasionally for adventures, i can work mostly on things which i am really inspired by, i can do several different types of work each day and generally do.  And i can change my work scene if i tire of what i am doing.  This is lovely.

To the untrained eye - everything seems possible.  To the trained eye, almost everything is.

To the untrained eye – everything seems possible. To the trained eye, almost everything is.

Political freedom to dissent –  I have friends who are activists in Russia and Egypt and honestly i dont think i could do it.  I could not function with the constant low or medium level fear that i was going to get dragged away and possibly disappear. I have lots of critiques about the US, but it does permit me the broad political freedom i need to be a critic of the state.

protest march

Affluent class background and white privileged – at the risk of getting lectured by someone who feels like i don’t understand it well enough or am not doing enough to correct the oppression it represents, i am thankful that i don’t have to worry about being questioned and harassed by every other cop who passes me by or the dozens of other insults afforded non-whites in this often subtly racist culture.  I don’t pause before i charge through a ritzy hotel lobby or ballroom, despite my preposterous appearance.  I get that this privilege is unearned, i get that it comes with significant responsibility to push back on this oppression, including deep self reflection.  And i am still thankful for my station.

Every gift is an obligation.  I have a lot of work to do, give my good cards.  Work i am happy and thankful to do.

[Edited by Judy Youngquest]

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

4 responses to “Thankful for”

  1. Steven Mentor says :

    Great post, my friend. I am thankful, often, for you being in the same universe, same time space continuum. Thankful we’ve had the adventures we have had together, and thankful that we can, if we like, have more.

  2. moonraven222 says :

    I am very thankful that I got to be part of the Twin Oaks thanksgiving last year.

  3. dbmamaz says :

    haha the reader i read this on must have had a cached version – i was going to come talk about dissent vs decent but someone already fixed it – phew!

  4. Ken Jollofsky says :

    Most white people in the USA have no clue about racism. They think that since it is in their view no longer enshrined by law, and that there are some vestiges of affirmative action and anti-poverty programs, that minorities are now some sort of privileged class. You know that many of the behaviors you can freely engage in as a white person, like being on the street in NYC, or running in a hotel, can get you stopped and frisked by a rude demeaning authority figure if you are black. But the vast majority of white people have no clue. We have a black president, so what’s all the fuss about?
    Maybe that can be Obama’s special role as an ex-president, to explain to white people in terms they can follow, who racism is still at work in the USA, and what we can do about it.

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