Friday, November 14, 2008

Because I am feeling pissy about it

I wrote this column, about 10 days ago. Submitted it as requested.

Nothing. No feedback, no response of any kind. No publication.

And now, of course, this is feeding into all of my insecurities. They don't like it, they don't like me, they aren't running the column any more, on and on and on my mind races.

So you know what ? Fuck it. If they aren't going to run it then it's MINE and I am posting it HERE. Dammit. It's out of date now, but whatever.

Don’t forget to give thanks.

I was in town this past weekend, and was overwhelmed by the competing holiday merchandise.

First up to grab our attention - we have Halloween (which as anyone who has been on Maui for Halloween knows, is an incredibly intense holiday here). There are all manner of illuminated, animated, inflated and colorful decorations – from window clings to lawn ornaments. Even infants are rocking colorful Mohawks and temporary tattoos in honor of this very special day. Children come home from school clutching grocery bags full of candy and toys and treats, unless the school closed for the holiday – because people really do take it THAT seriously. The stores this weekend were still filled with aisles and aisles of everything needed to celebrate the holiday in excess – now deeply discounted. My kids spent half an hour in one aisle, pushing buttons to make ghouls eyes light up, and spooky noises come forth. Hiding amongst the now-tattered and motley collection of costumes marked to 50% off, my daughter poked her face out and asked if we could go trick or treating again. Not a chance, kiddo. My son tossed a Star Wars toy in the cart that was apparently an accessory to the costume he wore last week. Now that it was on sale, the laser-type thingy was actually in his price rage, and he was thrilled. He has had the costume on almost non-stop since Thursday, and this really brought the whole thing together, apparently. The piece de resistance, if you will.

As we rounded the corner and I breathed a sigh of relief to be moving away from the clutter of gory d├ęcor, I discovered that the Christmas decorations are out. I say Christmas because I didn’t personally see any Hanukah or Kwanzaa items – that doesn’t mean they weren't there, I just couldn't see anything beyond the fake trees and signs and wreaths and stockings and fake snow and ornaments and gift wrap. There is already Christmas candy, crowding out the orange wrapped goodies left over from October. Santas are dancing in the aisle, and my son almost cleared an entire shelf of what looked to be incredibly delicate ornaments, with a swing of his discounted Star Wars weapon. It was quite the contrast – Peace, love, snow, Santa, and a ray gun. Such is my life, in a nutshell.

I hustled everyone out of the store, fed up with the commercialism, the noise, the marketing and merchandising so carefully designed to reel in my little kids and everyone else, and I realized that in all of that excess and bedlam, something had been missing.

Where was Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, hands down, if only because of the name. It is so important to stop, and give thanks for what you DO have, even if there is much you are doing without, or cutting back on these days.

So I am on a mission to bring Thanksgiving to the forefront. I am hosting a pre-Thanksgiving dinner, to get everyone in the spirit. I think this year, of all recent years, we have a need to reflect, and remember what we have to be grateful for. So before you start buying holiday decorations, and panicking about your budget and how much gift wrap you need, and whether you should really get up at 4am to hit the stores the morning after Thanksgiving…..stop.

Breathe.

Put down the animated Carolers and the flashing snowflakes. We live in Hawaii for crying out loud – you don’t need snowflake decorations here. Look around. Watch the waves roll in, take a walk, feel the warm sand on your toes.

Be thankful to be surrounded by warmth and beauty.

Don’t forget Thanksgiving. It may not have the same marketing machine behind it as Halloween and Christmas, and you may have an issue with the Pilgrims, or our government…..but you can still give thanks for what is in your own life, and in your own heart. If not everyday, then at least, on this particular day – it is set aside just for the purpose of remembering, and showing gratitude – to a friend, to your family, to your guiding spirit, perhaps even to yourself. Haven’t you been awfully hard on yourself lately? I think so. Let’s take care of each other, this day and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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