My anger burned to the point of tears that just wouldn't come. Instead, a nausea seasoned with disdain swirled around in my belly. It wasn't pretty. I wasn't fully equipped to transform my anger into something good, something functional. In fact, I started wanting dysfunction. I wanted shit to hit the fan. I was ready for a fight. This doesn't sound like a gratitude post, does it? Anger is a very real source for action. And that's the only way to use it. So when the tears finally did come early in the morning, when the wound finally did allow the air in by admitting my own failure, my own disappointment, my own inability to control the forward action of this particular plot line, Husband chimed in with the exact right thing, "You can't fix this right now. So try something new. Try being present."
I married a good one, don't ya think? At 8am this guy has a lot of wisdom.
He made me realize how much anger is about the past and the future. I was angry over how things had been going and about how they might go in the future. Nothing about my anger was hooked to the present moment. It was all theoretical, living in a no man's land of shouldas and gonnas. If anger doesn't alchemize to action, then it removes us from the only power we really have which is all located in our dynamic present. In Aggy (my precocious kittychild) tossing herself on the floor and rolling around in the pure joy of having caught a toy, in the stranger whose eye contact I accidentally grab and in the smile we share, in saying the words "Happy Thanksgiving" to my morning barista and feeling like they landed, in being loved by family and friends with full and raging hearts, and in Husband who knows the easy thing to say and the right thing to say, and always goes for the right thing because that's how much he loves and respects me.
So to honor Husband and to honor the transformative power of anger, here's my gratitude list for this Thanksgiving.
I'm grateful for:
- Every time I lost a final callback.
- A terrible pasta dinner I made once for Husband. We called it Melted Vegetables. You can imagine.
- The friendships I have lost in the process of growing up.
- The friendships that have grown up with us.
- The terrible uncertainty of life assuring me that looseness is a much more hopeful way to live.
- Times I didn't speak up.
- The times I did speak up because I learned what keeping my mouth shut felt like.
- Letting people dislike me.
- Letting people love me.
- Giving up on self-shaming to replace it with forgiveness and a shit ton of hope.
- Learning I need to detach from finite things like money and success to have either of them.
- The struggle to detach from those things.
- Every time I've overreacted and realized a better outcome could emerge from slowing things down.
- The kindness of strangers. (Thank you, Mr. Williams, for that one.)
- Loving people so much that when I inevitably lose them, it will feel like an amputation.
- The fragile world around us.
- The right kind of lip gloss.
- The right kind of coffee.
- The right kind of love.
Not everything feels correct. And that incompleteness can cause frustration, disappointment, and anger. But the present can still be beautiful though incomplete. It can still be powerful though fractured. On this Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for now. Incomplete, fractured, beautiful now.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.