Dear Tradition, consider yourself flouted. Love, me
And that is Thanksgiving done. Phew.
As you may know, it is my least favorite day of the year. I had ignored it, considered it just another Thursday, for a long time.
This year we went to my boyfriend’s family’s home for dinner, and my Mom’s for dessert. (Of course I did not partake of dessert.)
It was fine. It was even nice. Or at least there were some really nice moments. But it’s so much. It’s so much food. It’s so much noise. It’s so much heightened emotion.
I have said before that I am not afraid of food. I don’t worry about eating things I’m committed to not eating. But it is not always comfortable. It can sometimes be a matter of holding my thoughts in check. And that can be exhausting. Especially when I am out of my element.
And also especially on Thanksgiving. Because the traditional mode of celebration is eating. To not eat can somehow feel like I’m saying, “screw you, tradition. And screw you too, America.” To go to Thanksgiving celebrations and not eat sugar and carbs, and not over eat, and not do anything “special” is, without a doubt, to set yourself apart. It is to show up at a party and then…not party. It can feel like being the party-pooper. Which is why I used to just treat it as another day. It’s easier that way.
Of course I DO NOT WANT to eat sugar. I do not want to over eat. I am not telling you all of this because I want an excuse to “live a little.” I do not want any excuses. I love my boundaries. Seriously, getting my eating under control is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. And I am not interested in giving that up for a feeling of inclusion. Or normalcy. I am telling you this because I have made a choice. The choice to participate in this tradition on my own terms. For my boyfriend, mostly. Because it’s important to him to do his family traditions. And I love him.
But my food always has to be on my terms. Always. Period.
Look, people know. My boyfriend’s family is totally supportive. My family is totally supportive. I’m not saying that anyone was pressuring me. It is having to protect myself from the “Great American Institution” that is Turkey Day that is exhausting.
But it’s only one day a year. And nobody said I had to love it. I just have to get through it. And I don’t have to worry about that for another year.