I am standing in my kitchen. Alone. Stuffing the bird. Preparing sides. Feeling the ticking clock of dinner needing to be done by a certain time. Bird needing to be in the oven in 6 minutes. While reflecting on this momentous day. This day we are supposed to look into with gratitude. A day we are thankful.
To see the abundance in our lives. To see there is food on the table. Loved ones around. Family filling the dining room. Voices carrying through the house. Laughter echoing through the halls.
But what if there aren’t those things?
What if the family I once saw, I once gathered with, is no longer around? What if the silence I kept suddenly broke? An admittance surfaced. Changing my view, my reality, my situation. Leaving me unable to ever go back.
What if politics and current affairs have exposed a painful truth in my family members I now can never unsee? What if the current climate has hijacked the holiday? What if unproven Qanon beliefs are preached to my 8 year old son as he slices into his pumpkin pie? If he’s told the first female, black vice president is a baby killer? Drinks blood?
What if the current president legitimacy is the main topic of conversation while passing the gravy? If climate change is called a hoax? If racism is denied? And a young white boy with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle is acquitted for gunning down two unarmed black protesters is celebrated?
What if my black family member was shot and killed by the LAPD for getting into a car accident on Crenshaw Blvd and half my family has since referred to him as “riffraff”. His death not questioned because of the street he chose to take. His murder brushed off as an assumption "he was up to no good.” All without having any information of the deadly night. Insinuating the tragedy was “possibly deserved”.
What if I feel like an outcast for finally voicing the inhumane? When I welcome being such an outcast for being true to myself and my view point? When I am called offensive for disagreeing. “Crazy.” Accused of “trying to silence them.” As “woke” in a derogatory way. As “radicalized left” for disagreeing with theories I find ignorant, misunderstood or unjust.
When I have watched everyone and everything slip away because I suddenly refuse to pretend any longer.
Because I refuse to remain quiet. Unseen. Unheard. Or disregarded.
What happens when I finally admit all that I have been stuffing? All that I have silenced. That has festered, grown and broken out. All that I have bit my lip and felt fill my core. Or all that I have brushed under the rug. A rug so elevated now that it looks as if an entire body lay underneath. That body being an integral part of who I am and everything I have stuffed. So full I feel my sides splitting. I feel myself tearing apart at the seams.
What happened is I have now found myself alone. While also finding myself freed. Unshackled. True. Capable.
Connected in a way I have never felt before because I am now connected to myself. I have admitted my truth. I have broken my silence. I have stood up for what I believe.
I have admitted wrongs I can never again deny. I am raising my son the way I see fit, authentic, honest. Instead of how others demand, believe and preach that I should.
I have chosen love over hate. Truth over denial. Science over conspiracy. Well being over loyalty.
I am left with memories of moments that might have been filled with family, but have been facades. Pretend. False.
Realizing, on this holiday, I have stuffed who I am until the container broke. The rug is filled. The stuffing over flowed and spilled. My insides have oozed and made a mess. A mess too big to clean. To real to deny.
I find myself watching the clock. The time ticking forward. Standing in my kitchen. Alone. Stuffing the bird. Preparing sides for only 2 others. While knowing I have been true to myself. Reflecting on this momentous day. This day we are supposed to look into with gratitude.While now I am left exposed. Undressed. Sad at the state of the world. Yet, raw. Relieved. But most of all, eternally thankful.