On Gratitude + Appreciation

I feel like in the past couple of years there has been an influx in our conversations about gratitude and appreciation. We’re told to always be grateful for what we have and appreciate where we’re at and yadda yadda yadda like it is always a conscious choice where we put our feelings or even how we feel.

I was talking to one of my friends the other day and she was telling me she was proud of me for all that I’ve done this month. Moved out of an unhealthy living situation, officially started a relationship, published a book, started a new job… I hadn’t taken stock of my life in that way in a long time. I was humbled by what I had done and also shocked that I hadn’t recognized fully all that I had accomplished. The thing that got me the most though was that I still didn’t feel that proud feeling I expected. I wasn’t overcome by relief or emotion. I didn’t have an epiphic moment where I came into some other-worldly outside of myself realization of my worth and how far I’ve come.

Instead I realized that my lack of recognition for where I’d gotten myself was because it felt like it was necessary to not give too much weight to these instances so I could keep growing and moving forward.

My friend pointed out to me that it is sometimes necessary to not take stock. To close our eyes and keep plowing through – to not compare or judge, but simply just do. To realize later that you had gotten ahead and were okay and strong. But that to do this forever is it’s own kind of depression.

I feel like the past year has been about realizing and recognizing my true power and potential in my life. There was a lot less fear this year than there ever has been, which means all that energy I was able to put into faith. The challenges I took with a grain of salt and took on the mindset of knowing everything is temporary – but this survival mechanism also stole some joy from me. I was less able to be grateful for what I do have and who I am because I know it’s temporary too – or more, I make it temporary by living like this constantly. I wasn’t aware of the learning curve I was dipping into and how often the changes we make can sometimes bring us into even more of the same.

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Dear Gramma

You were my bestfriend for a very long time. You make the best macaroni that has ever graced my mouth. I think you wish I could be more like Hannah. I think you wish I would put more energy into being nice than to being honest. I used to want to be just like you. But the truth is you’re not what I want to be at all. I get compliments on your scarves and hats every time I wear them, but I still wish you could make a cardigan. I wish you could properly see my photography. And face. I know you wish you could too. You always give the best presents – except you’re really bad at picking out PJ’s but it’s okay. I’m sorry I stopped letting you hug me. It’s not your fault. I hope you make soups with the vitamix and have made friends in your knitting group. I wish you stuck with losing weight just to say you did it and so that you would get high with me and not be afraid of the munchies. But you got drunk with me and that was pretty cool too. The first time I ever tried vodka was at 1AM on the lake from your cupboard. It didn’t taste like death then. Plump looks good on you. I’m sorry I didn’t have more patience with you, I’m sorry I couldn’t listen when you spoke with nothing to say. I crave your food at least once a week. I’m sorry for you that you didn’t have the courage to stay behind and that it took me so long to realize it took a different kind of courage to leave at all. I know I should call you more, but your voice sounds different. I know I should e-mail you more, too. I know it was wrong of me to tell you I was mailing you art when I have no intention of doing that. Maybe I will now though. I’m just not that big on presents but I think that necklace was the best gift I ever gave and even though I don’t want to be you anymore don’t take it personally because I don’t want to be anyone else, either. For a few weeks – or months – I thought you were weak. In everyones own way we are. But you aren’t – not in the way I thought. I’m sorry for that. I’ve realized it takes a certain amount of resolve and determination to go through what you did and to put up with what you have. It seems to be a recurring thing in our family but I believe we still all deserve recognition for it. I know you can run and I wish you did. You were and are a great mom. I’m sorry if it feels like I’m forgetting you. I’m sorry for crying at you in Wal-Mart. I’m sorry I puked on the bus when I was 6. Thank you for keeping all of my shit over the years, and for putting up with it as well. Thank you for all the disposable pictures and couch beds. I love you like I’ve never loved anyone else. I hope you know that. I hope it’s the last thing you forget.

xoxo, puddin’ pie