Thanksgiving. Being lucky enough to live in Canada and have a job, for most of the people I know, this particular long weekend means turkey dinners, drinking wine, washing dishes, spending time with family and friends. I'm actually trying to fit in three separate Thanksgiving dinners this weekend if you can believe that. Two years ago I would have laughed at the idea that life could come so full circle.
There are so many things we have to be grateful for, not just this weekend, but every day. Family, friends, health, home, money, the list goes on and on. We are very lucky.
But this year the thing I am most grateful for is Freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of speech. Things that people have fought for over the centuries, but I never really understood how absolutely necessary these things are to true happiness until recently.
I ran into a friend from a past life yesterday. She still lives the way I used to, being told how to think, what to say, who to be friends with, who she can talk to, who she can date, who she can love. She's not a very happy person.
But, because of how she's conditioned to think, she looked at me with a mixture of pity and condescencion. When she asked how I was, I thought for a second about all the things I wanted to say.
I wanted to tell her that with the barriers that kept me at arms length from my family removed, I have a closer relationship with them that I ever would have. I wanted to tell her that now that I no longer have to go through life secretly judging and trying to change people, people like me so much better. I wanted to tell her I finally have true, loyal friends who I know would never walk away from me just because someone else told them they had to. I wanted to tell her that I don't have to live in fear of that ever happening to me again.
I thought briefly about the fact that I don't have to be eternally single like her, because I can date whoever I want, instead of being forced to choose a romantic partner from a tiny pool of people who are "acceptable" to the group.
Thoughts ran through my head about how much I love my job, my apartment, my friends, my complete freedom to choose to live the life I want to live, not the life someone else is dictating for me. And how much more interesting it is to be able to bring anyone into your life that you want, just based on who they are as a person and not their religious views or lifestyle choices.
I wanted to tell her how strong I felt having been able to make those changes to my life and move on. But she never would have believed me anyway. So I just smiled and said "I'm great". And I am.
With a worried look that showed clearly she thought I was hiding my internal pain and suffering under a brave external smile, and a hug, we walked away from each other.
This Thanksgiving, I feel like the war I've been fighting the past couple of years is finally over. There are still a few battle wounds that will take a little longer to heal, but thank the universe, I am free. :)