We all do it. We sit around the table or the family room after we have consumed large amounts of turkey and pumpkin pie (which, by the way, I have never had in my life; it’s the color that keeps me away from it really) and then the sweats come. It isn’t the food sweats; it’s the sweats associated with knowing you will have to admit to a room full of people what you are thankful for this year. You start thinking about your year. You wonder if you are going to sound dumb.

The train wreck starts and everyone starts adding his or her thankful thoughts onto the main car. You think to yourself maybe you should steal that person’s idea. No one could argue that being healthy isn’t something to be thankful for. Well, then you hear Uncle Larry say he is thankful for his kids and you think maybe you should be thankful for your family. But that’s lame. Everyone says that one.

There are two people in front of you and you have to make a decision. You have to tell this room full of people (half of them you never saw before in your life even though they swear they knew you when you were five) what you are thankful for. You have to pick one thing and your mind is nothing but a blank wall (with the occasional turkey running by saying “gobble gobble” and then falling on its face).

It’s the moment of truth. Everyone is looking at you. The room is silent. They want to know what you are thankful for.

It isn’t that you aren’t thankful. It’s just been a shitty year and it’s hard to find something good in all that shit. Besides, your mind always focuses on the negative, so all you are thinking about is your failure at finding a job, your failure with your family…so what can you be thankful for?

It hits you then. In all the misery, you do have something to be thankful for. For the first time in your life, you aren’t fighting who you are anymore. You have accepted your illness. You have accepted you are a writer. You have accepted you are on a new path to a new career.

So, without giving the whole cow away, you mutter out that you are thankful for acceptance. Sure, they all look at you like you have lobsters falling out of your nose, but it doesn’t matter. You don’t explain anymore because you don’t need to explain it to them. They just have to accept you on your terms, just as you have finally accepted yourself on your terms.