While I am not an unthankful person, I realized this Thanksgiving that I really am not very good at being a thankful person. Periodically throughout the day I received email and text messages wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving, which I returned, of course. But, I wouldn’t really have thought of sending out these messages and texts to people. I noticed on Facebook how many people were giving thanks for people, for their dinner, for a myriad of things. Instead, I was cooking, cleaning, laundering, costuming and wondering why I wasn’t getting more stuff done and thinking about how I could make my day off the most productive AND have a kick-ass meal with Mr. Velvet, as well.
This is not to say I didn’t take some time to relax. I slept in. I had guinea pig play time. I watched a movie with Mr. Velvet. But, I didn’t think about giving thanks, I thought about what I needed to do and what I could get done.
I am not proud of this mindset. Last year, during my show “Just Another Zombie Holiday Show,” teacher, mentor, and friend Kel Wil sent me a lovely voice mail. She told me how much she enjoyed the show and asked me if I was reveling in my accomplishment of creating it and putting it on stage. I was not reveling. I wish I had been reveling. I was worrying. About the next show, the next project, the next thing to do on my list. I don’t take much time to appreciate what is around me or to appreciate myself.
Again, it isn’t that I am not grateful for what I have in life, but, like a lot of people, it is easier to focus on the things that I didn’t get or I didn’t achieve or the stress I had to deal with than the actual things I accomplished, the good times I had, the great things that happened to me. I always see the flaws in my own work, think what I do is not good enough, seek perfection (whatever that is – somewhere in my brain I know other people must have it), and sometimes I even forget that I am supposed to be enjoying what I am doing and not punishing myself for not doing everything even better. I sometimes have to stop listening to music just because my brain starts telling me I need to find something to choreograph, because I can’t just enjoy some brain off-time while driving in my car listening to tunes.
It is a dirty, never-ending-spiral when you focus on the negatives. Because you can’t see the positive, you think everything is bad. You have improve, you have to get better, you have to do more, you can’t say no to yourself or to anyone else because you may never recover from that missed opportunity, assignment, or task. From the negative, I think, stems the striving, the doing, the accomplishing, instead of the being. I have always told people that I am not the friend that people have fun with. I am the helping friend. The doing friend. As if my lack of being useful would make me invisible or even hated. It goes to the saying, “What have you done for me, lately?” Which may not be said out loud very often, but which is emblazoned in my brain. Note: I know that I have some true friends – people who are there for me regardless of what I do for them – and I have a caring, loving husband. Who I also do a lot of shit for, but who would love me even if I didn’t.
So, I am working on it. Some days better than others (as working on things usually happens.) I am trying to write down good things (which I am behind on doing, because writing this was apparently way more important.) and focus on positives more and negatives less. Focus on me. Give thanks for what I have and what I have accomplished. Revel in what I have done and revel in just being me. This doesn’t mean I am going to change who I am, but sometimes I (and that is probably a lot of others out there, too) need to appreciate and admire what I have done and not just worry about what needs to be done next. I hope you already take the time to give thanks and to revel in yourself. If not, maybe you can take the journey with me.