A Thanksgiving Story

Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart. I have written many blog posts about how I feel about it and how deeply family and loved ones mean to me.

Childhood

My parents and both of their families are Jehovah’s Witnesses. So no birthdays nor holidays are celebrated at all. The only celebratory event allowed is a wedding anniversary.

Shunned

Although I never was baptized or joined the “religion,” I was shunned for all extents and purposes because I hadn’t embraced the family tradition, and I was a stain on both family’s names. After all, I turned my back on being a third-generation lifer.

When I began celebrating

My first experiences with any “family” holiday celebration only really came after I got married. My ex’s family didn’t include me in most of their holiday celebrations until I married her.

An outsider

Just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they too are a close-knit group, and I wasn’t part of their “family” yet, so, therefore, no special privileges. Fortunately, her family’s views on “outsiders” have evolved with the appearance of grandchildren, but yes, I know, a story for another blog post.

My first Thanksgiving

The first holiday I celebrated was Thanksgiving. I was alone, with no family, no money, and low on food. A few acquaintances and I gathered for a thanksgiving potluck. That experience changed my life. There was a sense of belonging, without judgment and the crutch of religion for the first time.

Leaving the cave

Once you’re divorced and leave the “family” cave, you’re on your own. Rightly so. They weren’t my family. Of course, my JW family stays in touch with my ex, and my ex stays in touch with my JW family. She got them too in the divorce. Yes, I know another story to tell.

Life on the savanna

Once you’re out on the open plains, you’re a target. The predators all have eyes on you. In the initial phase of me roaming free on the savanna, the J-Dubs worked hard to recruit me again; long-time friends shunned me, and in my case, I relived the shunning and the solitude all over again. PTSD can get worse if you let it.

Lions, tigers and bears

During my time on the savanna, I helped a friend escape an abusive relationship. I helped her move out and get settled into a new place. She and her ready-made tribe have been hanging out with me on the savanna ever since. Of course, the lions, tigers and bears always seem to be staking us, but hey, we know they’re there, so there are no surprises.

No more caves

We have decided that cave life isn’t for us. We’ll take our chances out on the savanna thank-you very much. Things are excellent on the savanna. Our little tribe is safe from predators, and we enjoy each other’s company.

Gratitude

I am grateful for the people in my life.

I do have a lot to be thankful for.

I am not alone.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!