Why I’m Thankful for my Mind This Year
The day I had been avoiding for as long as I could remember finally came. A day filled with family, laughter, football, alcohol, and most notably, food. Sounds fantastic, right? To most people, this holiday brings smiles, distant family, and memorable stories together. For me, it brought anxiety, a fake smile, and, common amongst everyone else, a hungry belly.
As soon as the day started I counted down the hours, actually the minutes, until it came to an end. Food consumed my mind. What to eat, what not eat, how much of what to eat, how I could avoid certain foods, and what foods were completely “off limits.” As family arrived my anxiety got worse and my heartbeat grew faster. I explained the shaking and coldness occurring throughout my entire body to others as “I’m just excited,” and “it’s unbearably cold outside.” Realistically, my body was in the process of shutting down to enter survival mode because I hadn’t eaten in about two days. Pictures were taken, hugs and kisses were exchanged, a toast was said, and food was served. My mind ran wild. Placing food like potatoes and stuffing on my plate made me nauseas. Everything going on surrounding me was blocked out and the only thing that mattered in my mind was how I was about to handle throwing away my food without anyone noticing. I had been doing this for a while, I had a method, but with so many people around it was a little harder to accomplish. Of course, not a single person had any idea that I was uncomfortable and nervous; I was beyond skilled at hiding my emotions. I ate small pieces of veggies here and there as I filtered in an out of conversations around the table, waiting for the perfect time to get up and dispose of my, basically full, plate of food.
As soon as I had the chance, I got up, threw my food away, and didn’t think about it again. Later in the evening we all discussed things we were thankful for in life. Instantly, I thought, “I’m thankful for being skinny.” Family left, leftovers were taken, and I went to bed, as always, with a growling stomach.
The day had finally arrived I had been waiting for all week, Thanksgiving! I woke up and went to my high school football game, where I was reunited with all my past friends, second families, and coaches. The weather was beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. The game came to an end and it was time to start helping mom prepare for dinner later in the evening. I came home to a kitchen that smelled like turkey and gravy heaven that was filled with family I hadn’t seen in months.
Seeing everyone, especially my grandparents, brought a true smile to my face, no more of that fake-smile nonsense. Once the food was done and ready to be eaten I flocked to grab my plate, filling it a mile high with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and, of course, turkey. Each and every bite was delicious. We all laughed and told stories about childhood times, and made fun of each other for the things we did over the past year. It was then, in that moment, I realized what I was most thankful for this year. My mind. I was actually taking in and participating in what was going on around me at the dinner table…something I didn’t have the privilege of doing just three years prior. I was purely cheerful.
There is a mix of amazement and concern regarding the extent to how beyond powerful our minds can be. For Thanksgiving 2011, the only thing that made me happy was that I was thin. Looking back, not only does that disgust me, but also has me in complete and utter disbelief because of the mindset I have today, and how much more things in life, actually important things, mean to me. I am grateful for the sun rising and setting each morning. I am grateful for the friends and family I have that have done nothing but support me to get me to the point in life I am at today. I am grateful for my house, the food served to me, and the clothes I wear that help me survive each and every day. I am thankful for my health…. it isn’t something that everyone has, and I know that from just three years ago. Above all, I am thankful for my mind. For realizing there is far more to be thankful for in life then the size of my body. For allowing me to take in and appreciate all that is going on around me. To let me wake up each morning and think to myself how wonderful it is to be alive.