Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Your Damn Gratitude Journal

I should be going to bed, yet here I am.

I don't have anything to complain about except that everyone's Facebook pages are filled with gratitude posts. Why does that bother me? Sure, I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday, so I should take the whole month of November and be thankful every day, right?


I'm allowed to be a curmudgeon. Who ever said I had to state out loud, to all my friends, acquaintances, and people who friended me who I was too polite to refuse, all the ways that I am grateful?

Why does this bother me so much?

Because I'm sure everyone knows that I love my family. Of course my boy is amazing. The way he broke those boards with his open hand last night at the talent show was perfect. I'm grateful he didn't break his hand. Of course I love my husband and I'm happy he didn't croak when he had his heart attack three weeks ago. I'm telling you, there is nothing like hearing 'your husband had a heart attack' to get you thinking about love, about how you might not be able to live without someone, about how fucking dependent you are on the fact that they breathe in and out next to you in your bed at night.

But do I have to broadcast that to my friends? Most of them lie in their beds at night next to men or women that they love too. Yes, some of them had fights that day. Some get annoyed because their husband's towel is always askew on the towel rack. Some didn't take the time to really watch the movie with their beloved before they went to bed because how many times can you hear 'You can't handle the truth!' without knowing the line before and the line after in that movie?

Am I clear?


So, I think I hate those gratitude posts on Facebook, not because those people are grateful. It's good to be grateful. It makes you happier to be grateful and I think you live longer.

I hate those gratitude posts on Facebook because they have a Martha Stewart feel to them instead of an Oprah feel. You know what I mean, right? The sheets are 1200 thread count percale, folded impeccably. The lawn has every blade of grass in place. The children are all on the honor roll and the boys are on track to become Eagle Scouts. The bottle-blond wives are still thin and pretty and the husbands are manly enough that they can deadlift 235 pounds. Someone in the household works at one of the big four, Microsoft, Amazon, AT&T Wireless, or Google. Their lives are just about perfect most of the time anyway. And the children's well-tutored SAT scores are perfect too. Right?

Oh, I can't compete. That's the problem. I watched Martha fold her fitted sheets perfectly and I could never duplicate that. My lawn is pathetic, even where there is grass. My son is bright, funny, and solid as a rock, but not on the honor roll. He may or may not become an Eagle Scout, despite the fact that my husband is the Scoutmaster. I am not bottle-blond, nor am I pretty or thin, but I try to make up for that with sincerity. My husband never lifted weights, but he's had a solid job with a technical company for the past twenty-three years. My life is never perfect. I almost always have a spot on my shirt after I eat, and I make mistakes, lots of mistakes, every day. So, I guess I'd rather be like Oprah than Martha Stewart. Oh, I know that Oprah struggled to manage her weight. She looks good, doesn't she? Who cares what that woman weighs? She's got her own network, for God's sake. What I like best about her are her imperfections, her enthusiasms, and her honesty.

So, I guess I wouldn't mind those gratitude posts on Facebook if I could see a bit more of the person in the post. I'm not interested in one more perfect post about the perfect life. Show me something real, something even slightly imperfect that you can still be grateful for.

I'm grateful that my damned gutters are clean. I'm grateful for the carpet of red maple leaves on the green moss that grows on my sidewalk even though I know I'll eventually have to rake them up and shove them into the yardwaste container with the pizza boxes from last night. I'm grateful that my pants fit better now that I'm drinking 1 percent milk instead of whole. I'm grateful that, despite the fact he's never going to deadlift even eighty pounds, my husband's cheek is still pink in the morning light when I wake up to watch him sleep. I'm grateful for the fugly yellow, purple, green, and red pinch pot my boy made for me on the mantelpiece and that he doesn't have a clue how damned ugly that thing is. That is what I am grateful for, damn it.

Okay, all you gratitude journalists. Here is my proposition for you when you sit down to your Facebook page tomorrow morning. Make it real. Make it dirty. Get that gratitude out of the closet and roll it in the grass before you put it up for me to see on my Facebook wall. If it ain't real, I don't give a shit.

Thank you for listening, jules

No comments:

Post a Comment