This Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.
I truly am blessed. I am studying abroad in Spain and have met many people I love here. I am a college student, relatively economically stable, working towards a job I want dearly. I have loving friends, loving family and a loving community within the world of Turbo Kick. I am lucky enough to have discovered at a young age my passion for helping others and the skill sets that I have that make it possible to achieve it. Basically, there is a lot going right in my life right now.
But what am I most thankful for? The fact that I am thankful at all.
Let’s rewind the clock. Growing up, I was always a tad insecure. I was friends with the “popular” girls when I was young, but I never quite fit in, with my nerdy personality and my slightly overweight figure. But I was a happy child, spoiled with the love that only an only child of a woman with fertility issues can understand.
Then 7th/8th grade came around. That’s the time in our lives when we all start to face something within ourselves or our exterior world that we hadn’t seen before. For me, it was my homosexuality, and the negative response I recieved daily through subtle messages made me feel like a disappointment. I sank into a depression that I didn’t escape until about a year ago.
During those 4-6 years of darkness, it was hard for me to be grateful for anything. If I ever did feel thankful for something, that moment was quickly dashed by the voice in my head that made me feel guilty for my depression when I had so much to be thankful for. This was the cycle I found myself in, and it took a lot of time, suffering and self-inspection to rise above it. I had a few extremely dark moments, and I truly am a lucky person to have survived them.
In the past few months – starting with Camp Do More adn going into a month of travel and almost four months of studying abroad – I have grown immensely. There is an absolute abundance of things that I am thankful for, but today, since I was uncapable of recognizing any of this for so long, I am going to say why I am thankful that I am me.
- I am thankful that I am introspective. Through this, I feel I am better able to understand the world around me.
- I am thankful that I have a gift for empathy and being a source of support for others.
- I am thankful that I am a hard worker. It allows me to experience thigns that I would never experience otherwise, and it allows me to truly appreciate the meaning of something after I earn it.
- I am thankful for my sense of humor. The fact that I laugh openly and often means that I am open to joy in life.
- I am thankful that I am an “old soul.” Connecting with people older than me gives me maturity, joy and quite possibly protects me from many stupid mistakes that many of my peers make. On top of that, some of the most amazing friends and relationships that I have made have been with people older than me.
- I am thankful that I am so talkative. How else would I connect with others?
- I am thankful that I can sometimes be a kiss-ass. It has never failed to help me make connections and to help me find situations that benefit me.
Most of all, I am thankful that I am so brave. I honestly believe I am one of the bravest people I know. Look at all of these examples:
- I came out to my mother while still in high school, knowing full well how unsupportive she would be.
- I reached for help when in my darkest moment.
- I fought through that darkness to be in the positivity I am in today.
- I shared my depression story with many, many people and helped myself while helping others.
- I auditioned to teach Turbo Kick just over a month after my certification.
- I studied abroad in Spain with little to no Spanish knowledge.
- I filmed myself doing Turbo Kick in extremely crowded, popular locations and put it on YouTube for the world to see.
- I have performed on stage many times, in concerts and plays alike.
- I sang “Who Will Love Me As I Am” in a concert just days after coming out.
- I went ziplining despite a terrible fear of heights.
- I held pigeons despite a terrible fear of birds.
- I shared my romantic feelings with someone, which was conquering one of my biggest fears of all.
There is more, but I am just writing out what comes to mind first.
All in all, this rambling post is just to say that I am thankful for myself, which I think is the most beautiful thing I could possibly say.