Today is November 28th, 2013. In the United States, it is Thanksgiving. In Argentina, it is Thursday.
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. It’s a time of love, togetherness, and comfort (without all the commercialism thrown in like it is on Christmas). Moreover, what I love about Thanksgiving is that it is a time for deep reflection, for realizing what we all have to be thankful for.
What am I most thankful for this year? As odd and random as it may sound, I am thankful to be literate.
This past year was a complicated one for me, mostly due to my unexpected pregnancy. I was facing many, many personal demons. Demons of insecurity, doubt, self-hate, and self-destruction, to name a few. With each passing day, these demons threatened to push me over the edge of sanity, as I fell deeper and deeper into a state of constant despair. For all intents and purposes, I was suffering from a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t function on a normal level of any sort. For the first time in my life, I experienced ugly panic attacks that could strike at any time (which got scarier as time passed, the larger and more pregnant I became). I recall marveling how frightful it all felt, how fine and elastic the membrane of this barrier into madness was. How much more tension could this metaphoric membrane possibly endure before it broke and I totally lost it for good? I was petrified.
My only solace at a point was my writing. I look back on what I wrote during that time period, and I am frankly amazed. I am amazed at the sheer amount and length of what spilled out from my brain onto the computer, for pages and pages and pages. It didn’t just come out of me with ease, it poured out practically unstoppable. It was, if anything, a temporary relief of pain, like draining pus from a festering wound. I was writing compulsively about anything and everything until 5am, to the point that I had to force myself to finally shut the computer down. My writing saved me. Months have passed, and although I don’t plan on deleting any of it, I do not plan on publishing it either, as it almost seems like the rants of a madwoman. I know that what I wrote at that time would do more than just raise a few eyebrows. Nevertheless, at the time, writing as a form of exorcism was the only thing keeping me tethered to the ground.
Now that the storm has passed, it seems that my writing has become less outlandish, and requires a bit more deliberate effort to articulate what I want to say. But I am still blessed with the gift of a mind that loves to read and loves to write, for which I will always be grateful.
The fact of the matter is, statistically speaking, women are far more likely than men to be the illiterate ones in this world (as well as live in poverty, be exploited, etc.). Although I am thankfully none of these things, it doesn’t mean that I am not conscious of everything that I am blessed with every single day. I never want to take this for granted. It petrifies me just to think of how much emptier and more painful my life would be if I were unable to read and to write. My thoughts would be stuck in my head, they would never have an outlet. My life would lack a great deal of purpose, and I would undeniably feel more vulnerable, more frightened, and undoubtedly more alone.
Life is complicated. Life is messy. But my books, my writings, and my blog help me cope in a better and healthier way. So above all, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the precious gift of being able to read and write.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.