A lot of people will be alone this Thanksgiving, either by choice or by a trick of fate. Just know that you’re not alone in your aloneness. A lot of us are alone this Thanksgiving. And Christmas too, bah humbug.

Let me tell you a little story that has helped me cope with being friendless, more or less, for most of my life.

About twenty-five years ago, I was a lonely teenager with no friends. How I wanted to have at least one friend or, even better, be one of the “cool” teens, secure in the bosom of a clique. But even the one time I somehow drifted into a clique, somehow I drifted right out again. So there I was, awkward, insecure and alone.

My dad sat down next to me, put his arm around me and gave me some good advice that has helped me never to feel alone again. “Lenora,” he said, “there’s you. Your basic self. Your more-or-less unconscious mind that just “is.” Then there’s your conscious mind, the one that is self aware. The mind that does your thinking and, you might say, has a conversation with your basic self. And then there’s God. That makes three of you. So you see, you’re never really alone.”

It might sound trite, but it helped tremendously. Ever since he told me that, I never felt alone again.

Many of us have chosen solitude over a drama-filled holiday spent with our dysfunctional families, our narcissistic relatives. If you’ve made that choice, you’re definitely not alone. My husband and I made that choice several years ago and never looked back. Holidays may be a non-event, but that’s better than the alternative. Been there, done that. No More Drama!

Even if you feel utterly alone and unknown in this world, you’re not. Let me tell you another story. On April 7th, 2017, a man named Rolland Martin died in Johnstown, New York. He had no next of kin. Not even a funeral. His belongings were auctioned and found their way to eBay where I purchased all of his family photos dating back to the 1920s.

It took a bit of Facebook finagling, but folks in the Jamestown, NY group recognized the photos and gave names to the anonymous folks in my eBay purchase. Now Rolland, his father Leonard and his mother Arlene and their bright faces smile from the walls of my home. Through them I’ve visited Niagara Falls, caught fish on Chautauqua Lake and, judging by the photos, drank rather a lot of beer with Len Martin. The forgotten man, Rolly, lives on and brings joy to my life through his photos.

That’s true of you too. The clerk who rings up your groceries may really enjoy joking with you. The barrista who whips up your latte may look forward to your smile, the fact that (unlike so many of his customers) you are cheerful in the morning. The garbage man may appreciate how you always wave to him. (Mine gets baked goods and fresh tomatoes; without him just imagine how filthy our worlds would be!) You are a blessing…even if your own family just can’t (e.g. won’t) see it.

This Thanksgiving I’d like to take the opportunity to say how grateful I am to each and every reader who bring life to Narcissism Meets Normalcy. Without you, NmN would just be binary code, pixels on a screen. But you make it a living, breathing thing. You inspire me. Suggest article topics. Teach me more than I teach you. Together, we form a new family — one of understanding and empathy, where narcissism dare not intrude.

So this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for you!