I’m back home in Civil War country. I brought my boyfriend along. It’s the first time he’s met my family. They’re the first thing I’ve been thankful for, and always have. I can always go home and be loved.
What’s more, I’m starting to look at my parents on more of an even footing. I remember when I was a teenager my dad said something like “We always think of our parents as these larger-than-life figures. But I remember that one day when my father told me ‘you know, your parents are just people.'”
At the time, that rocked my world. I knew it was true. But I couldn’t feel it at the time. I can now. It’s made me a better daughter and a better person.
I’m also thankful for a group of friends I made earlier this year in New Jersey. We low-key party on the weekends and it makes me feel normal. Plus they’re badass. I love meeting new people. I get to add new roads to my interior map of the world every time. I know I bitch a lot about being on the spectrum, but I’m thankful that I don’t get bored.
I’m also thankful that it looks like I might be one of those women who’ll age well. That’s not a small thing. Everyone I’ve seen who hangs onto their looks for a while seems to have this inner peace about them, like they’re a little more present than others have managed to be.
I’m thankful that I’m finally starting to develop the balls to be honest about needing help. I’m not quite there yet. But it’ll happen soon.
I’m thankful that I live in a city that has good food. New York kills in every price range. Artichoke Pizza, Ivan Ramen, Alberto’s in Forest Park. You do have to trust your taste buds and not what the media tells you, but it’s hard to imagine another place with more options.
I’m thankful to be getting back into books. I’m not quite at the point where I can tackle a really challenging one yet, but it still feels like I can walk around inside another person’s soul with every book I read. And only books can give you that kind of experience. Not personal essays on the Internet.
And finally, I’m thankful that I’m learning to trust myself as a fully-fledged human being, with opinions and good ideas and a unique way of looking at the world that doesn’t need other validative sources filtering in. That’s slow too. Slower than anything else. But any real introspection takes time.