All the Conversations I’m Dreading This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving (or Dreads-giving, as I like to call) is a time for families to gorge on the hum-drum details of one another. If your family is anything like mine, they’ll pop out of every nook and cranny in the house subjecting you to an endless interrogation: “Who are you?” “What are you hiding?” “Where were you on the night of _______?” Ah yes, the annual probing marked by passive-aggressive, or aggressive-aggressive jabs. Eating is one of two of my coping mechanisms, even more so on Turkey Day. As I fill up the flask and study the floor plan of my auntie’s house, here are all the nagging, drama-seeking questions and Hallmark card-advice I’m likely to get this Dreads-giving. (Based on previous Thanksgivings over the years 😃) Continue reading

What I’m Grateful For

I am grateful for my mistakes. My missteps and my faults. The things I should have known better to do, but did anyway. The things I should have taken the time to consider. What I should have worked harder on, put more effort into. The actions I took that fueled the flame of chaos. The decisions I made that only led to my downfall.

I am grateful for my regrets. My guilt and my shame. Everything I didn’t do or simply didn’t have the courage to do. The things I can’t change. The things I’m embarrassed of. What I wish I could erase altogether, along with the memories that haunt me and will continue to haunt me for the rest of my days.

I am grateful for the conflicts I’ve faced time and time again. The walls I’ve hit. The battles I’ve lost. The friends I cut. And the family I let go of. The people who came and went like doors opening and closing simultaneously. The conflicts and tragedies in my life that left me broken and forced me to put myself back together again.

I am grateful for the path behind me. Because everything, my struggles, my fallen dreams, my lost causes, all of it brought me to where I am now. I’m a college student in crippling debt. I’m a father who’s miles away from seeing his daughter again. And I’m a writer with an ambition, barely making ends meet.

Had I done my life a bit differently, I’d be someplace else. Better? Maybe. Worse? Probably. All I know for sure is what I’ve got as a result of who I’ve become, and I can’t imagine my life being anything else but this. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t want fame. I certainly don’t want to get rich. But I do want to support my daughter by making a living through the career that I want. I’m not asking for the world. I just want to give my daughter the world. Because that’s how much she means to me. It’s a long shot, like reaching for the stars. Then again, that’s what dreams are for. Sure, I may be down in the dumps right now, but I have nowhere else to go from here but up. And I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

Over the years, I’ve given a lot of simple answers as to what I’ve been thankful for. This, however, is perhaps the simplest answer I’ve come up with and undoubtedly the most truthful, one that I will echo for years to come. I am eternally grateful for my mistakes, and what my life has become because of them.

Sunrise at Haleakala

Once a year, my family and I retreat to the summit of Haleakala and it’s still a new experience on each trip. Haleakala translates to “House of the Sun.” Without it, all the beaches, the mountains, and the magnificent views on Maui would have no meaning. With it, Maui remains as hopeful, promising, and wondrous as it had always been. It sounds like a silly thing to do, gathering in a place to watch the sun rise. But believe me, when you’re standing high above the clouds and even further into the free air, there’s really no better place to be.

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