This year, I'm skipping Thanksgiving. Not because I don't have things to be thankful for, but because the traditional day of giving thanks in this country is a farce.
And not because white explorers settled on a land mass, killed and sold natives into slavery then celebrated and started claiming America as theirs. That's a good enough reason, but it's not mine.
I'm boycotting Thanksgiving because I no longer enjoy 24-hour marathons of hypocrisy, gluttony and guilt that ombre into weeks and months of self-absorption and ungratefulness.
People are not inherently thankful, myself included. Of course there are exceptions, like those devoting their lives to helping others or those who live simply and contently with few complaints -- but how many of those people do you know?
Being thankful is not grating away at our flimsy wall of selflessness for a few hours, only to go back to a narcissistic existence. We give and give... and then race the rising sun only to bruise each other in the ass with our Target carts.
NYC has seen a record number of volunteers this Thanksgiving who are offering to help feed the homeless and impoverished. The rest of the year, many of these organizations barely have enough people to make it through their daily shifts. I know, because I'm one of the hypocrites who called.
I'm wondering how I can thank those who do have homes, but work dawn-to-dawn, minimum wage jobs just to keep this city running -- the ones that become invisible as I rush past them on my way to pilates class.
And don't get me wrong, I love my modern family. But we aren't infallible, and I rather not spend my day playing a character in a shallow script just to save face with that neighbor guy or second aunts or some kids. I rather make an effort to see them more throughout the year so I can tell them how much I love them and hate them and maybe work through some things over a grilled cheese.
But back to America -- I started writing this before the grand jury announced their decision in the Michael Brown case. Whether this was a case of racism or not, our country undoubtedly continues to have race-hate issues, overtly and systematically, as well as numerous cases of police brutality. It seems to be a part of our culture, much like school shootings, and is perhaps something we should question and protest more before submitting to thankfulness. Otherwise, we're thanking our country for being good to us, but not to all of our fellow citizens.
Anyway, I think I'm just going to hang out in the city somewhere. Maybe pass out some meals or just sit and talk with a few people who don't have family or much to offer other than stories and good conversation. I'll probably use the phone section of my iPhone to call a few friends and family and let them know I'm thinking about them.
Maybe I'll take a walk around these incredible streets that I'm lucky to call home and think about how spoiled and happy I am compared to those in Syria, Iraq, West Africa and our own poverty-stricken communities -- how little I've contributed to others but how comfortable I am compared to the jobless war veteran sitting on the subway station floor.
Then I'll try these activities again on days other than Thanksgiving, just to be consistent.
Not out of guilt or a need for affirmation or because I think I'm better than those taking part in festivities, but because I'm just like them. And I'm ready to look through a different lens and check out what this thankful thing is really about.