Burned turkey, raw turkey, turkey jerky, turkey in the snow, turkey on the beach, turkey from the store, turkey in Nebraska, and Hawaii.Turkey on a hilltop, turkey in a valley, turkey with my family, and turkey with my fRamily. Turkey for five, turkey for thirty-five, turkey in silence, turkey in jest, turkey served by me, and turkey served to me. Turkey with my ex-husband as he avoided my family, and, tomorrow, turkey with my new husband as he meets them.
So, yeah, I’ve done Thanksgiving a few different ways, in a few different places, with a few different people. It’s very. . . Michelle of me.
However, these three things still hold true— pie, messes, and uh,
turkey gratitude. These, I can count on being at the table each year.
And so, in tribute to said symbols of my past, present, and future Novembers, this year, I’d like to focus on the last two, particularly,
My gratitude for the messes.
Yep, recognition for the train wrecks, the missed shots, the wrong turns, and the painful mistakes. I’m shouting out my appreciation for the fuck-ups, because anything else would be a half truth.
My messes are how I got the yesses.
This year, at 35, with a lifetime of opportunities to learn still to come, I say thank you, Universe, for these lessons:
1. Being a 19 year old know-it-all and predictably sticking my foot in my mouth while spouting off my wealth of knowledge about absolutely everything in my English class, inciting my professor to show me the. . . evidence. That’s where I met my first best friend after High School.
Sidenote, karma’s a bitch when you are. . .
2. Doing college “wrong,” as in, working three jobs and taking 21 units and wearing sweater sets from The Limited to class and missing every college party in a town known for its ability to get down and otherwise being the oldest 20 year old on campus. I got to use that drive to completely reinvent myself the next decade, and feel damn good about it.
3. Ignoring my parents advice and marrying a person not right for me. Then I knew the one who was (and also, not to ask for permission).
4. Changing grades in the middle of the school year. Then I met my second best friend after college. When opportunity knocks. . . you should at least see who’s there.
5. Having kids while young and clueless, because I was still naive enough to believe I was qualified for the job. I can (mostly) keep up with them, they’ve been my greatest teachers, and, we can still all agree on a radio station . . . #HipHopSavedMyLife
6. Playing whack-a-mole with my finances, because I learned I’m not that great with a hammer, and some games actually require strategy. #AdultingIsHard
7. Overcommiting to the point of failure, because I got to redefine what success means for me. And, as a bonus, I learned a new word — “NO.”
8. Having foot-in-mouth disease, because I’ve learned the power in the pause. And yes, this shows up in other places. Obviously.
9. Cashing out my retirement at 32 and living on a wing and a prayer, because in giving myself a time-out, I found myself, on a beach, with a cocktail, doing yoga. . .
10. Judging other moms. If I had a penny for everything I said I’d never do. . . you know where I’m going here. This shit is hard, be nice or be quiet.
13. Choosing cheap and easy over long term investments. You get what you pay for people, in every life department. Don’t be a cheap ass bitch.
14. Using force (of will, of mind, of influence) to get what I want, metaphorically, or literally, because now I know that softness looks, feels, and sounds better, to everyone.
You break it, you buy it.
15. Motherhood, every single day. I will never fail at anything as much as I fail at this, and I will never, ever, ever, do anything better with my life.
There’s more, for sure— more stories, more turkeys, and a hell of a lot more messes. Because, well, that’s real for me, the messes. Messes are where I find myself, messes make me happy, and messes are where my life happens.
Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your mess.
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