This past weekend, Canadians everywhere celebrated Thanksgiving. It is a time for people to remember all that we have to be grateful for and to pause in order to give thanks. It has always been a special holiday for me. First, it is celebrated in October, which is my birthday month, and second, I adore the Fall. The Fall, to me, is the single best season of the year when you live in Canada.
I just can’t get enough of the spectacular colours, the crunchy apples, the cozy sweaters and the warm, hearty meals.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, most celebrations revolve around the traditional turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. While others prefer to serve non-traditional fare, a perfectly roasted bird with all the fixings is imprinted so strongly in our collective consciousness that it is essentially synonymous with the holiday.
But I have a confession.
And it’s not like other confessions I have made where I feel you may harshly judge me, point a finger and laugh at me, or feel a little embarrassed for me. This confession is different. But it is still something that’s hard to share even though I believe with 100% certainty that at least one other person reading this will be able to relate.
So in my ongoing effort to share reminders that we are more similar than we are different, here goes…confession time.
I have never cooked a turkey.
There, I said it.
And more than that, I have never cooked a holiday meal and had my family gather around my perfectly decorated table.
Now, before you gasp and wonder how this is possible, let me assure you that I have hosted many dinner parties with friends and family where I have fed people and enjoyed quality time around a beautifully decorated table…
But as for a holiday meal, that just seems too much. It seems too grown up. So, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving—holiday meals are left to the “adults”.
As embarrassing and even silly as it sounds, I just don’t feel comfortable with the whole thing, even though I am someone who roasts meats and makes squash and eats Brussels sprouts quite regularly. I realize that just as I share in my book, it’s not about the food…it’s about what the food represents.
And preparing a turkey dinner and serving it to a crowd, to me, represents being an adult.
And here comes the real confession…
Sometimes I feel like I’m acting the role of an adult. Like I’m playing one on TV. Like I’m going through a lot of the motions, but that I’m really just sort of faking it.
Sometimes I feel like I live somewhere outside of the label. Like I don’t deserve it. Like I haven’t earned it.
I mean, when I was drinking I was definitely acting. I was so busy pretending to be an adult, I would become defensive if anyone would even attempt to tell me I was off track. If anyone even conceived of telling me that I wasn’t living to my potential or that I was stunting my growth I would lash out and point to all of the “adulting” I was doing. “I have a JOB! And I go there EVERY DAY!! I have a CAR! I have my own APARTMENT! I pay my BILLS (well, mostly on time), I COOK and I CLEAN and I ENTERTAIN and things are FINE!!! I’M FINE!! I’m better than fine….I’m GREAT!!!”
And ever since I got sober, if you were on the outside looking in, you might not see that too much has changed. I mean, I have a job. I have a car. I pay my bills on time (early, now.) But the reality is everything has changed since I got sober. I grew up a lot when I quit drinking. I matured in ways I hadn’t until then; emotionally, spiritually, physically.
And, to be honest, in many ways I feel like I’m succeeding at the things that are most important to “adult” about.
Things like telling myself “no” when I want to buy something that I do not need.
Or making myself go to bed early when I want to stay up late.
Or saying “no” to myself when I’m craving junk food and, instead, make the healthier choice.
Or setting my alarm and hitting the gym even when I’d rather hit snooze. In many ways, I feel like prioritizing my health is the most “adult” thing I can do.
But no matter what, I am still left with this nagging feeling that I am not really an adult.
I tell myself that adults have houses and mortgages and multiple bank accounts and investment properties and time shares and complicated tax returns. They have husbands and wives and children and pets. They plan play dates and carpools and volunteer at schools. They hire babysitters and mowers of lawns and shovellers of snow. They have ex-husbands and ex-wives and schedules and routines that they post on fridges. They listen to jazz.
And they cook holiday meals.
Being so unlike “them” can tend to make me feel like an outcast.
But with that feeling of outcast-ness, I also feel free. Free to carve my own path. Free to explore and create. Free to develop my own beliefs that don’t have to align with the mainstream belief system about what it means to “be an adult.”
And perhaps it is this not-feeling-like-an-adult-ness that has kept me curious…about myself and others…and that keeps me childLIKE, but not childISH. Perhaps it is this quality in me that helps me to connect with the child in others; the child that is still grappling with the pain and shame of the past.
When I see kids playing tag, I want to tap one of them on the shoulder and get in the game. When I see girls jumping rope, I want to double dutch right along with them. When I hear the sound of kids hollering “ready or not, here I come”, I want to run and hide and scare them when they find me. I can so easily place myself in my childhood body, my childhood brain, that it feels like I can close my eyes and be transported back in time through the sights and sounds I experience now.
My childhood was a time where things were harder and also simpler and it’s a time I never feel too far away from. A time I have not grown up and out of yet.
And this is also why I believe it is so hard for me to “adult”. Because I don’t think of myself as a “grown up”. I think there is a big part of me still intimately connected to the child in me, working through things that kept me stuck.
And each time I write and heal and learn that I am not alone in my feelings, a part of me grows up.
So I think I am going to grow up in pieces.
I think I am going to adult in the way that feels right for me. Story by shameful story. Healing by painful healing. Awakening by rude awakening.
Growing with you beside me to remind me that I am not alone.
So perhaps I’ll even don my apron and roast a turkey one of these days.
Or perhaps I’ll just keep playing games with the kids while the adults mash the potatoes.
But one thing’s for sure; I want to love my life and the way I’m living it; unashamed and unapologetic. So I am going to work hard on respecting the way I choose to live my life. I am going to keep working on loving myself for the way I am.
Just the way I am.
I want the same for you.
Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.
P.S. To learn more about my story and to order your very own copy of my book,The 28 Day Kick The Sugar Challenge, visit KTSC28.com. I would be honoured to support you on your journey.
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