Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

The Weirdness of Black Friday as a Detail-Oriented Person

28 Nov
Hey, it's a good point. (source)

Hey, it’s a good point. (source)

I will straight-up admit that I have never gone Black Friday shopping. The idea terrifies me. I already dislike shopping. So the idea of some day of mega-shopping-on-steroids-and-speed is rather unattractive. But as a detail-oriented person, the idea of this monster shopping is all the more repulsive. Why? Let’s discuss.

As a detail-oriented person, I take so frickin’ long to make decisions. My usual shopping strategy involves walking around the store, eyeing everything to make a mental list of what the store has to offer. Then, with an eye more to what caught my interest and what I’m looking for, I walk around the store again, looking at what things specifically fit that bill and discarding things from my mental list of available objects that aren’t relative. Then I walk around the store again, two to three more times, pausing to evaluate each of the items that I’ve decided I might buy, weigh the pro’s and con’s, double checking and triple checking my subjective analysis. I might carry an item with me for side-by-side comparison, or I might leave it behind to not bias my perception of the next prospective choice. Then, finally, if I’ve found something that fits what I’m looking for, is a price that I’ve deemed reasonable for this purchase, and actively makes me pleased when I think about having bought it, then I will probably buy it. Or I might just leave it and decide checking options online should happen before making any more purchases.

Detail-oriented. Neurotic. Indecisive. Deeply-fearful-of-making-“wrong”-choices-and-squandering-money-because-that’s-what-I’ve-had-beaten-into-me-since-childhood. They’re all basically the same thing, right?

But anyhoo. This whole decision-making purchasing process obviously takes a bit. Fifteen minutes. Fifty minutes. Something on that scale.

But my understanding is that on Black Friday, generally this whole shopping thing goes down something like Go! Go! Go! Storm the beaches! Claim your territory! Forge on with literal disregard for life and limb! TAKE NO PRISONERS BUT ALL THE ITEMS! QUALITY BE DAMNED! THIS IS A NUMBERS GAME, BOYS!!! 

Ahem.

Yeah, if I went Black Friday shopping, my likely outcomes are 1) obtaining zero items for purchase, 2) being trampled, and 3) freezing in a panic attack and blanching enough that someone assumes I’m a mannequin and attempts to purchase my clothes/me.

… that last one might be kind of hilarious, actually.

But… all those earliest-of-morning shoppers, aren’t they all some nerve-jittering combination of sleep-deprived and hyped up on caffeine? How do you even think in that state? Do you think, or do you just do some kind of weird muscle memory pattern of grab-buy-grab-buy-grab-guy?

I mean, I guess my aunt and grandmother are historically some of those early-morning shoppers. But they already get up early, so that, like, doesn’t count. Shhh. I can remember them planning out what they were going to purchase, knowing what to get and where to get it and for how much, based on the store’s coupons sent out earlier in the week. And my uber-planning-sensitivities are satisfied with that. But still, even if you walk into a store with a plan and studied, centered concentration, my general impression is that in this case you are the 1% and that the other 99 are all running around waving their hands in the air meme-style yelling WAAAAAH WHERE IS EVERYTHING WHAT IS THIS PLACE COUPONS COUPONS WHY DID WE FORGET THE COUPONS DO YOU HAVE THE COUPONS BILL RAAAAHWRWRWRWRWRWR! 

I dunno. Maybe it doesn’t go down quite that way. But still, even if you, with your plan and your coupons that you did remember to bring and tuck safely in your wallet and your thought-out idea of what you want, know what you’re doing, that’s a whole lot of chaos to deal with on your mission.

Wait.

Wait.

This… this could be excellent.

Guys, I am a detail-oriented person. I care about people. I value human life. I… I am also someone who kinda enjoys watching the world burn in chaos.

You know, in the controlled, nothing-too-tragic-is-happening kind of way.

Mostly.

Anyhoo. So Black Friday is chaos, right? What… what if stores capitalized on this show? Put up bleachers? Sold tickets to people who just wanted to come and watch? It would be like football! Americans like football! We’d have trainers on the side ready to rush out with water or bandages or whatever whenever one of the players got hurt. The audience could even root for individual shoppers. (“He’s comin’ down lane 1, George, will he make it to the end goal on time?” “I don’t know, Ted, that shopper with the Ninja legos seems to have shaped up since her last stretch and wants to add a few more scores to her basket.” George, George! Did you see that move?! A swerve left, a dodge right, but no! Collision!!! We haven’t seen a toppled cart like that since the show down in aisle three back at opening time!”)

… I might actually really enjoy planning this.

Well then. Chaos as a spectator sport. I think that would be a Black Friday purchase I’d deem worth investing in.

You know. Because of details and shit.

Ahem.

This is totally where I planned to go with this blog post.

Yeah.

Details.

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Thanksgiving with Eating Disorders

27 Nov

‘Round these American parts, it’s Thanksgiving. You know, that holiday where we ignore the actual history and consequences of the original “day” and whittle the whole event down to talking about what we’re thankful for and increasing our dish washing activity by at least an order of magnitude because of all the food we’ve made ourselves cook. Today, some of you are sitting around, munching on whatever it is you’ve got on your table, and basking in the glow of a nice communal meal.

Some of you, on the other hand, are sitting at perhaps this same table, staring at the food on it, terrified.

Because life with an eating disorder is complicated enough without throwing in this weird social expectation-filled eating ritual.

I spent a lot of Thanksgivings this way. I’ve rollercoastered my way from textbook anorexic to anorexic with heavy side serving of orthorexia to who the fuck knows to bulimia to some kind of weird mutant bulimia-anorexia mashup. That’s a lot of years in there, people. A lot of Thanksgivings.

Personally, what I am grateful for on this day is having a second year under my belt where at Thanksgiving I can come to the table considering myself “in recovery.” I’ve had a shit ton of therapy and a shit ton of support and a shit ton of relapsing to finally get me to this point. But that’s not what I want to write about, here. No, I want to write about the harder years. Because of some of you, my dear, dear readers, may be in those years, right now.

Eating disorders are often all about rules. For a long time, I had a mental list of “safe foods” and “bad foods.” I’d pick at the Thanksgiving spread searching desperately for something to fit my safe rules, all the while trying not to be too obvious about it, because who wants your mother, or god forbid Great Aunt Marge suddenly calling you out on your habits and making you feel embarrassed and anxious and trapped. As an anorexic, my goal was to make myself small, in every aspect. That meant small in terms of vocalizing. I did not have the capacity to stand up for myself. At those times, I wish I would’ve had someone to call out Great Aunt Marge. To have stepped up for me. Not in a way that would defend my eating disorder – just in a way that would take the focus off of me. So – hey, if you’ve got an ally in whatever group of people you’re spending tonight with, ask them for help. And if you can’t do that – know that somewhere out there, there is someone who would give you sympathy. Not support for your rules, but understanding that, well, you are following them right now. And regardless, you deserve to feel like a human being, not a specimen for gawking at.

And then there’s the other end of the behavioral spectrum… I can remember multiple holidays of eating “normally,” just like everybody else, perhaps even more than everybody else, because I could avoid notice that way, and then I could just go purge it all later. A removable cloaking device, in a way. But… there was no less shame, no less guilt. And it was all still about power. Except I wasn’t the one with power. Like, here I am, causing my body to do something through unnatural means because some fucking brain parasite is telling me I have to in order for it to let me feel okay? Never mind that the more I do that, the closer my esophagus gets to rupturing, and the more fucked up my electrolytes get, tilting me further and further towards the eventuality of a heart attack. Not that I didn’t know all that while I was purging. I knew it, and did it anyway. And every time, I thought that if only I just hadn’t gone the binge/purge route. If only I’d given myself this chance, today. If only I hadn’t gotten upset because of Relative A, or felt overwhelmed because of Comment B, or decided that if I felt slightly over-full, might as well say fuck it and go the whole nine yards, to make the punishment I would inflict on myself later that much worse.

Eating disorder decisions were not good decisions.

They were only one more signature on one more contract moving my eventual self-execution, whether that was through starvation or heart attack or something else, just a bit closer.

Guys, that’s not being powerful. That’s being puppeteered.

But you’re going to do what you’re going to do. It is not my place or my job to convince you otherwise. I write this merely to say that I understand. I understand how much it sucks. And that I hope today, to stave off just a bit of that suckiness, you can take control of those puppet strings and say brain monster be damned, relatives be damned, I will just fucking do what I need to do to keep myself truly safe, truly healthy today. You don’t have to go forward or anything. You don’t have to put down your foot and say “today I will recover.” That’s not what I’m suggesting. I am suggesting that today, even if you do not do recovery, just… do no harm. Survive. Please.

Yeah, I’m a random stranger on the internet. But you are fighting the thing that I fought. And because of that, I care about reducing the lashes you take from the whip I too faced. Camaraderie, of sorts.

Be cool to see you on the other side of this sickness/recovery battle, too.

A La Frozen: Let It Burn

26 Nov

My apartment is hosting a bunch of people for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and while a lot of the cooking will happen then, there’s some initial preparation that’s already happening. And, well, we’ve already managed to fill our apartment with smoke once. My bet’s on at least three times total between now and Friday.

Joking around our first time of smoke-filling inspired this lovely Thanksgiving parody of Let It Go. Please forgive the bumps in rhythm that happen every few measures; it’s a joke, not a music masterpiece. But I do hope it eases the pain of all of you who are also elbow-deep in giblets or knee-deep in powder sugar mess.

Let It Burn

The cake glows white on the counter tonight

not a helper to be seen.

A kitchen of isolation,

and it looks I’ve got to clean.

The oven starts a-beeping like the swirling alarm inside

Couldn’t turn it off;

Heaven knows I’ve tried.

Don’t let them in,

don’t let them see.

Be the arsonist you’ve got to be!

Grab mitts don’t feel,

don’t let them know –

but the smoke shows!

Let it burn! Let it burn;

can’t salvage it anymore.

Let it burn, let it burn.

Turn and slam that oven door.

I don’t care

what relatives say.

Let the fire rage on,

the burn never bothered me anyway.

It’s funny how apoxia

makes everything breathe small,

and the fears that once controlled me

don’t register at all.

It’s time to see what glass can do,

to test the limits and heat through.

No right, no left, no escape for me.

I blaze!

Let it burn, let it burn.

I am one with the ash and smoke.

Let is burn, let it burn –

you’ll never see leftovers.

Turkey brands,

and turkey flames.

Let the fire rage on!

The ashes flurry through the air onto the ground.

The turkey’s spiraling in burning white meat all around.

And one thought then condenses like a smoky blast –

Next year no relatives come back, the past is in the past!

Let it burn! Let it burn!

Till it breaks the fire alarm!

Let it burn! Let it burn!

The whole damn meal is gone!

Turkey brands

and turkey flames.

Let the fire rage on!

The burn never bothered me anyway.

Let’s Make Some Goats

1 Dec

All right. I try really hard not to throw promo stuff at you all too often. There are so many ad pop ups and commercials and “after these messages from our sponsors” in life, I really don’t feel the need and in fact cringe at the thought of adding to the splew of buy-this-you-need-it and give-money-to-insert-cause-here that’s already descended upon our society as the eleventh Great Egyptian Plague that God apparently forgot about until just recently.

But… sometimes, there are really cool things happening, and they’re worth talking about, and, well, they just inherently involve asking for money…

This is one of those times.

Let’s start by talking about some books. For those of you already familiar with Patrick Rothfuss and his book series The Kingkiller Chronicles, I’ll just leave you to go finish your fangirl squealing for a bit and explain what’s driven you all to hysteria to those poor unfortunate souls who don’t know about the Amazingness that is Rothfuss and his literary brainchild, Kvothe.

So, Rothfuss is an orgasmically well-spoken geek of a fantasy author who’s churned out two books of a three-book series, known as The Kingkiller Chronicles. The books’ve got a paradoxically mysterious yet entirely relatable main male character, subtly complex side characters, a couple or so Strong Female Characters who are also weak and smart and stubborn and loving and bullheaded and real. And he’s got a beautifully constructed fantasy world, a plot mercifully free of irrelevance and wonderfully full of hints and riddles you don’t even realize are there till long after you’ve read them. Basically, Rothfuss’s writing is what I strive toward as an author. If you want to know more, go look up his books your goddamn self.

Because our most beloved fangirls are probably done squealing now, and I haven’t even gotten to my main point.

So. Rothfuss, this spectacular human writer thing, is also apparently a spectacular human philanthropist thing. The Tinker’s Pack, Rothfuss’s writerly “gift shop” of sorts, donates proceeds to Heifer International, an impressively corruption-free charitable organization that turns money donations into animals – like goats – that by providing milk, labor, babies, and eventually meat give families sustainable solutions to hunger.

Yeah. Pretty damn awesome.

And what’s more, in an attempt to garner more traffic through the Tinker’s Pack and thus churn out more goats for starving children, Rothfuss is having a Thanksgiving sale all through this weekend, and a Worldbuilders event (Worldbuilders is Rothfuss’s name for the umbrella organization of his charitable schemes) coming up soon.

So. Yes, I am telling you to go visit the Tinker’s Pack this weekend and buy something. Yes, I am telling you to keep an eye out for the upcoming Worldbuilders event and participate in that too. But hey, by spending $30 on a cool book, or some talent pipe earrings, you get something super awesome, and somewhere a kid gets the best any-day-of-the-year-present of a livestock animal that’s gonna keep them from starving anymore.

Honestly, sounds like a win-win.

And, to incentivize you all even further, I’ll even throw in a chance to get something FREE out of all of this! FREE! Woohoo!!!

After you’ve gone and bought something from the Tinker’s Pack sale, comment below with what you got (honor code, people, no lying. let’s all be decent human beings here). You can even make a separate entry per item purchased! The give-away will run until the midnight interface between Monday December 2nd and Tuesday December 3rd Pacific Standard Time, when I’ll throw all the names into a hat (no, seriously, my boyfriend has a top hat that I’m totally stealing to do this with later) and pick out a couple. The two people chosen will receive a FREE signed copy of my memoir AND a poem I’ll write specifically in their honor. AND I’ll ship the whole shabang to the lucky winners and pay for postage and whatnot all myself.

Sounds pretty cool, hunh? Yup, I thought so. So hurry up! Get out of here! Go ravage the Tinker’s Pack! Let’s make some goats! Now Now Now!

Thanksgiving is…

29 Nov

Thanksgiving is sitting in a dining hall full of raucous college students who’ve made too much cranberry sauce and too little stuffing, but it’s okay, because we’re really there just there for the dessert table anyway. We sit there, at tables where there is family but no tensions, where we have cooked and cleaned and tasted and refused, and somehow it’s all more grown up than what our parents and aunts and uncles are doing back at home.

There’s an odd sort of organization, to youth.

Thanksgiving is picking what I eat carefully, not dividing it into “good” and “bad” as I would have done a year ago, visiting my friends on a day off from treatment, but just being… cautious, of proportions and the decisions I am putting on my plate in front of me. Making sure it’s not too much, figuring out what I really want and how much can really all fit in my stomach. I get to the piece of pie I thought I wanted and realize that I do not, and for what seems like the first time, I realize that I do not have to eat it. There is no table of watchful eyes, scrutinizing what I eat because once it would have been a blessed miracle if I’d so much as taken a bite from that single piece of pie. Except for last year, when I would have eaten it, to make it seem like I was normal, but would have thrown it all back to the world in a toilet, saying no, I don’t want it anymore, please take my insecurity.

There will be no such trips to the bathroom tonight.

Thanksgiving is sleeping in late and laughing with the cashier at the grocery store when yells at me with that affectionate sort of belligerence to “go home!” after seeing me walk in for the second time that day. It’s a weird feeling, when you get along better with the grocery store cashier better than you do your own father. Then again, you see them about the same amount, and one of them has never been given the chance to make you feel small and valueless and wrong.

There’s a terrible irony to it, the ways in which you can be given your daily bread.

Thanksgiving is looking back a year, and feeling that one year ago must really exist in some alien land, far and distant and unfamiliar in the past. Thanksgiving is being grateful that one year ago is not now, is over and gone so that it no longer touches you even at the borders.

There may be a fair amount of denial, but the change is real, too.

And it’s nice, not having needed a holiday to realize all that.

Would you have said the same, yesterday?