Thanksgiving and Katy Perry: Like Two Peas in a Pod

It's Thanksgiving y'all, and that means I've been doing some serious reflecting. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm CONSTANTLY reflecting. Ugh. The inside of my brain is insufferable most days, and damn right claustrophobic all the other days.

Anyway, it's been a weird year, to say the least. But as with any year, I've got a whole slew of thangs for which to be thankful, so let's get this bitch started, shall we?!

I was riding around in my delivery truck the other day (don't ask) and Katy Perry's Wide Awake shuffled through. I hate this song, but my laziness got the better of me, so I sat through it and listened. I mean *really* listened. And I discovered that Katy Perry gets me, you guys. She really does. So without further ado, may I present the lyrics to Wide Awake, because I love you and also because she perfectly articulates the feelings it took me six months to reconcile.

I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was in the dark
I was falling hard
With an open heart
I'm wide awake
How did I read the stars so wrong?
I'm wide awake
And now it's clear to me
That everything you see
Ain't always what it seems
I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was dreaming for so long

I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in
Wouldn't bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
'Til I woke up on
On the concrete

Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high
I'm letting go tonight
Yeah, I'm falling from cloud nine

I'm wide awake
Not losing any sleep
I picked up every piece
And landed on my feet
I'm wide awake
Need nothing to complete myself, no

I'm wide awake
Yeah, I am born again
Out of the lion's den
I don't have to pretend
And it's too late
The story's over now, the end

I'm wide awake
Thunder rumbling
Castles crumbling
I'm wide awake
I am trying to hold on
I'm wide awake
God knows that I tried
Seeing the bright side
I'm wide awake
I'm not blind anymore...

During the holidays, it's difficult not to succumb to the nostalgia for holidays past, both the good and the bad. The days leading up to Thanksgiving are always weird for me, not because I loathe spending time with my family, but because my best Thanksgivings have not been spent with them. My best Thanksgivings have always included lots of food, lots of alcohol, and lots of friends, and last Thanksgiving was among the best. Looking back to that day and contrasting it with the picture of this year's Thanksgiving, I was consumed with melancholy, not because I am particularly unhappy with life today, but for the loss of all the things that could have been. Last year for the first time in a very long time I felt at peace with the holidays, with my family, with myself, and for once I felt free of the insecurities that had for so long dictated the terms of my life. There were a lot of pieces to the puzzle that fell into place for me last year, chiefly among them was perspective. Last year my personal relationships allowed me to view myself through the lens of others. Like everyone else in the goddamn free world I am always my harshest critic, and sometimes (um, ALL the time), my skewed self-perception fucks everything up. I make lame choices, I lack motivation, I am critical and judgemental. Basically I'm a grade-A asshole. But for some strange reason, my friends don't think so, and last Thanksgiving Day I got a glimpse at the person they see.

Somewhere around June, though, many of those relationships changed or disappeared, and I was back to questioning where that left me. It's weird to think that my personal relationships would dictate or drive my self-perception, but given the alternative (remember, I'm an asshole), I'd prefer to think of myself as my friends do. It's not hyperbole to say it took every ounce of my being to keep doing just that. The loss of my social circle quite literally forced me to "fake it 'til you make it" and is prolly in large part why I sit where I am today -- back in school, confidently pursuing a subject about which I am extremely passionate.

Which leads me here -- Wide Awake. Last year it was *marginally* easier to believe my own hype when I had a personal cheerleader telling me how great I was. Losing my partner in crime was one of the most emotionally jarring things I've experienced in a long time. Flip side of the coin? It was also one of the most eye-opening and empowering things I've experienced in a long time. To say I've completely altered my self-perception is a stretch, but today I sit here eternally more capable of believing in myself than I have been in a long time. And for THAT I am thankful.

I am thankful for my parents. I can't even begin to articulate how much their support means to me. I made some big life changes this year, and all four of them have been my loudest cheerleaders, seriously. I know shit has been difficult for them, especially in regards to my brother, so the fact that they are still willing to stick by me and support my choices means the world to me.

Strangely enough, I am also thankful for haircuts. It seems so cliche to say that a haircut changed my life, but goddamn, cutting off all my hair was liberating, y'all. I've never been one to equate my femininity with the length of my hair, but somehow, somewhere along the line I got caught up in that game. But you know what? With short hair, I feel like I finally look how I was always *supposed* to look. I guess it also helps that I fried my hair beyond all repair and was quite literally forced to chop that shit. It's kismet, I tell you.

(UGH. This shit got serious fast.)

Okay, I'm also thankful for a whole bunch of little things, without which I might not have made it through the year. In some random fucking order, I'm thankful for:

-Karaoke at the 'Lux (and occasionally Terry's and the 44)

-Ladies Craft Night, even if it's just Lindsay and me!

-Anatomy and Physiology, mostly because it forces me to work my ass off, which feels good. And also because all those "don't you think my mouth looks like a cat butt" jokes were confirmed when I learned about the orbicularis orbis. It's a mouth sphincter, y'all.

-Justin Stone, who makes me giggle every time we chat, and who just gets this whole "it's hard to be an adult" business better than damn near anyone.

-The Flying M Coffeehouse, for being my home away from home and my favorite venue for random study buddies.

-Facetime, which allows me to see Miss Casey Switzer's lovely mug on a somewhat regular basis (ditto, Google video).

-Netflix. Screw productivity, BINGE WATCHING FOREVER!

-The heathen nephew. I know I bitch about him ALL. THE. TIME, but living with my parents has afforded my the opportunity to get to know him so much better. And you all know how much I love me some five-year-old quality time.

-And speaking of living with my parents -- so eternally grateful for the opportunity, not just financially, but emotionally. Living with them has allowed me to see their marriage in a new light, which has most definitely repaired my relationship with my stepdad. Wins all around.

This year, though, I'm most thankful for me. I am thankful for my triumphs and failures, my achievements and missteps. I am smart and strong and resilient. I fuck up and I move on. I try hard to evaluate where I've been and where I'm going. I still struggle to fully understand those around me, but that's mostly because I'm still learning how to be me.

If 2013 was The Great Leap Forward, then 2014 will surely be the Year of Self Improvement. (Hopefully that means a shit ton of massages and manicures, but it prolly means more gym time and a diet rich in leafy greens. LAME.)

*Just consider this an early Christmas present. Seriously, though, this video is lameballs. 

Parenthetically, I never suspected I'd keep up this annual Thanksgiving post tradition for six years. Guess time flies when you're thankful.

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