What I Am Thankful For

Me at age 11.

This is who I am.

Even now.

Even still.

She cannot be killed. She refuses to be killed. Every day is a struggle to protect this part of me.

I am thankful for the strength I have found over my life to keep protecting that joyous inner person, that dramatic obsessive spirit who trucks in fantasy and wish-fulfillment, dreams and art, not as an escape, but as a valid way to pass my time on this planet. Survival is the only thing that matters.

I’ve got excellent survival skills. I have depressive tendencies, but I also have firm boundaries. I know what is helpful, and I know what is harmful. I rarely mistake one for the other.

I have many things to be thankful for. I have an awesome family, great friends, and my career is taking off. But today I am thankful that I have had the strength and the gumption to make it my business, my only business, to protect that which is beautiful in me, that which is joyous, free, and hopeful. It has not been easy and I have not always been successful. But I will never lose that fight in an end-game way. I will never be submerged completely in the wave of evidence pushing me to drown in loss, regret, grief. Not now. Not ever.

Because that girl on the hill, by herself, in her Hi-top sneakers and corduroys, throwing her arms in the air, living out her fantasy of being Maria von Trapp (that isn’t a cow field near my house, those are the Alps, don’t you know), is me. There is no difference between that picture then and who I am now. I have more miles on me, sure. I have had to fight harder to stay in the dream, to “keep swimming” (thank you, Kerry). But she – that little girl up there – she’s the only person I have to honor, ultimately, the only person I owe loyalty to. Make her happy, make her proud, don’t let her down.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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12 Responses to What I Am Thankful For

  1. Kate F says:

    Giving you a big, fat AMEN!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Cara Ellison says:

    Gorgeous. Happy Thanksgiving, you dear, sweet, beautiful girl.

  3. Jennchez says:

    Beautifully put. Wishing you a most excellent Thanksgiving!

  4. bybee says:

    Oh, Sheila. You just put a tear in my eye.

    Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for your writing and all the great movies and books you’ve made me aware of.

    You also brought back The Elvis Game for me.

  5. mutecypher says:

    Be yourself as hard as you can!

    Rock on Sheila and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Rachel says:

    Your little girl just made my little girl cry with recognition and joy.
    Also, she wants to know if you want to come over to make cookies and crank calls.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all that is beautiful in you, and in all of us, my friend.
    Big Hug,

  7. Desirae says:

    This is gorgeous. Happy Thanksgiving, Sheila.

  8. april says:

    “But she – that little girl up there – she’s the only person I have to honor, ultimately, the only person I owe loyalty to. Make her happy, make her proud, don’t let her down.”

    So beautiful, and so very true. Happy Thanksgiving, Sheila!

  9. Sean O says:

    Nietzsche was right, “Become who you are.” Anything else is wasting time. You seem to be doing a good job Ms Shelia.

    Living a fake existence must be sad, especially at the end.

  10. Trisha says:

    Lovely. I needed those words today and didn’t even know it.

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