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Annual Flaunting of Gratitude

[An audio version of this podcast is available HERE]

Flaunt is a strong word, but it's funny. Keep up.

The following is a circumscribed list of things I'm currently thankful for. I'm sharing this list for a few reasons:

1. My life is not glamorous, but it doesn't suck. Hopefully, yours doesn't suck either, but even if it does kind of suck right now, you can probably think of a few things to be grateful for. Air, for instance, is an easy addition to any gratitude list.

2. In a world built by narcissist for narcissists, it is natural and good to tell the universe all the wonderful things about me and my life. In the spirit of full transparency, I'll also share some of the bad.

3. A #Daily #Gratitude #Practice is difficult to maintain amidst the mire of my super-busy-but-fairly-unimportant-life. You might feel the same. So, take this Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019, as your annual opportunity to cleanse your soul a bit. Shall we?

Things I'm grateful For

1. Family, Friends, People I Don't Hate

This is number one, for obvious reasons. The people in my life make life worth living, make life fun, make life memorable, beautiful and full. Nothing I do or accomplish in life would be satisfying or worth anything without people to share it with. Like Maya Angelou famously said, "People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." Cue Abba

2. A Job I Don't Hate

I *truly* love my work, not because I love writing grants or begging (asking?) for money, but because I know that the funds I raise will help people in need. Making a living by helping others is an actual, certified blessing. I could be hawking over-priced essential oils on a street corner in Venice and be wildly unhappy. (If you're a happy essential oil hawker, more power to you).

3. Chub Chub (Obviously)

Who said a picture is worth a thousand words?

4. Physical Health

I recently had my annual physical, and my body is ticking away on all necessary cylinders, and probably some unnecessary ones, too. My body is strong enough to climb up mountains, and feeble enough to tear open when I fall while running up mountains. This August, I had precancerous cells removed from my cervix, and now I'm pre-cancer free. The minute I start feeling invincible is usually the moment I something goes sideways. For now, I'm just grateful that nothing is sideways.

5. Resources To Help My Mental Health

I currently see a therapist and a dietitian to help me manage my eating disorder and the anxiety that comes along with it. I don't pay any out of pocket costs for these services, but I didn't always have that luxury. I'm grateful for my insurance, my mental healthcare providers, and every mental healthcare provider. That shit isn't easy.

6. The Necessary Bits

No gratitude list would be complete without the grey, boring bits we so easily overlook: running water, electricity, a car, air, a functioning liver, a lack of laryngitis, food, teeth, nostrils, showers, utensils, elevators, public transportation, sidewalks, curtains, coffee, the internet, etc, etc, etc.

7. Myself

I recently wrote a poem about all the things I'd say to a daughter (if I had one), and all the things I wish I'd been told as a young girl. One of my favorite lines is, "make a list of things you adore and put yourself first: you, the moon, strawberry jam, holding hands, music and dancing and people who don't shy away. don't shy away from yourself, girl." According to my poem, I should be first on this list instead of down here at number seven, but I digress. Give thanks for you, too, because your life would definitely be worse without you in it.

8. Time To Pursue Everything I Love

When people ask me what I do for fun, I always say, "I run and I write." Sometimes, I get a lukewarm response like, "Is that it?" But hear me out. I want to be really good at the things I do, and therefore spend a lot of time running and writing. I'm thankful I have the time and ability to pursue both with such vigor. Many people don't have the time, or a clear sense of direction.

9. The Place I Live

Life can be messy and stressful and annoying. But, it would be eons messier and stressier and uglier if I lived in a place I hated. The beach is nearby, mountains are close, and there's a goddamn palm tree outside my bedroom window. Best of all, I live close to the things I love (miles of trails and a community of writers). As every good real estate agent says, "Location Matters!"

10. This Blog, And Everyone Who Reads It

I'm thankful for you! Nothing makes me happier than when people reach out to give me feedback on this blog. Some who've had eating disorders themselves, some family members of people with eating disorders. Some, who have always wanted to voice a thing I write about but couldn't find the words. This blog wouldn't exist if you weren't here to read it. From the top of my heart, thank you.

*Bonus Poem*

To My Unborn Daughter

stand up straight, girl

stand tall

don’t close up your heart like that

don’t let that fire burn out

fall asleep to the sound of your own pounding heart

don’t ever think a lover can fix you, girl

you don’t ever need that kind of fixing

make a list of things you adore

and put yourself first:

you, the moon, strawberry jam

holding hands, music and dancing

and people who don’t shy away

don’t shy away from yourself, girl

wrap ribbons around your own neck

zip your own dress

don’t let anyone take the spring from your step

collect butterflies and swallow them whole

don’t ever let go of the girl inside your own veins

who believed in magical kingdoms far far away

where the hurt couldn’t get to her, girl

do not look away from those who condemn you

look up and say, I am a kingdom

and when the urge to run scratches

the back of your throat, have a cough drop

stand up and swallow your pride

you are nothing and everything at the same time

do not mourn the days you lost hiding

do not be ashamed of nights you spent crying

tears are tiny rivers, and baby girl

nothing is stronger than water

drink it up, but don’t let it drown you

I want you to breathe out, hard

when life feels too full

stand up straight, learn to play Für Elise

across keys of your rib cage

and when your Momma says

I love you

I want you to believe her

when your daddy holds your hand

squeeze it tight

do not be afraid of the night

do not be afraid of anything, girl

you can slay monsters

with those piercing blue eyes

you are nothing and everything

at the same time

girl, square those shoulders

stand tall and proud

don’t ever let your fire burn out


Sarah Rose

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