Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving for the Ordinary

It's been a fraught two weeks, the heartbreak of losing a relative, a family funeral, grieving and beginning to move on, what on earth is there for me to be thankful for.  We've reached November 24th; Thanksgiving Holiday and the Thanksgiving weekend to come. Here in Wales, the nearest thing to they have to Thanksgiving is Diolchgarwch.  It happens in October and it's not a public holiday but it means the same.  I'm not always entirely sure what Thanksgiving is about anymore but if anything it is a time for families, returning home, celebrating safety in togetherness. Families go on being a family even when they lose someone, they're changed forever but not in their essence. A family is still a family, in all the many forms it takes.  In all my grieving and reflection and the comments made to my blog posts, I've come to be incredibly thankful of my family around me, my place as a Mom within it and the wider family of brothers and sisters out there.

With a bereavement comes leave from work, time to sort things out, to piece yourself and your family together and move on.  My daughters are back at High School and College.  My sister is back at work.  For a few days still I will be at home before I return to work.  It's been strange.  This is the first time in very many years when I've been away from work, from everyday life and the ordinary, the banal and the 8.30 till 5.00 routine of earning a living.  It's the first time I've had to reflect on what the ordinary and everyday means to me because for so long I've seen it as a necessary chore, something that takes me away from my creativity and music.  For the first time I can see it differently.

Yes it's strange I know but I'm thankful for the alarm at 6.30, for getting my daughter up, for stumbling to the kitchen to make some tea.  For the last two weeks I haven't had to rush the frantic dash to straighten my hair, put on some makeup, the indecisiveness of what dress to wear, crying with frustration that I have to spend 5 minutes sewing a button backtheory only matching cardigan or dashing back to my room because I've noticed a run in my pantie hose. I find it strange that I've missed all of that. I've even missed the hurried breakfast and the cold grey ocean glimpsed from my car window as I drive to work late.  I've missed the everyday buzz of the classrooms I work in, the frustrating students, the coffee and lunch times where I complain about work with my friends and share frustrations about dealing with the issues of guiding a teenage daughter through life.

For me, the ordinary is being a female employee in a college that recruited me years ago as a woman, the circle of work friends both fellow women and the guys I like, the students who call me 'Miss' without thought and just the sheer lack of even having to think about any of these things as being any other than normal.

Over the past few days I've read so many blogs and comments and begun to realise that what is pretty ordinary for me is a much wanted privilege or even the unobtainable for others.  For too long I've been been down over the frustrations of still waiting for GRS after 7+ years and feeling incomplete yet most people who know me everyday at work have no knowledge of any of this. I've come to realise that maybe what I have IS a privilege, something very special and something worthy of being thankful for, a real thanksgiving. I'm aware that there seems to be no rhyme or reason in why I should be in this position and not others.  I've been lucky.  I pass relatively easily, nobody forces me to use the wrong restroom or hide who I am, it could easily have been so different.  

There are others around me, both staff and students who are far more out about their gender identity or sexual preference at work.  I count some of them as my friends but am always amazed by their courage. It takes all sorts to make a world; lesbian, gay, cis, cd's, trans and the many shades of in between.  It's a continuum of fascinating individuality and colour. They happen to be all people with a personality and feelings to hurt not members of a category and I respect that. In my world where everything seems quite ordinary, it's yet one more thing to be really thankful for.

Have a great Thanksgiving, whoever and wherever you are,

Robyn-Jane xx


  1. Priviledge ? Perhaps more like something you have strived for and obtained, a normality earned through stepping beyond barriers just like the people who you lable courageous.

    I think you have earned your own luck Robyn-Jane.

    Lovely post


  2. PS You know when I was growing up in Cardiff they were always tights. Still it is thanksgiving and Cardiffians (?) are different :-)

  3. Hi Becca, thanks for what you wrote, it's really lovely to get kind comments like that :)