I believe in deeply acknowledging the gifts I receive, not the least of which is my very life, my daily breath, my experience of this body in this world. The corporeal pleasures of food and sex, sight and sound and smell and taste and touch. I am grateful to have a body that works relatively well, my two legs and 10 fingers and this one beating heart.
Though certainly I have plenty of complaints about Thanksgiving as an American national holiday—the gluttony, and the erasure of our history of genocide, and the continued marginalization of First Nations people—I do like holidays that focus on gathering together, sharing nourishment and company.
When I lose sight of gratitude, I lose that silver string that tethers me to the miracle of my own mortality. I lose the remembrance of people who are not as lucky as I, and let me tell you, some days I think that’s all it is that separates me from the street, or from disfigurement, or from shambles, or from a boiling all-consuming rage, or from permanent swirls of crazy: the luck of my parents, of the privileges of my life, of the people around me.
I try to remember, when things get so bad and the UN General Assembly Votes to Allow Gays to be Executed Without Cause, where the bullying of children is a national crisis, where friends of mine take their own lives, where Obama plans to give George H.W. Bush a Presidential Medal of Freedom, where cancer is rampant, where the queers and the artists and the kinksters are struggling to get paid and survive in our metropolitan Meccas, I try to remember to be grateful for all the amazing things that I do have.
I am grateful for my apartment. Though it has its own complications (what apartment in New York City doesn’t?), I have lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else since I left the house I grew up in. I have secured the right furniture that fits the space. I have cleaned every square inch. I love the creamy yellow light that comes through the kitchen window in the wintertime, when the sun is so low to the earth and bending over the curvature, blinding me as I work at my computer at the dining table so I have to get up and let it crawl across the floor until the sun finally goes down before dinnertime.
I love the exposed brick, I love the grey light from the air-shaft, I love the ceiling fans and the black marble tiles in the bathroom, and I am grateful to have a space I can call mine.
I am grateful to share my space with my two sweet cats, with I’ve whom been living with for almost five years now, and who, though I am ever-annoyed by the hair and the litter and the entirely too realistic mouse-like playthings and the walking on the countertops, make my apartment much more of a home than it would be otherwise.
I am grateful for the local farm not just two hundred miles north of New York City that is continuing to supply this little apartment with squash and beans and potatoes and apples through the winter. I’m grateful to the abundance of artisan food makers in this city—and in Brooklyn in particular—who make nourishment joyous.
I am grateful to you, to the folks who read my theories and thoughts and ideas that I share in this little digital universe. I am grateful to have a place to put my ideas that are unencumbered by heavy editing or discriminating censorship, I am grateful to have my own place that holds my words and images and hypertext.
I am ever grateful to my mentors, people who have taught me so much about what it means to be a person in the world, to be a butch in the world, to be a kinky person, to be queer, to be an activist, to be a lover, to have a heart: Tara Hardy, Mary Oliver, Buck Angel, Dan Savage, Tristan Taormino, Audacia Ray, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Cheryl B., Kelli Dunham, Carol Queen, Leslie Feinberg, Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman, Ivan E. Coyote, Ignacio Rivera, Miriam Z. Perez, Joe LeBlanc, Patrick Califia, Shine Louise Houston, Barbara Carrellas. I have learned so much from you, I know more about life and myself and how I work and how I fit since I have read your work and heard your ideas.
I am grateful to every book I’ve ever read, all the writers who struggle to squeeze blood from a stone to get the right word on the page in the right place, making stories and sense of this world.
I am grateful to the Internet. Not just because that is the primary place of my career, but because I have been in touch with so many brilliant people because of the ways we share our lives online. It is the revolution of our times.
I am grateful for an American president I actually look up to, for a leader I actually believe knows what he’s talking about, for someone who actually gets things done (What the fuck has he done so far?). I know his presidency could be improved; it always can be. I continue to quote my mom in response to that, who says, “Anyone who is interested in being the President is, in my mind, automatically disqualified for the job.” Balancing remaining in power with using the power you do have is a tricky tightrope. But still, I am grateful for what he has done and continues to do, so much so that I have added Mr. Barack Obama c/o the White House to my holiday card list. Maybe it’s cheesy, but who knows the next time we’ll have a president to whom I will actually want to say, “Thank you”?
I am grateful for my family, both my parents and sisters and my chosen queer family, my friends and colleagues with whom I have been working hard to surround myself, the genderqueer and feminist and queer and kinky community circles in which I run, the larger circles of book lovers and students of Buddhism and green environmentalists and humanists. I love being part of all of these worlds, and I love the multitudes that they all contain.
And I know it’s a little bit obvious, but I am so grateful for my girlfriend, partner, my girl, my sweetheart, my lover, Kristen. She has had such a huge impact on my life, has changed so much when she came around with her short skirts and big smile and sparkly eyes, with her fierce excitement and contagious laughter, her endless recipe experiments and classic biscuits and pie and salads. I’m more myself with her than with anyone I’ve ever been with, and I’m so excited about how we curl around each other, bolster each other up, help each other add light and fertilizer to each other’s growth. And of course, the kinky queer hot dirty fucking—I’m grateful for that, too.
I’m lucky, I’m so lucky, to be sitting here in my lovely apartment, two sweet cats curled up in their respective favorite spots, fridge stocked full of delicious food, plenty of books to read and a steady Internet connection, an almost-caught-up email inbox with queries for events, asking me to do the thing that I love in front of people who have interesting ideas, who are constructing alternative lives, trying to get what we all want out of this life.
Though there is always more, and it could always get better, this year, this Thanksgiving, I am so grateful, and my life is heavenly.