Nov 19, 2022
6 mins read
First memories are special. I remember watching my first football game when I was six years old. It was Superbowl 26. It was Reds…Commanders v/s The Bills on an old grainy Zenith TV (anyone remember that TV brand?). The Commanders won and that turned me into a lifelong Washington football fan – doesn’t matter what name they go by. The first Thanksgiving I remember was also in 1991. There was a Steelers v/s Cowboys game on TV…Well, there was also a Bears game but despite my issues with my dad, the man wasn’t an idiot to watch a Bears game – no-one watches a movie they know the ending to.
We were a traditional family, which for folk like us meant that once women were married they were part of their husbands’ family. My dad, as I have told you before had several siblings and his brothers took turns hosting Thanksgiving. It wasn’t as if the women’s families were unwelcome. In fact, I had quite a few Thanksgivings with my aunt (on my dad’s side) and my mom’s brothers and sisters. It was…an unspoken reality – when someone had had a tough year and West Virginia has had several tough years over the last few decades, they would be welcome at the extended family’s thanksgiving. We took care of each other. That’s something I miss about living in West Virginia…well it’s something I miss about living in the 90’s. These days people are too busy with their phones to care about anyone else.
Then came the awkwardness. In 2002, my mom “caught” me and instead of dropping the bomb that I wanted to be a woman I went with the (what I hoped would be easier to digest) lie of I just liked boys. That was a weird Thanksgiving and a strange time to be in states like West Virginia, Kentucky and the other places time forgot. The Iraq War hadn’t started yet but everyone knew what was coming plus Afghanistan was still going on and a lot of my cousins were enlisting in the army through the plethora of recruitment drives that were going on at the time. None of them had even been called up to basic training at the time but they were all really gung-ho. I suppose the best way to describe the situation would be, remember that scene in Captain America, where Steve Rogers is asked if he wanted to kill Nazis and he said no – well in this case he imagine him saying an overwhelming yes and then describing how he was going to do it. Several books can and have been written about how the wars affected people in places like West Virginia and nothing I say here is going to add positively to the conversation. If it wasn’t for my academic scholarship to WVU, I would probably have shipped out with them. Certainly, my dad was keen to make a man out of me in that way. My extended family didn’t know about my sexuality – although that was the number #1 thing on my dad’s mind and honestly, it was pretty funny to see him try to convince everyone that I was just one of the guys – sneaking me a beer even though I was underage and making me spend time with my uncles and male cousins. I don’t know what to tell you – the early 2000’s were a weird time in America. Last week, Aaron Carter passed away and I had a huge crush on him in 2002.
Then came Thanksgiving 2013. I spent this one alone. I had just come out as trans to my family and I was no longer welcome. There was no turkey this year and as someone who loves the movie “A Christmas Story”, no goose either (although that was Christmas and not Thanksgiving – there’s a severe lack of Thanksgiving themed movies). I was trying to save up for my transition. So, I had 2 cups of instant ramen – a real treat! I remember watching Castle of Cagliostro – I was watching all the Lupin the third movies - that night. It was cold. I was trying to save on energy bills too. It wasn’t a good night.
Eventually, I would be welcomed back by my family – mostly thanks to my mom’s coaxing and the last thanksgiving I spent with my dad in 2020, he did spend time with me in the same room and acknowledged that I existed and was his child – although not his daughter.
This year is going to be very different. Most of you know, I am going through a lot of shit with my job but beyond that, this will be my first thanksgiving without my dad. We had our difficulties but in the end we respected each other and I will miss him there this year.
Honestly, I was going to leave this post here but there's one more thing I want to say. I hate the month of December. Nah, don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. But whenever, something goes catastrophically wrong in my adult life it's around this end of November - mid December time. Some of you who have followed me over the last year or two, know as much as I wanted this job, there was one small reason I was reluctant to take it. It wasn't ever a deal-breaker, though. There's a guy who works here who was in love with and things didn't work out between us but they never really ended satisfactorily either and I was nervous to see him. I was nervous what would happen if I ever saw him.
It isn't a romantic thing. When I say things didn't work out, I mean they didn't work out when I was in college in 2005 and hadn't transitioned yet. He went to medical school and is a doctor now...and married to a guy. We broke up around this November - December time in 2005 and I was in a very very very bad place at that time. It took me a long time to get over it. I guess, a part of me just wanted to see him once and show him how far I have come in all these years. It would suck to get fired before I saw him.
This might be my last post. Thanks to y'all I made the money needed for my mom's insurance premium. I probably wasn't going to post after that but posting here has been pretty cathartic for me. So, that's why I continued posting but if I do get fired on December 2nd, I think I will probably need some time to myself after that...but feel free to buy me a coffee. I don't know what I will do if I get fired but a girl's gotta eat and food prices are insane right now and gas prices are ridiculous too, not to mention it's a lot colder here than I expected and I could use some help.
Anyway, I don't want to end this post on a sad note like that. So, like I said I love Christmas and that year in 2005 I was stuck in Morgantown with a bunch of guys in my dorm. I had somehow until that year made it through all of college without drinking but that Christmas night we got drunk and shot the breeze in the freezing cold while watching all the Santa Clause movies.