Throughout my life, my mum, aunt, and grandparents instilled in me a respect for all people. I didn’t recognise race until I was in high school. I knew nothing of the constraints of ‘typical’ gender roles. I was taught to respect those older than me and to never say the word ‘retarded’ in a derogatory context. Though this all seemed normal to me at the time, as I now navigate through the wider world and encounter people vocal about their prejudices and guilty of every kind of -ism imaginable, I am more grateful than I can explain for the foundation of acceptance given to me by my family. Not one time have I ever heard a member of my family utter a derogatory word, a gross generalisation, or a bigoted stereotype. This Thanksgiving, I want to thank my family for their example. I wish the whole world could know your love.
Recently on the job market, I went through spells of near-overwhelming despair while watching the news, reading unemployment statistics, and hearing how many people applied for that job! The one thing that could always re-instill some form of confidence was being reminded of my education. And I don’t mean an awesome degree (I have a BFA in Film and Television, come on!) and there are plenty, plenty of other people with far fancier degrees looking for a job. No, I am thankful for having teachers both in high school and in college who encouraged and expected that I learn something in addition to making a good grade. I’ve ranted before about schools teaching kids how to make good grades more than anything else, so I won’t go off on a tangent. I wasn’t shuffling through the system like so many students because I had teachers and professors that wouldn’t allow me to take the easy route. Actually knowing something, being able to think for myself, and having the wherewithal to apply the things I learned in school is what helped me stay positive through unemployment more than anything else. So, this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Miss Swain, Coach Giglia, Dr. Kennedy-Quigley, Dr. Treanor, Dr. de Vroom, Prof. Davis, and, of course, my mom and dad.
As the popular saying goes, ‘There’s no money in art.’ Thankfully, I actually don’t remember my parents ever saying this to me. I’ve heard it from a lot of different mouths. For the most part, the statement is true, which is actually good. Pursuers of art are, for the most part, not doing it for money because there isn’t any. (There are some exceptions, and they exist in every artistic field, but they don’t deserve to be discussed right now.) I am thankful to know and be confidently sure, perhaps for the first time in my life, that art can never really die. I’m thankful to be lucky enough to be living in it.
What are you thankful for?