Thanks, But No Thanks


I’ve declared my gratitude to Manitoba writers for their books early into the holiday.  I’m thankful for all the usual reasons; today for example, Lynn is going to a perogy making orgy in the country, and I’m thankful to have Lynn in my life, and my verineke with cream gravy.

Last  week was  delivered by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. The Canadian Mental Health Associates promotes Mental Health Week for a week in May .

Not quite sure why we need two weeks, but as there seem to be increasing numbers of Canadians with “lived experience” of mental illness, maybe some jostling and noisemaking, will lead to some real conversations. Great.  The coincidence of Thanksgiving with a Mental Health Week made me think past the usual Thanksgiving thanks giving to those things for which I am not thankful.

But No Thanks

To Pain. Whether physical or mental.

I don’t understand people who are thankful for their suffering because they’ve learned so much. And are better people for it. Maybe those are all the glass half fullers, but pain makes me a miserable person, and mad as hell, to the point of belligerence.  I make mistakes. I shut down.  I do not believe artists or writers who are convinced their suffering has inspired them and made them better at their craft. They have been successful despite their pain not because of it.

So no, I’m not thankful for seven past surgeries and two more to come even as I recognize how they are essential to my future. I am not thankful for having lived experience with mental illness. I am not thankful for the handful of pills I take daily though they’ve kept me writing and working since 2000. I am not thankful for being sexually molested by a pedophile, or for the life threatening experiences of my children.  I am not thankful for my peripheral neuropathies, my stage four flat-foot,  my acid reflux, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, or my 30% loss of hearing.  I am not thankful for the mistakes I made yesterday, today and will make tomorrow.  I stamp my (defective) foot.

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