Let me just start by saying that I LOVE Thanksgiving! Always have. The past many years it has been my BIG family, along with my sisters husbands family and together, we laugh and tell stories and most of us girls cook so there’s usually new dishes each year and even when there isn’t, you know you’re going to eat good at our house. Anyways… This year feels different. I feel like I’m on the outside looking in and I can’t shake the feeling. I even opted to bring a fruit tray and drinks… Really? Me? Come on now… I’m the one who makes multiple dishes every year and they’re damn good. I buy enough drinks to stock a small store and there’s varieties of “specialty drinks” for all the kids and adults. I’ve never been the person who brings store bought rolls or a pre-made salad. There’s nothing wrong with those who do, it’s just always felt special to me when I cook and it makes people happy. I’ve always grown up watching my Mom cook on holidays and we all LOVE her cooking so when people enjoy my cooking, I imagine that in some small way, I am making her proud, too. But this year… This year I am cutting fruit and making a dip. I bought juice and ciders, no specialty drinks in mind. I feel like a failure. Part of me just didn’t have the money to go buy what I needed to make something grand this year… I mean, am I the only one who realizes how expensive it is to make a really good dish that can feed 15+ people? Anyways, the other part of me just couldn’t find inspiration strong enough to make me actually do it. I browsed Pinterest for days and hours and just didn’t feel a spark in my heart. And as the day has drawn near, I kept telling myself I would feel better once it got here. Now it’s here and people have wished me Happy Thanksgiving and I have done the same in return but I just don’t feel better… Truth be told, I want to put my pajamas back on and go to sleep. I put on makeup and did my hair. I took pictures to show how pretty I looked… And then I deleted them all. “Why bother?” I think. I shouldn’t put them on my profiles because that isn’t who I am anymore… I am dressing up because it’s expected of me. Because that’s what my family does on holidays. But I rarely do my makeup anymore or my hair for that matter so I shouldn’t post pictures that portray me as someone other than who I am on any normal day, right? I just wish I could avoid all of the questions that are about to come. The “What’s new?!” followed by “Any good news from the doctors yet?!”… How many times do you have to tell people there’s no new news and no one is expecting any in the near future, either. I know, I know, they mean well. They really do. The people I spend this day with are oblivious to the damage it causes and genuinely think they’re being caring and kind by asking. They have no idea I’d give anything to avoid it. But to me, it isn’t that hard to understand. Everyone attending today is in a relationship and/or married with kids. Their jobs are flourishing and they’re always so busy with sports and hobbies and a friend count that I once thought I had, too. When asked what is new, my little sister will tell of the adventures she is planning and my other sister will talk of her new promotion and the new car she is going to buy (which just so happens to be the car I wanted) and how busy the kids are with volleyball and soccer. My Mom will talk about her and Dad’s recent vacation to see my brother and the boys… The list goes on but you get the point. And me, well, I will either politely say “nothing” or talk about my dog and they’ll oblige, even though half of them don’t like Pitbulls and the other half don’t understand the need to take your dog with you everywhere you go and “why you can’t just leave her at home”. Which is ironic because I used to. I went to work for 10+ hours a day while she hung out at home and went for walks with the dog walker. There was a time where as much as I would’ve loved for her to come, I didn’t *need* her to. I would’ve felt more comfortable with her by my side but I was able to brave the storm alone. That isn’t the case anymore. But that’s just one of the many things they can’t or don’t want to understand so I have to let it be and at some point, stop trying to defend myself. I feel so broken down now days… Ashamed that most days I don’t take the time to or physically can’t get dressed, knowing that I used to get teased for not leaving the house unless my hair was perfect, my makeup was gorgeous and my outfit was on point. Now, physical limitations, the lack of energy and the overwhelming question of “why bother” seems to win out every time. I don’t have a job to go to or friends to see, I am going to the grocery store or the doctor so why bother? *Sigh* I would rather just be a turtle, isolated in my shell, where I don’t have to worry about what others think or say or wonder if am I good enough for the world? I’d rather lay here with my dog (who by the way gets more attention at the coffee shop, bank, etc. than I do) and cuddle where there’s no judgement. It is hard to imagine that just a few years ago I was this incredibly outgoing, bubbly, social butterfly that excelled in a job that was dependent on meeting and impressing strangers and wowing people who had millions, yet the thought of being lower on the totem pole or “less of a person” based on economic status never crossed my mind. There was no doubt in mine or anyone elses mind that there was greatness in me. The struggle was still there but I had mastered the art of putting on a happy face and I guarantee no one would’ve ever known about my illnesses. Today, that feels like a whole other life. I feel as if I am on the outside looking in at a life I once knew. A life I miss terribly.