Some of my friends were posting something they were thankful for every day of November.  I’m not that disciplined.  But I did decide to take the idea of the Thankful Thirty Days, and here it is.  All at once.  as I am.

A very incomplete, rather random, list of things I am thankful for.

In no particular order:

  1. My mom.  I’ve come to discover that my mental health may be a bit too dependent on seeing her at least a few times a month.  She has supported me and advocated for me as best she could since I was five months old and she took me to the doctor and said that something was weird with me.  She has always known me best.  Her house is a clean, cool safe haven.  She takes down the wind chimes before I come over.  She buys organic milk because she knows I can taste the difference. She defends me to relatives.  We love to walk together, watch television, and gossip.
  2. Thea-the-therapist.  Another big part of my support system.  I honestly don’t know what I will do when she retires in a few years.  She has helped me to come to so many realizations about who I am and where I am going in life.  When I am panicking over anything she will text back at 11 pm at night.  She teaches me about the world and about how we should never expect too much of a stupid people.
  3. Medicine.  Specifically I am grateful for ibuprofen, without which I wouldn’t have gotten through this year.  Psychiatric and pain medications enable me to live my life.
  4. Medicare/state health care.  It pays for the above medications, and doctors appointments, and specialists appointments, and even acupuncture, which is the only thing I have found that will relieve my pain so far.  It doesn’t pay for Thea but for everything else, it is pretty awesome and I am grateful.
  5. Children. The kids that I am lucky to know are so amazing.  I love watching them grow, learn and develop.  We have so much fun together.  The only problem is that they grow up all too fast, but at each stage of their life I find something new to love about them.
  6. Chocolate.  Any kind but white.  It makes me happy and it tastes good.
  7. The country.  I live in the city but with a quick 30 minute drive I can be in a facsimile of wilderness.  I can breathe in the deep, raw smell of the earth and the leaves decomposing.  I can hear birds and insects and feel connected and grounded.
  8. My car.  I’m very well aware of how I’m killing all the polar bears with all the driving I do, but my car makes it so much easier for me to get places and not have to deal with people.  It gets me work, it gets me play, and it’s been a lifesaver this past year when I haven’t been able to walk more than a block or two due to back pain.
  9. Plumbing.  I’ve seen outhouses.  I’ve used outhouses.  I am so, so grateful that I do not have to use outhouses on a daily basis, and that clean, drinkable water comes out of my tap whenever I turn it on.
  10. Books.  Reading was my first love and although I probably read more on the internet than on paper these days, I remain a devoted patron of libraries and revel in the smell when you crack open a new one.  Books educate and entertain me and enable me to escape.
  11. Jess.  Jess is just so damn wonderful.  We met through autism but we became friends because we have so much in common besides autism.  We connect in a way that I connect with few other people.  I feel comfortable with her and relaxed. Her entire family has embraced me and shown me that a family can be happy not just in spite of autism, but because of it.  Because of her, I have learned that I do not have to put up with anything or anyone that hurts me, and that there are people out there who can both accommodate, accept, and respect me.
  12. Water.  I love pools, ponds, oceans, bays, beaches, you name it, I would like to be in it.  Water rejuvenates and reenergizes me the way nothing else does.  When I am in the water I am one with the world.
  13. My friends.  I’ve got some amazing friends.  I can’t name them here because, well, anonymity.  But they are pretty – I’m running out of variants on amazing.  They just are.
  14. Unitarian Universalism.  A religion that guides my life and provides a firm footing on which to base it in the form of the Seven Principles.  A church that welcomes my militant atheism.  It isn’t perfect, no religion is, but it is where my soul ever shall reside.
  15. The autism community.  I’ve met some pretty awful autism parents, yes, but they are far outweighed by the wonderful ones.  I love meeting their kids and being able to explain why something is going on.  I love finding commonalities beyond autism.
  16. The autistic community.  In the autistic community, meaning, people who are actually autistic, and not just connected to autism, I can relax like nowhere else.  Local self-advocacy meetings are kind of like hanging out at that perfect bar in television shows, except that many of us are face blind so we probably don’t know your name.  I will never forget being in a room about half autistic and half not.  An autistic person made a joke and every single autistic person laughed and none of the non-autistics did.  That memory would spark my Patronus.
  17. The disabled community.  My friends have every kind of disability you’ve ever heard of, and many that you haven’t.  And yet they are all kind, hardworking, genuinely good people that you want on your side.  They are all on my side, and the community that is disabled people grows stronger and our voices are raised higher each year.
  18. Queer people.  LGBTQIA, the acronym that seems to be growing longer all the time but all I know is that they are awesome and I love them.
  19. Politics.  In four years, no matter what happens, we will have a new president.
  20. Music.  For whatever reason, ever since I can remember, I have always, always had a song running in the back of my mind.  Luckily for me, most of the time it is good music, because there is so much good music out there. Right now it is ‘happiness runs’.  Christmas music and folk music and show music and a cappella music.  Clear and bright and calming.
  21. My bed.  Sometimes I really want to explain to people that I am in a very serious relationship, and it is with my bed.  Cool in summer, warm in winter, just the right amount of everything.  Where I retreat to.  Where I meltdown.  Where I ride out pain both physical and psychological.
  22. The swing in my dining room.  Matthew brought it with him when he moved in here.  It is a hammock swing.  It is beyond awesome.  When I was young I used to dream about my dream house and it had a swing in it but I knew that was just a fantasy, real people did not have swings in their houses.  Well, guess what?  I do.  I have a swing.  I have a swing in my house.
  23. The internet.  I just love the internet.  I read, read, read all day long on it.  I explore worlds and have discussions and lose myself in fantasy.
  24. Social media.  Some people think social media is a bad thing because it diminishes our connections with other people.  I disagree.  I think social media is amazing.  It has enabled me to strengthen my ties with others and socialize in a medium I am truly comfortable in.
  25. Texting.  Like many autistic people, when I am very stressed out or exhausted or close to a meltdown I can lose the ability to speak, or my ability to speak diminishes greatly.  Texting solves this problem.
  26. Dairy products.  Cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt. Many humans, maybe even the majority, lack the ability to digest lactose, but I am really glad that my ancestors developed this ability and I still have it.  I will never go on a casein free diet because I would starve.  I have yet to have a truly excellent dairy free cake and you know what drink goes best with cake?  Milk.
  27. Baking.  My baking is a lot like me – it often doesn’t look that great, but it is what is on the inside that counts.  I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing that people like eating what I have made.  Sugar and flour and butter equals happiness, even if only for a moment.  It is a way I can contribute to almost any event.
  28. Holiday decorations.  I truly think the best part of a holiday is the anticipation of it, and a big part of the anticipation is decorating.  I love making baubles for the Christmas tree and untangling lights (which I’m really good at for some odd reason) and carving pumpkins and blowing eggs at Easter.  I delight in all the wacky, over-decorated houses around town.  Despite how awful it is to clean up, I am firmly in the camp that the more glitter, any time, anywhere, the better.  (It may be my fault that glitter is now banned in my church.  I am truly sorry for this.)
  29. Writing.  I am so grateful that I have the ability to set words down on paper (or on screen) and have other people read them.  My writing is a way that I can express myself without worrying about how people will react right then.  I can say things in writing that I would never, never in a million years, say aloud.  I can be myself.
  30. Right here, right now.  I am grateful that I live in the place and the time I do.  I would never have so many rights and resources as I do if I lived virtually anywhere else on earth.

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