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    New Turkey

           My last two Thanksgivings were...less than stellar.
           This year it’s different. Partly because I’m where I want to be. Martha’s Vineyard. And mostly because I’m where I want to be. Inside. Or at least closer than I ever have been.
            Two years ago, my father died a month before Thanksgiving. On the way up from cape cod to have dinner with the rest of my family, most of whom I didn’t want to be with, I had an anxiety attack and ended up at Jordan’s Hospital. Overnight. Alone. Pretty much a mess. As I said, less than stellar.
            Last year, I wasn’t with the one person I wanted to be with. I can’t get into particulars, but what’s important is how I dealt with what happened. Compared to where I’m at inside this year, it’s a great before and after picture, a very revealing then and now vignette.
            Last Thanksgiving, I was mad at principessa. I took it out on her by shutting down even more than I already was. I became removed, distant, and even cold. I punished her, and not in the fun way that sometimes happens in the bedroom.
            It was only after I had my awakening this summer that I realized what should have been obvious at the time. I was mad at her because she hurt me.
            That’s how I reacted to pain then. Any kind of pain was another reason to get mad. At her. At myself. At the world. And that’s what I did.
            I was a walking anger machine that needed very little raw material to produce the finished product. I didn’t waste any time thinking if I needed to be angry at this or that. I didn’t waste much emotional energy trying to get to what was really going on deep inside of me. I was very efficient.
            Rarely did I explode, however, and I was never violent towards anybody. Except myself. All the violence got turned inward, against me, as I mercilessly beat myself up twenty-four-seven-threee-sixty-five. I was like a smoldering, white hot, glowing coals type of fire that occasionally flared into a big flame. When I did let off heat, though, it was scary.
            Thanksgiving was the first time that principessa really hurt me. It was worse than hurt. I was crushed. Devastated. Consciously, and on the surface, I responded with anger. Unconsciously, and inside, I realized that I was in love with her and that...oh She could hurt me very badly.
            I couldn’t deal with that. Not then. In the past year, I had lost my dad, my previous girlfriend of four years, whatever connection was left with the rest of my family, my relationship with my twin brother, my band, and I had moved out of my home. There was no fuckin’ way I was going to risk losing my heart as well. Even though I had plenty of other tools, suddenly anger was the only one I knew how to use. Like a guy who learned how to build a house but could swing a hammer since birth, I defaulted to an old stand by.
           That was then. I’m not there anymore.
           This year, I’m still not with the one special person I want to be with. But I’m in one of my favorite places on earth, at one of my most favorite times of the year, and I’ll be joined by some people I love very much. Most importantly, I like myself so much better these days, and I’ll be spending lots of time with him. This year, I’m in touch with how I feel. I don’t shut out love, or joy, or sadness, or pain, or anything else. I’m open.
            There’s a wonderful freedom that comes with this openness that’s still new to me. As though I’m an explorer who can fly. Across this infinite continent of self. Across the unfathomably vast landscape of life. Fully realizing the limitlessness of experience. Discovering my own endless possibilities.
            And it's much simpler than all that too. I'm happy right now. For the first time in three years, I'm happy at Thanksgiving. It is from this newly discovered place of happiness, wonder, gratitude, passion, joy, and love, that I wish the entire planet...a Happy Thanksgiving.

    ©2008 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a 24 pound turkey full of Wrongs) Reserved.

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