make me good god, but not yet. -st. augustine

i’ll be honest–my creative juices weren’t really flowing this week. i started and abandoned several pieces that i thought might make good blog posts.  as the week wore on and i was becoming more and more frustrated, i was also being inundated with more and more displays of gratitude on social media.  it’s that time of year.

gratitude. ugh.

it’s not that i don’t think gratitude is important or that i’m not grateful for a lot of things.  i do and i am.  i suppose ultimately i think of gratitude the same way i think of humility and coolness—if you’re talking about it, you ain’t got it. look’it me, look’it me! look at how grateful i am? aren’t you grateful you know such a grateful person??

but i was growing a little more desperate with each passing day, so i figured, what the hell?  i can be grateful too, bitches.  and then an interesting thing happened when i started compiling a list of things i think are beautiful–i realized that there are times when i think some of those same things are awful.  and it occurs to me now that on any given day i am equally capable of focusing on either the beauty or the wretchedness.  in fact, i am always so many things at once that sometimes–quite often actually–it’s not an either/or question.  sometimes the things about which i’m conflicted live in a place in which all of the love and the hate and the fear and the confusion occur at the same time.  often it becomes nearly impossible to feel any single thing without getting a taste of another,  so that for some things i don’t even know which list i’d put them on: gratitude or ingratitude?

so i’ve decided i couldn’t write one list without the other.

my ingratitude list:

  • people i don’t know very well telling me that they love me.  no you don’t. not only are you bullshitting me, you’re also making me extremely uncomfortable.
  • the fact that no matter what, everything changes.
  • the pain that it takes to get me to admit when something has broken me.
  • the word panties. eww, i just said it.
  • christmas starting in november.  (for more details on that, read this earlier post.)
  • those days when no matter what i do i can’t put a good sentence together—when words are not my friends at all, but instead mock me from inside my own crazy. aka creative constipation.
  • actual constipation.
  • changes i never could have seen coming.5066821207_81224f9ab8
  • my great thaw: the process of learning how to be vulnerable that began a handful of years ago and continues through the present.  it makes me more susceptible to hurt.
  • sitting on my best friend’s bed, crying to her because my heart hurts and there’s nothing to do but feel it.
  • when i have to unbutton my pants after a big meal.
  • the ache of missing someone.
  • tom brady and his stupid beautiful face and bill belichick and his stupid ugly face.  everything about every facet of the new england patriots. (not ingratitude here, but hatred.)
  • how naalah limped and struggled to breathe at the end, and the way her tongue slipped out of her mouth on the cold white floor when the vet pushed the meds into her i.v. last year.

    takin a snooze with my naalah and her puppy breath.
    takin a snooze with my naalah when she was a pup.
  • irish boys and their goddamn gift of the blarney.
  • general glee and jubilance.
  • lulu lemon.  it should be illegal to spend that much money on something that will, at some point, hold your crotch sweat.

my gratitude list:

  • friends who make me less afraid because every once in a while i am able to see myself through their eyes.
  • the fact that no matter what, everything changes.
  • this new gangly kid named porzingis, who’s been making the knicks watchable again. #TheZinger
  • vanilla frozen yogurt from costco.
  • clive owen and the knick.
  • clive owen’s hotness.

  • everything about clive owen.
  • those rare days when words are my best friends, and seem to arrange themselves in the right order without any help from me.
  • second chances.
  • changes i never could have seen coming.
  • alexandra fuller’s don’t let’s go to the dogs tonight.
  • irish boys and their goddamn gift of the blarney.
  • that in between all the regret and grief, i can come back to the truth: that i’m better and more and further because of all the things that have broken me.
  • tim o’brien
  • tim o’brien
  • tim o’brien
  • the book, if i die in a combat zone, in which tim o’brien writes:

now, war ended, all i am left with are simple, unprofound scraps of truth. men die. fear hurts and humiliates. it is hard to be brave. it is hard to know what bravery is. dead human beings are heavy and awkward to carry, things smell different in vietnam, soldiers are dreamers, drill sergeants are boors, some men thought the war was proper and others didn’t and most didn’t care. is that the stuff for a morality lesson, even for a theme?

  • grandma pizza from coppola’s in new providence, nj. #bestfuckinpizzaever
  • the ache of missing someone when you know that they miss you too.
  • the people around me who remind me that it’s a fool’s errand to try and deny myself my humanity.
  • that i don’t live in syria.
  • my great thaw: the process of learning how to be vulnerable that began a handful of years ago and continues through the present.  it makes me a better writer and a better friend.
  • bob dylan.
  • the phrase “fuck fucker fuckerson” (which i’m pretty sure is a dani-original, so consider that shit copyrighted).
  • the perfect blue-grey color that i chose for the living room walls of my apt, and those yellow paisley drapes that make me happy every time i see them.
  • grilled cheeses and sweet potato fries.
  • that feeling you get when you find a pair of jeans that hugs your everything perfectly.
  • getting to see the sun rise over the temples of angkor wat in cambodia.

    dawn: temples of angkor wat, cambodia
    dawn: temples of angkor wat, cambodia
  • that i’m particularly good at finding the twisted humor in things that otherwise would just make me cry.
  • white lilies.
  • cookies n’ cream ice cream and skittles. (not together)
  • living alone.  the feeling you get when you walk into your quiet apartment and see that everything is just as you left it.
  • puppy breath.
  • sitting on my best friend’s bed, crying to her because my heart hurts and there’s nothing to do but feel it.

Photo on 3-20-15 at 8.20 PM #2Photo on 3-20-15 at 8.18 PM #2

  • sitting on the couch with said best friend, stuffing our faces and watching the oscars, whilst providing our own snarky commentary.
  • rolling my eyes
  • that no one can see me when i’m talking on the phone so i can roll my eyes at will.
  • that moment just before you drift off into a late afternoon nap after a draining thanksgiving with your family, and you see the cold fall sun through sheer white drapes, and everything is dim and blurry and quiet, and you catch yourself thinking, “maybe everything’s gonna be ok.”

photo credit: via photopin (license)
photo credit: Elizabeth ~ The Golden Age via photopin (license)


4 thoughts on “(in)gratitude

  1. Steven s November 29, 2015 / 10:40 am

    Once again thank you so much for making me laugh and making me think, especially for teaching me a new word or slogan fff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin McCormick November 29, 2015 / 11:49 am

    The idea that stuff can hit both lists is insightful…I guess it makes me realize how much is about perspective and what I bring to a situation at a given time.

    But sweet potato fries?.?..they make my IN-gratitude list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy Mac November 30, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa, you said panties.

    Liked by 1 person

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