On Thanksgiving, when we Americans sit around our Thanksgiving dinner tables expressing gratitude for what we've been given are we in denial about what we've taken? This is a question I've been considering as the holiday festivities are approaching. Seems to me that that the table-dominating turkey with its sleep-inducing polyurethanes overlooks the actual originof this holiday.
For starters, I want to be clear that this anecdote is safe for atheists!
My parents brought me up as an atheist. Though my dad was being trained to be a rabbi in his native Poland, experiences he underwent while studying at the “chayda” made him decide that if God allowed abusive treatment to children, there was no God. Now, I have no idea what actually happened. He came from a heritage of rabbis, and his mother was intent on having him follow in the footsteps of the males in his family. In explaining his decision to me, my father related that the students had to take down their pants and receive beatings. In light of the recent reports of sexual violations in the clergy, I suspect it might have been worse than beatings, but, of course, my father would never have shared that... even with his family.
There was a time when if you saw someone walking and talking out loud, you crossed the street. The immediate reaction was that the person was some sort of nut, talking to him/herself. Now, it's impossible to ascertain who's crazy or who's sane merely by noting whether they're talking into space or on their cell phone.
At 77, I recently re-located from Manhattan, where I spent my entire adult life, to Anguilla, the island that was to become my home. As you can imagine, there were a staggering number of steps necessary to move to a new life. But having to face all that packing paled in comparison to the fear, insecurity and doubt it engendered.
“YOU MUST HAVE BEEN....” and “AT YOUR AGE...” Without undue vanity, it would not be inappropriate for me to nod and say, “Yes, I'm beautiful!” when stopped on the street by people who wish to praise me, and often to take my picture as well.
You might remember that to be the name of a popular TV show years ago. I recall watching it with my kids when they were young, vegging out munching popcorn in front of the TV. Fast forward four decades, and here I am, at 77, actually LIVING ON PARADISE ISLAND! How did this happen?
In all truth, I have to admit that I too experienced aging as a dreadful punishment. A former dancer, I had been super-fit with an appealing body for most of my adult life. Initially I resented and cursed the varicose and spider veins that were showing up on my legs. What did I finally come to learn from this body image hatred? I realized that without even being aware of what was happening, I had become a victim of the omnipresent negative brainwashing we are fed by the media daily.
Is this a question you've ever asked yourself? I have. Though I've had cherished friendships throughout my life, from time to time, one of them would betray me. Should this have set me thinking about distrusting all of them? No, it certainly shouldn't have. But I did!
My “obsession” with health food began in the early 60s. I had just given birth to my son Joshua and felt weak for the first time in my life. At least for the first time that I can remember, as the exhaustion continued for days on end, rather than rare, isolated incidents.