• Yaddy Valerio

Gratitude Day

Updated: May 19, 2020

The origin behind thanksgiving is a massacre. We celebrate a “holiday” at the sacrifice of others. I mean but that’s America right? But the message of thanksgiving , thanks - Giving is gratitude. Though the history is trash , the message to give gratitude is nice. So I ask , can it be changed to “Happy Gratitude Day” instead of “Happy Thanksgiving “ ? Is not taking away what the indigenous people went through. Their sacrifice , their pain does not go unnoticed.

For a long time, when this holiday would approach, I would get very depressed, sad and lonely. Around this time , something always happens , tragedy , disease , etc. Around this time and when social media started Poppin off , I started feeling shameful for not having certain things. What I didn’t know then is that I had everything I needed and just desired something that it wasn’t my time. What I didn’t know then that I know now, we all go through seasons and we must embrace each season to move forward to the next one. About four years ago around this time I went through a very hard season in my personal life. Let’s just say I didn’t love myself, the end. If it wasn’t for that experience I wouldn’t be here and actually realizing that was a blessing.

Two years ago, my cousin died of breast cancer and my godfather died of a heart attack. Death forces you to open up areas in your life that have been blind spots or at least you placed blinds on them. Grief is a never ending cycle and we all grief differently. Around this time my godfather would put Spanish Christmas music,I haven’t listened to those songs since before his death so on Thanksgiving I did and I broke down crying. Death is something we all are going to go through and is inescapable , so why are we scared or get sad when someone passes away? My godfather's death was unexpected and I didn’t get to say goodbye to him. One day I’ll find closure.

About 10 years ago around this time I was finishing up my last semester of Lehman before entering culinary school. It was a tough road for a 22 year old dealing with mental illness. The economy was down , income started getting shorter, sometimes even coming up with rent was difficult. We didn’t celebrate Christmas, it was just another day for us. Actually I didn’t celebrate the holidays, it was just another day .

This sadness , depression and loneliness has happened since the mid 2000s , that's two decades. Last year of course something else happened with my mom but I said to myself “ I would not have those feelings this year “ . We were occupied with what was going on that prayer and faith were our only gifts.

I don’t know why things happened this last decade (this is not a letter to the decade post ) but I’ll tell you the good , the bad , the really fucking ugly because there’s been really fucking ugly moments than good and bad. I give all thanks to those moments because as I’m writing this , I have no feelings of sadness , depression , loneliness . I feel at peace and I don't know where this peace came from or how it was produced . I reference the book “The power of Now” which is living in the present moment and It has arrived. I’m 32 years old , have a successful career and building the foundation for my 2nd (writing ) , I’m healthy , both my parents are still here and healthy , I have the right people in this season of my life and yet my success that has taken me 10 years plus to accomplish is inner peace. I’ve arrived. I’ve been working on “finding myself “ since I was 19 and I did it before social media and with a mental illness. I always knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I just needed to go through the darkness before the light.

Success looks differently on everyone, my success has been my peace of mind, not rushing to be somewhere because I was always there. My goal for a long time was to own a business , a bakery business . I trained in the kitchen and front of the house to set myself to own this bakery. But something happened that dream was no longer a dream. I was always living the dream , doing something I love to do and getting paid for it , that was the dream . I started seeing more possibilities beyond owning a bakery. Through this breakthrough , I had to discover my purpose , discovering my purpose led to building a relationship with god (that’s a journey in itself) which led to healing. The 10 year plush road looks like crying every night , anger , sad , happiness , winning , losing , then winning again . Why some may think is “overnight success” it’s been years of doing over to get to this point y la lucha continua.

What I’ve been really trying to do was break generational trauma starting with my ancestors. I encourage you to break the cycle.

Thanksgiving 2019 was a blessing. I first went to the streets with my aunt and started giving out food and hot chocolate . We used to do that a few years ago but started again because why not. Giving if u can is the best feeling. You don’t need a lot to give. I was off that day and super grateful, I’ve been working like a maniac all 2019 so that I can sit back a little all 2020. I booked my first trip of 2020 in January. Traveling makes me happy and is a liberation for me.

Furthermore, I cooked thanksgiving dinner , a very healthy dinner. I had fun doing it too. I don’t cook at home as much as l like too and it was great to be able to do it on thanksgiving. We started eating around 5pm and we were there listening to music , drinking some coquito, telling some stories and laughing all night. One of my cousins and her water broke and she went into labor. This is someone that always wanted a child and had a hard time conceiving but the power of Faith and prayers, god blessed her and looked at god her water broke on thanksgiving.

Prayer and faith works , I repeat

Prayer and faith work everyone.

The world is lacking a lot of things , the world is spiritually bankrupt. I was spiritually bankrupt for years but connecting with god and praying has gotten me to this place. I don’t know where I’ll be (I’m planning accordingly) but I’m living right now , this moment and I’m at peace with it. I’m thankful for everyone in my life , the ones that left as well I’m grateful for serving your purpose. For god , my health , my loved ones health, my peace because that’s the real bag.

Happy Gratitude day

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