Thankful.

Though the darkness tried to lie and call me weak, I arise and smile at its defeat. I am enough, I am everything the darkness is not. – Jay

*I want to first and foremost acknowledge & check my privilege, and shed some light on the history of this day, I realize I am not able to do so on my own experience or by my own words. I will instead list some resources I have come across as they are truly helpful in teaching, educating, and bringing forth awareness to why we should use our voice to shift the narrative and bring visibility to the oppression and the erasure of Native Americans. I will also list some of my favorite and resourceful accounts I follow.

As I reflect on 2020, I’m seriously blown away at how much has happened in ONE year. It almost feels like I’ve lived many lives this year.

While the heaviness of this year weighs deeply in my heart, I want to simply reflect on the good that has happened month by month in this post.

Lets start.

January

This month my fiancé and I went to watch our favorite comedian Sebastian Maniscalco live at the Forum in Inglewood. It was nothing but laughs the entire day and night. We had so much fun on the drive down to LA from Ontario, and it brought me so much joy to see my fiancé excited.

During this month Australia was devastated by wildfires, causing wild life to be displaced as their homes were burned. So in an effort to try and do my part I was able to make and donate over 30 joey pouches, thanks to the incredible help of my community!

My last and final happy memory this month was being able to watch my dear friends get engaged! It is a beautiful memory that I will cherish and forever be thankful that we were able to witness.

February

My favorite memory this month was Valentines Day weekend. My fiance and I had a staycation, where we spent the night at our local DoubleTree where we relaxed in the hot tub at night, then went dancing. The next morning we went took a tour of Warner Bros Studios in Burbank. It was honestly such a good time and I highly recommend visiting (once it is safe to do so).

March

March is selfishly my favorite month, my birthday is March 10th. This year all I wanted to do was spend the day at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure with my entire family. It really was the most magical time, this would be the first time ever that my mom, dad, two brothers, my fiance and I would spend the entire day together. My parents split up when I was very young, so the child in me was absolutely happy, and the adult me was so proud and happy as well at their growth. Having the both of them at family events is something I will always appreciate and cherish. This trip happened a few days prior to COVID-19 causing the state to go into lockdown, and way before we all knew/realized how serious it was.

April-June

Quarantine/Lockdown, I was placed on a leave of absence my from job and honestly I was thankful but for all the wrong reasons. Reason number one I hated my work environment, it was full of drama, pettiness, and unnecessary cattiness but that’s a whole other post I can fill you in on later. The other reason I was glad to be on leave was because I truly care for the health of those I served. I worked at an In-Home Day Program, providing sensory stimulation and overall silliness to mentally and physically disabled individuals with compromised health. So naturally I completely understood and was glad to be put on leave if it meant keeping them safe.

July

This month my fiance, his family and I took a quick trip to Vegas. We played it safe, by staying in a resort that had all the amenities we needed, so we stayed there 90% of the time and took all the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of others and ourselves. This was the first time in over 10 years that we all went on a family vacation. It was really nice to be able to spend time together.

August

August was by far my heaviest most darkest month for me. The one thing I am thankful for this month is simply surviving it.

September

September was the month I finally saw my brothers and mom again in person since March. We went to have brunch together and celebrated my mom’s birthday. In this month I also finally quit my job to pursue JLOVEKNITS full time. I can’t begin to describe how liberated, yet nervous I was to take this leap of faith all I can say is I am so glad I did.

October

I am super thankful that October was spent being busy with JLOVEKNITS and all about learning how to work full time from home.

and at last we reach November, this month I am thankful for my fiancé. We took a short to trip to Seattle, (no need to shame or guilt trip me believe me I did that all by myself the entire time and all precautions were taken and practiced). We had planned and book this prior to ‘Rona, and Seattle has been on my Must Visit list since I was in the 5th grade! My fiancé’s birthday is on the 28th and our anniversary is on the 29th so this trip was to celebrate us both. After the heartache we both endured this year, we selfishly enjoyed this trip and each other.

Although this year is not over just yet and I left out all the bad that went on, just getting to write out all the good made feel a bit better. It can be so easy to look at the negative. At times it can even feel like we are drowning and simply trying to stay afloat seems impossible. I know a lot of times this year it certainly felt that way for me. Doing this helped me to really reflect, think back and find the good.

We also don’t need one particular day a year to do this so I ask you to try and do the same whenever you get a chance, write out a list of only the good that has happened this year. But please do not compare your list to mine, and do not feel bad if you find it hard to find the good. The fact that you are here, and you are reading this is what I am thankful for most. Your life, is worth being thankful for, as icky, as tough, as hard as it may be, you are a survivor, a warrior, and you will grow and prosper. Surviving and living through times such are much to be thankful and proud of.

xo- Jay

Resources:

Find out more about local Indigenous territories and languages at https://native-land.ca/

A guide to Indigenous land acknowledgement https://nativegov.org/a-guide-to-indigenous-land-acknowledgment/

Tia Wood Instagram: @tiamiscihk Tiktok: @tiamiscihk

Allen Instagram: @lilnativeboy

Thanksgiving: The National Day of Mourning https://www.papermag.com/thanksgiving-native-american-history-2620937254.html