A year ago, I went to Thanksgiving dinner with my then-girlfriend, hostessed by an old friend of hers. It was immediately before final exams, as Thanksgiving always is, and I didn't especially want to go. I wasn't happy or comfortable there, I reacted badly when it became apparent that we'd be there for a while, and my then-girlfriend wasn't very happy with me. (I wrote about it last year.)
This Thanksgiving, I'm in a much different situation. I'm unattached, I've changed schools, I've moved, I'm on medication. I have no plans for Thanksgiving, other than work in the evening. I've tossed around the idea of cooking a ham for dinner-- a turkey is a lot for one person to cook (and eat). This year, I'm planning to give thanks by myself. My psychiatrist raised an eyebrow at the idea-- she suggested it's really better if I try to get together with family or friends. Given the right situation, it might be better, but I don't want to find myself in a situation where I'm going to be uncomfortable. I don't have anything to prove. Surviving Thanksgiving dinner won't "make me well", won't "cure" me.
Yet, this week, since it is the week before Thanksgiving, everyone will ask "So are you going anywhere?", and I'll mumble something that sounds like I have plans of some sort. I don't want to explain why I don't like large family gatherings, or gatherings in places and with people I don't know. Some people will think it's sad, that there are veterans who are spending a holiday alone.
It may be, someday, that I am able to reach an inner peace, a circle of friends and family, and a situation where I will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, and actually look forward to the event. This year isn't that place.