Three Things, Day 9: Writing, Eating & Pronouns

Gratitude #1:
I’m not yet at the point where Three Things is part of my daily writing practice. I’m not even back at the point yet where the act of writing is part of my daily writing practice. 

In fact, there are really only two pieces of my writing practice right now: 1) feeling guilty for not having a better daily writing practice and 2) thinking about ideas I should be writing down as part of my daily writing practice. 

But I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I was a few months ago, and I’m grateful for that.

Gratitude #2:
Tonight we’ll have a small, early, Thanksgiving dinner. My wife Alison, my daughter, and me. Also Ziti, of course.

There was a time I’d have been frustrated that I wasn’t preparing a full-blown meal for the whole family on Thanksgiving day. The past couple years have taught me to appreciate what there is, rather than regretting what isn’t.

Last night I made a pumpkin cheesecake, and this morning I prepared a  chocolate cream pie. Because what good is any sort of Thanksgiving dinner without too much dessert? In an hour or so, I’ll roast a chicken, make mashed potatoes, maple carrots, delicata squash, and dressing. Because what good is any sort of Thanksgiving dinner without leftovers?

Then we’ll gather at the table, share gratitude, eat, and enjoy one another’s company. We’ll also hope that maybe when Christmas comes, more of the family will be able to be together. And if not at Christmas, then whenever the opportunity should arise.

I’m grateful for what is, and I’m grateful that I can be grateful for that.

Gratitude #3: 
My daughter uses they/them pronouns. So do quite a few other people in my life.

Pronouns can feel complicated and stressful these days. What I’ve found, though, is that this feeling is something we’re putting on ourselves. 

Every person I know who uses they/them or other non-heteronormative pronouns is incredibly patient with me and others. I apologize when I get it wrong, and when I do, I’m told that it’s alright to make mistakes, as long as I’m making the effort. 

The places I see frustration and anger creep in is where pronoun requests are met with outright refusal and willful ignorance. And in those cases, that frustration and anger is justified.

Being aware of a person’s pronouns causes me to be more thoughtful and measured with my words. More mindful of that person’s needs. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it fosters a deeper, more meaningful relationship with that person. And I’m grateful for that.

Nothing drives me up a wall more than hearing a person rant about pronouns when they haven’t mastered basic grammar as an adult. Learn the difference between “they’re,” “their,” and “there,” and then we’ll talk about pronouns. It’s sort of like lecturing others about the U.S. Constitution when your knowledge of the document doesn’t go any deeper than the Second Amendment.

How many people do we know who prefer to be called “Chuck” instead of “Charles,” “Nance” instead of “Nancy,” or “Rick” instead of “Richard”? We make those accommodations without a second thought. It shouldn’t be any different with pronouns.

It comes down to just trying to be decent to others. That shouldn’t be too hard. And I guarantee your efforts will be met with gratitude.

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