OPEN THREAD: Fall, Friends, and Food

Hey toasty dinner rolls! How the heck are you? In the US, today is Thanksgiving, a holiday I don’t celebrate other than watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, because I love camp. However, the night before Thanksgiving, I have an annual dinner party called “fall, friends, and food” (I love alliteration and hate capitalization) because with the shorter days and long nights, we could all use a reason to get together with our pals, be grateful, and eat pie. It is always very cute, and very gay, and in my current apartment, I have SO much space, so tons of people come. I’ve always hated Thanksgiving – as a kid it was bad because I was fat and had anxiety, and as I learned more about colonialism I really didn’t like it – but the past few years, I’ve reclaimed late November. I’m building traditions with people I love and making memories that I will keep with me forever.

So, how’s your Thanksgiving going? Did you go home? Do you like going home (I have a limit at home of 48 hours)? Are you alone (my favorite way to spend the holiday)? Hosting? Has your sister’s boyfriend’s transphobic uncle pissed you off yet? Did you cuss him out???? (Side note: do y’all remember that WILD video where a dude throws his family’s turkey or something???) What is on your mind, babes? What do you need to talk about today? I’ll be here all weekend except for when I go to the pilates class my girlfriend is teaching. Can’t wait to learn all about your holiday!

Don’t forget to take a nap, and maybe a smoke break with your cool cousin, and definitely, definitely do not go out on Black Friday. To everyone who works in retail or the restaurant industry this weekend (and always), I wish you the best of luck. I will be rooting for you and I’ll tip the next service worker who helps me out 40% to make up for all the “can I speak to the manager” suburbanites you had to deal with.

Love you, mean it, hope you’re swell!

Also: fuck Christopher Columbus and all colonizers. If you can, find out how the indigenous folks in your area could use your assistance today and always. We are living on stolen land and we can never forget that, friends. All power to all the people.


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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 323 articles for us.

50 Comments

  1. Around here we call it “Friendsgiving,” and it is a time to celebrate chosen families. My little gay family is adopted by a large boisterous one from SoCal who are decidedly more liberal and genuine than my blood relatives. Whereas I used to dread this day, I now look forward to catching up with old friends I only see once or twice a year.

    Enjoy your day off everyone! And, oh yes, fuck colonialism.

  2. That video is truly WILD. That level of family animosity sucks, but why’d he have to destroy all the food?

    My initial Thanksgiving plans fell through due to miscommunication. Fortunately my awesome friend has invited me to the multiple gathering she’s going to today, so I’ll basically spend the day meeting more queers in New York and getting to know them better. That’s something to be thankful for!

    I also have a lingering crush on this friend, so I’m glad she was the first to respond when I reached out to friends to make some new plans.

    • Ari

      yay for thanksgiving with friends you have crushes on!

  3. Lex

    Already feeling jangled.

    Getting the turkey into the smoker was an ordeal.

    I feel like a parent, my dad Is the kid, and my mom his smug older sister.

    What the fuck, how did we get here.

    How am I the captain of this ship?

    Not existential crisis related:

    Making Renice’s stuffed spiced apples but with pecans instead of walnuts for dessert. Also cinnamon, maybe satsuma zest.

    I have multiple warm cozy formal things to wear at this point in my life and I love it.

  4. This Brit is waving across the pond to wish you happy holigays (way cooler than thanksgiving by the sounds!). I go to my mum’s & brother’s for Christmas every year – ten days this year. My sister comes for a few days during that which is a source of strife. This year I’m going 19th – 29th, she’s there the middle part of that, so I get some time with the others without her. My dad died 6 years ago and my mum is in poor health (Parkinson’s and has had a brain tumour), so my brother is her carer.

    I am disappointed we don’t get a Christmas Day Doctor Who this year, it was our one real tradition.

    • Omg I have had such a tantrum about doctor who. Yes, I know it’s on new years day, but really, watching doctor who with my family on christmas day is just full of such happy memories. Even if the episode isn’t that good, we are all in the same room, talking to each other.
      So yes, I may have had a tiny cry about it, but it’s not about tele it’s about spending time with my family!

  5. Jay

    I do not celebrate Thanksgiving at all, I’ve pretty much always despised it. Far more once I understood the history and colonization of this land and its indigenous peoples. But always because it disrupts my birthday plans every single year, even the years when they are the furthest apart, but especially years like this year when it is the same day. I had a really shitty birthday last year, like maybe my worst, so I wanted to be with people this year, even just quality time with one friend. So I planned to make a carrot cake, my favorite, and pizza for as many friends as possible and have a fun day. But I’m alone again. All of my friends either already had plans, or initially said they would come and then other plans came up they’d rather be at, and one friend was coming but had a family emergency. So I’m still making cake and pizza for myself and snuggling my adorable, lovely kitten, trying to make the best of today. It’s already better than last year because I’m at least present with myself today and doing things I enjoy. I just can’t help have some lingering sadness about being unwanted (and the fact my entire family is together today with my abuser). Honestly, its kinda weird to me that a number of friends who say they are really against the holiday and its history would still rather participate it in, in a slightly different maybe less traditional way, than doing something unrelated to the holiday with me. maybe I’m just bitter tho lol

    • Aw, that sucks! Hope you can get some enjoyment out of today, and Happy Birthday, with your kitten and pizza!

    • I’m sorry you’re alone on your birthday not by choice. I hope you feel some love and care wherever it may come from. Sending you birthday wishes and hoping your cake and pizza are delicious. May your birthday wishes come true in the best way possible!

    • Oh man I have the longest history of disappointing and lonely birthdays!

      Eventually I made my birthday centered around things I could do to show love to myself and avoided potential disappointments and it hasn’t been as bad!

      Happy birthday!

      • Jay

        Yes! My best birthdays have when I have been able to focus on my self and loving myself without any other expectations. I have managed to turn today around and mostly feel that sorta self love without feeling too lonely. Hopefully next year I wont even have to worry about it.
        Thanks! Hope your next birthday is lovely in whatever way you want it to be!

  6. I may be in the minority here but I love Thanksgiving! It’s leads into Christmas and food, family and sports. I must admit that I’m not always gunho about family, but we are all dirty dirty liberals and we are gonna celebrate the hell out of our midterm victories and plan for Democratic takeover for 2020!! Oh, and after my family, I’m going to my “girlfriend’s?” family celebration and although they watch NO SPORTS, they do TRIVIAL BOWL AND I’M PUMPED because I know more useless trivia than anyone ?
    But everyone keep it breezy and whatever you do today, just be thankful for AUTOSTRADDLE BECAUSE I KNOW I AM! ?

  7. I’ve been ducking out of the family Thanksgiving dinner for several years now, preferring the December get-togethers, and I truly love my low-key alternative. I started going alone to a restaurant for a turkey plate and warm fire, then the dog show on TV. When I told a friend what I did, she joined in for several years. This year she’s away, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I ate a turkey and cranberry relish sandwich with Trader Joes stuffing-flavored chips!

    Sorry Al, I can’t pass up black Friday deals; I’m on a budget.

  8. This thanksgiving is a bit odd for me. It’s the first time coming back to my parents’ house after moving across the state. It has not been good for my mental health. I got in an argument with my step father over the closest door of the bedroom I haven’t been in for six months. We’re also dining with the neighbors instead of extended family (who didn’t rsvp in time). My neighbors have a stuffed deer head on their wall which they have decorated with a maga hat. I am the gayest person here by a factor of 10. At least I can text my girlfriendish person to vent. Tomorrow I plan to visit my pro-Russia conspiracy theorist father, but a fellow gay cousin is also coming to visit. I am most thankful for my fellow queers.

    • Ari

      ❤️i’m glad you’ve got your girlfriend-ish person to vent to!

  9. Even though I’m British I am actually with my grandparents this week! My grandad is making a trifle tonight just because and I got my grandmother’s delightful commentary on her “murder shows”. Last year I went to my best friends’ family Thanksgiving in America and while this is our tentative every year plan it didn’t happen this year because everybody just moved house and also they had a baby! I’m going to get to go see it in January though and I could not be more excited about it and hopefully Thanksgiving resumes next year.

  10. I’m not from the US so no thanksgiving, but a close friend moved to Portland this year and she’s getting married today. Wish I could be there for her, but at least I helped her choose her dress online, and we stay in touch through instagram dms.

    Last Saturday was my city’s pride parade. I’d been looking forward to it since June, wistfully watching the rest of the world celebrate. I had a great time, I liked how I looked and then I went to a Blondie concert -a friend scored us free tickets! I wish the political climate were better (don’t we all?) and I wish Pride had found my local queer community more united, but going was very fulfilling and I can’t wait to see how next year’s parade finds me.

    Here’s me in funky lashes I borrowed from my drag queen bbf.

    I hope you have a great weekend, have great sex and eat yummy things.

    • I thought these pictures would be smaller, sorry for the spam!

    • I need to make sure but I think that you and your BBF photobombed me!!!!

      So yeah, I decided to go to Pride after they changed the route again. I’ve been going to the parade since I was a 17 year old girl (this was my 21st Pride Parade), always with the same route. Congress is the place of our most important victories and will always be the place where our voice should be heard.

      • if that’s the case I want to see the pics!
        This was either my 7th or 8th, I’m not sure. But not having a stage at congress last year had a big impact on me and it was very bittersweet. I’m glad the parade went back to the original route

  11. Happy Holigays! I like that better than happy thanksgiving, too. Beyond wishing it to the few people it would be more of a task NOT to, this isn’t really a holiday I’m interested in celebrating.

    We had friendsgiving about a week or so ago, and that was beyond lovely and everything I wanted from a fall holiday. That gathering was 3/5s queer ladies. Meanwhile my niblings are at their grandmother’s on their dad’s side (I’m related to them via my sister.) I like my sister’s mother in law, but not everyone else, and they always try to talk politics with me. (Plus her father in law for the last 3 family functions won’t shut up about how my hair would be more attractive if it were longer. I’m queer, but I’m out to my family as a lesbian, because they barely understand that, and queer would be impossible. Somehow he still always mentions men would like it better. Dude!) My sister isn’t even there, cause her marriage is imploding. Really it has been since they got married, but it’s speeding up.

    Anyways, I stopped by because my niece wanted to see me today, but I didn’t stay. I’m at home now, cause I’ve got enough heavy stuff (which I’m going to write about here and this is gonna be so long) already to sit with family wise. Both of my (adoptive sisters (biologically, cousins) are addicts (and shitty parents.) Our parents were abusive/shitty as well, and I’m the only one who is able to admit that and say it ends with me. And it’s not exactly old hat for me saying it, yet. Honestly the 2016 election pushed me into admitting to myself and everyone else how toxic my family is – including calling them out more than I ever had. Not that they listened, but, it was still a major turning point and good for me. I’ve been emotionally raising both my sisters’ kids for YEARS and recently discussing with my two oldest nieces (MJ, 13, Mar, 11) that our family sucks, etc. They’ve independently realized their parents are abusive and addicts and we’ve had some really good talks about it. My best friend has become a major help in that emotional labor, and a 2nd source for them so it’s not just me. Now, their dad isn’t great either, but. Well, if they split, when, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they don’t go to my sister. Which involves burning some bridges (which honestly I’m so excited for. I would not speak to my sister or my dad if there weren’t niblings to worry about.)

    The thing that I’m sitting with today is that my mother is on my side. She was also emotionally abusive, mostly because of severe childhood trauma and improperly treated depression. However, since she left my dad and in particular this year, she’s had some serious breakthroughs. She hasn’t exactly apologized, but she’s expressed regret that my childhood was like that, and in particular – after I came out, I never expected to hear or believe my mother was proud of me. And I have, a lot. I never thought she was AGAINST me, but I never expected she’d be on my side, and now she is. Today, I told her that I think there’s a chance I was sexually abused by my father as a child and repressed that memory. At the very least, he consistently made me extremely uncomfortable being affectionate towards him or vice versa. I started locking my bedroom door every night when I was six. I would not be the first.

    I told her this because if my sister leaves her husband, she’ll move in with our father, and I will call CPS immediately. I’m not letting that happen. And she started crying – and it shocked me a little because I never really expected my mom to be hurt that I may have been hurt, either. She was sometimes, when I was a kid, but not reliably. So I do have a lot to be thankful for this year, but I also have a lot of work ahead of me.

    I don’t know how to close this exactly, but the oven is beeping so I have to. I hope everyone here feels loved by somebody today. I love you all, and I appreciate you cause I really feel like this is a place I can say all of this.

  12. I’m glad this is here. I’m feeling super raw. And a little conflicted about how entitled I feel. I’m 3 months postpartum and a lot of the support I thought I’d have has been yanked out from under me. My spouse took months longer than expected to finish his thesis. My mother in law got cancer. My mom can’t say no to my super needy sister and doesn’t have time for me.

    Especially for my mother in law, I can’t be frustrated at the things they are struggling with, that are taking away from my own needs. Im just feeling raw, super tired… I told myself I wouldn’t take this long to get back on my bike and wouldn’t let my spouse not learn how to handle a new baby but here we are.

    Just having a lot of feelings today. Like I both desperately need my family, and they are not there for me, but also utterly suffocated by them at the same time? Because despite not being available they are still dictating a lot of how our lives look?

  13. I’m just going to vent or gripe for a bit here since I don’t have anyone else to talk to. I was hoping so bad today would be at least a good day but it hasn’t. Our oven has been out for a while so I can’t use it to cook anything which sucks but I’m finding foods I don’t have to cook in the oven. My mom always complains she never gets to eat what she wants on Thanksgiving so I go out and buy a pre-cooked ham, I actually hate ham so I did this for her and only her. I’m not sure what happened but the ham spolied, my mom got mad and we ended up having a fight. I cooked our lunch, cleaned up afterward and she didn’t even thank me. Honestly if this is what Christmas is going to look like then I’m done, I’m ready for January. I know I should be thankful for several things, I am better off than many people, but I’m just not in a thankful mood right now.

    • That stinks. It seems sometimes family are the most blind towards the things we do for them. I hope you get gratitude from somewhere, and wishing you strength to deal with difficult family.

    • Ari

      i’m so sorry your day isn’t going how you want it to go ❤️❤️❤️

    • That’s a bummer- my mom and sister both have difficulty appreciating the things other people do for them, so I hear you. Hope your Christmas goes better!

  14. I’m having a weird Thanksgiving this year. We’ve always, always celebrated at my uncle’s house with my mom’s family, and it’s a big, loud, all-day, 20-person affair, which I love. But my uncle is still smoking even after a cancer diagnosis that he tried to keep secret from the rest of the family. My mom and her other siblings finally told him that they weren’t willing to sit around all day and watch him kill himself and not say anything, so we’ve all split and my family’s just having dinner at home. It’s not the worst thing in the world to have a quiet day, but I like holiday tradition and can’t help but feel sad about the whole mess.
    We had an unusually long break because of the fires in northern California — the air quality was so bad that campus has been closed since last Tuesday. I’m not looking forward to the last three weeks of the quarter. But! It’s only three weeks and after the shit show that was this quarter I’m really, really looking forward to a long winter break.

    • Ari

      sounds like you’ve got a lot going on! hope you’re able to take care of yourself!

  15. My Thanksgiving has been…not bad! This year my mother decided we were making reservations at a restaurant and doing that, and you know what? When your awful family members are the kind who know to put up kind of a filter in public, that makes the experience of eating with family SO much better.

    Also having someone else cook and clean is nice, too. And someone else’s cooking gives everyone a non-controversial topic of conversation. It costs some dough, but your sanity is priceless, even if you might have to make your own proper banana pudding later.

    • Ari

      wow thanksgiving at a restaurant is such a power move! go mom! go family filters!

  16. I always celebrate holidays with my immediate family, but my family’s a bit extra dysfunctional right now, so I am ditching this year’s awkward non-celebration to go to a vegan Friendsgiving! Meat and dairy have always featured very heavily in my family’s Thanksgiving celebrations, so I am excited to see what a vegan feast looks/tastes like. There will be a few queer friends there and then some of the host’s friends who I don’t know–hopefully I’ll make new friends!

    This week, I have been thinking a lot about the new job I will be starting soon and how I can tell my friend I have feelings for them without scaring them off from being friends with me if they don’t return the feelings. I’m glad I will have this queer, animal-product-guilt-free gathering to have fun and take my mind off my nerves about the future.

    Whatever you all are doing today, I hope you are feeling secure and loved (or as secure and loved as possible right now).

    • Ari

      excited for your vegan-giving! my vegan dish was the hit of my dinner party, i’m sure you’ll have tons of great options!

  17. My Thanksgiving has been a bit of a mixed bag, though overall mostly good. It has definitely been my gayest Thanksgiving, and that was very nice. Yesterday I spent all evening with my girlfriend, celebrating her birthday. We had a wonderful dinner and she loved my gift so I feel like a successful girlfriend!

    Today I told my dad I have a girlfriend, which was something I was not looking forward to. I told him I was bi several months ago, and his response wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t supportive or positive. Today was a little better, but not much. Plus our relationship has been super strained lately due to political differences and the terribleness that is Fox News. And it just really sucks because we used to have this great relationship, and now it feels like he’s a stranger and I miss my dad. But I know in reality I’m kidding myself, he was always this biased, racist, sexist, homophobic person, I just never realized how bad it was before. The person I miss never really existed, and what I really miss was my own state of ignorance. Which is just sad, really, and totally sucks.

    I also told my aunt and uncle about my new girlfriend, and they were super excited and incredibly supportive. They want to meet her and invited us over for dinner, which is just a striking contrast to my parents who definitely aren’t interested in meeting her. My uncle in particular was wonderful, and said the kindest things, and it was great and made me so happy.

    Overall dinner was nice, and it was good to see family and eat yummy food.

    • That sounds really nice! Also I loathe to think how many people/relationships Fox News has destroyed.

  18. Rey

    Thanks to AS internet friends, I had one of the nicest Friendsgivings evar even though I just moved to a new city a few weeks ago.

    <3 <3 <3

  19. Is this is the open thread for the week rather than on Friday? Anyway, just in case people are still reading this, how do I find people in real life who want to talk about, say, Vox’s Twilight retrospective (https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/11/21/18096734/twilight-10-year-anniversary-stephanie-meyers) and what it was like to read Twilight as a queer trans woman for the first time or what my feelings about She-ra way back when I was a little kid say about me? I know they exist because I can talk to them on the Internet, but I want to make more real-world connections.

  20. hi al(aina)!!!! i love your pic for this week and i love the things you do and im v thankful for you!

    i got to see my best friend today and buy books and watch four weddings marathon with my family and it was a v good friday i have work in a few hours but then im off again and i think we’re seeing widows! and ive honestly been on cloud nine just cause ive missed my friend so much and i got to advise in a trans/gnc writing workshop for this past week and i never meet w ppl over video chat because im just the worst in conversation if im not in the same room w you but i did it this time and it turns out i also dont need to do video chats cause i get mushy as hell i almost cried ive worked w these people for all of sEVEN DAYS IF EVEN THAT and im just like I CARE ABOUT YOU ALL SO MUCH YOURE BRILLIANT and i had to sign off because im like ????????????????? this was supposed to be ten minutes!!!! not me losing my shit!!! but its v good and im just walking around like wow wow wow im blessed

    like we had dinner and ……………………………………………………………………………………………….no one left upset????? i dont even know what to do in this space im looking around like what the fuck am i supposed to do with this

    but ive got writing stuff to do and im just looking like how have i ever written anything ever before in my life and just trying to get past that fear (shit not even get past the fear just turn the volume off for a bit) of not being good enough long enough to write like aNYTHING that pertains to the work i need to do and im struggling but we’ll get there

    okay love you all youre stars and i was about to say something really corny like you all make my skies brighter or some shit but i gotta sleep so it didnt really work out the end

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