By Mikayla Denault
This past month has been filled with ups and downs, and it has come time for the holiday of thanks and celebration of loved ones around you. As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us have lost some of our hope as 2016 has swept us from our feet, but we still have to maintain our optimism especially in these months to come. Even though a lot of this year was filled with hate, there still has been an overflow of incredible events that dispersed love in 2016.
2016 was the year with the most controversial election in history, bizarre weather, the inspiring Olympics, terror in foreign countries, spreading of Zika and other diseases, discoveries in science, my first high school experience, democracy at its finest, uplifting music releases, new friendships, dancing and game fads, more LGBTQI+ marriages, the Paralympics, and most importantly, displayed throughout all these events, togetherness. This was the year of togetherness of love, beliefs, faith, race, happiness, and awareness. Here are five things I am grateful for in 2016.
- What I am thankful for post-election:
When we received the most bigoted, racist, homophobic, abusive candidate as president, of course I was very upset as many people in this world were, but instead of focusing on the negativity, I focused on the ways in which together we can fix these problems. I am so thankful for the peaceful protests we performed and the ways we stood up for what we believe is right. Acts in which we kindly silenced sore winners, expressed our thoughts, did an act of love to show truly what the LGBTQI+ community stands for, and other acts in which displayed confidence and hope in the US. I am thankful for less violence and the incredible presidency President Obama performed these past eight years. He has worked his hardest to prepare the country for the next president and maintain equality and rights we gained as much as possible. While President Elect Donald Trump receives office, it has been amazing to watch the US as a democracy deflect rude, bullying remarks instead of just being bystanders.
- Why I am thankful for the LGBTQI+ community:
The amazing support from The Next Family and everyone who has read my articles has been astounding, and I am so proud to be a part of this family that inspires me to continue my work and do good every day. I am thankful for all the feedback I have received as it has helped me grow as a writer. I am blessed to be a part of the LBGT community because we are some of the most loving, caring people in the world. All of us accept everyone’s differences as well as flaws, and we celebrate these differences and make any weaknesses turn into strengths. No matter what race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc., we enter anyone into our lives, and people who exclude themselves are missing out on amazing experiences, memories, stories, and conversations the LGBT community takes part in.
I believe most of the reason the United States is a “Melting Pot” is because of our loving group of people. The values we express, courage, strong belief, love, hope, and determination, has helped me grow into the person I am today. I am so grateful for all the people I have encountered in my life because of my belief that everything happens for a reason, and I am so glad I have been given the opportunity to freely express myself to my peers and through these articles. I am thankful for the LGBT community for its advice, lessons, continuous support, and togetherness that makes the world function in peace.
- Why I am thankful for two moms:
I am so grateful for my two moms for them loving me and accepting me for me. Missy, Meg, and I are absolutely different. While Missy is very sporty and mathematic (I always joke around with her and call her a jock), Meg enjoys photography, carpentry, and science. As I share Missy’s sporty side and Meg’s educational side, I also have many differences by having an artsy and girly side to me. I am also a burst of energy while they can be very laidback. However, we all share the same attribute of humor. Having two moms has helped me experience reactions of the world that will help me as I become an adult. Negative and positive experiences that we go through together helps us gain a closer bond. I am so thankful for my two moms, the advice they give me, the scoldings I receive, and the promotion of feminism that is present in my household. All of these amazing things I receive from my two moms are a few of many gifts they give to me every day. I love them so much, and I will miss seeing their smiling faces every day when I enter college in four years.
- Why I am thankful for Hillary and her campaign:
Hillary Clinton, one of the most qualified candidates for office, did not become president in 2016, and while that was heartbreaking for many families, loving citizens, and minorities looking for equality, her campaign was almost like a progress report that revealed many issues that we thought were close to being resolved, but still need to be fixed: issues such as male privilege, bullying, anti-feminism, racism, and equality over all horizons. She was an inspiration to many little girls who need to believe they can do anything. She created a new generation of leaders, female AND male, that will in the future, end the hate Donald Trump may create and encourage. Her campaign will forever be remembered as the most uplifting and changing of society. Thank you Hillary for giving me hope and setting the world on fire with awareness and loving discussion.
- Why I am thankful for setbacks:
Failure only happens to the evil in the world, and eventually that will dawn over the president-elect. Setbacks to the loving, determined people of the world is just a step closer towards success. I am so grateful for setbacks because it inspires me to reach my goals even faster than expected. Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I learned, especially recently, that you can have the best competition of your career, and then a week later, you can swim much slower than your goal times. Setbacks set you up for success because it will make you work harder than ever before so you will never be at that point again. It gives you a better chance in the future to have drastic accomplishments that will make you happier than receiving instant gratification. I am so thankful for setbacks in life because it makes successes that much more memorable. In these moments, the experiences have made me tougher, confidant, strategic, stronger, and resilient.
Everything I am thankful for has affected my life in amazing ways, and I regret nothing in my life because it has gotten me to where I am today. The world is a beautiful place filled with lightness and darkness, but family, friends, and God are truly my main lighthouse that works together to guide me no matter what happens. This Thanksgiving season, I promise my loved ones to make them know they are the highlights of my life. I don’t know what I would do without them. They have given me gifts such as love, education, shelter, good times, faith, and life lessons. 2016 has been an eye -pening year to both amazing advances and unfortunate setbacks, but we will never give up until equality and peace are restored. Thank you Lord for this ever-developing world, and giving our lives purpose every day to fix injustices in society. During this heartwarming holiday season, let us love everyone like we never have before.