On “Columbus Day” I celebrate Indigenous Peoples, on Christmas I celebrate Yule, and while others give thanks today I will be joining in, but with my awareness on the Displaced People around the world. That’s the true meaning of Thanksgiving to me, both with regard to the pilgrims when they came to America, and now as well with the Natives who have subsequently been displaced as a result of those settlements and my nation’s sordid history.

It’s not as simple as just giving thanks though, at least not for me. This holiday is one of the most gruesome and difficult, because this awareness of truth I soulfully maintain thrusts my consciousness into acceptance of all the evil humanity is capable of (as well as the good).

Does it lift people’s spirits? Does it make for great conversations? Is it trendy, popular or fun? No, it is none of those things we’ve been groomed to expect from our Holy Days, but it is a Holy Day none the less.

Getting Personal

My grandmother was taken from her childhood home at just 9 years old. Sent to live in a “starvation camp” with her grandmother, brother and cousin, none of them would ever make it back to that house again.

My great grandmother Anna did indeed starve to death in that camp. My grandmother waking in her cold, stiff arms one day when she was just 12. Anna had been holding the tiny, malnourished girl as she had slept, and my grandmother had to cry out for someone to help her escape her own grandmother’s rigor mortis.

My own fortune began long before my birth or even my mother’s birth, when that brave, malnourished little girl dared to escape that camp – and did. She made it out alive, and this began her official journey as a displaced person, eventually leading her and her remaining family to seek refuge in America when she was 17.

Honoring the Pain

My grandmother is my hero. Her grandmother too, and I am so proud to bare her namesake as a part of my own (why I prefer MayryANNA to just Mayry).

I come from an incredible lineage of strong, caring and brave women. My great grandmother would serve the little bit of moldy bread they recieved in the camp as a gruel to the children before herself, and that sacrifice alone enabled my grandmother’s survival. To this day my grandmother recalls her innocence of not knowing what was happening when her own grandmother “scraped out the bowl” in order to feed herself after serving the kids.

My own grandmother has since gone on to make Anna so proud: making it through the hiding and unknowns of her displacement, coming to a new country and learning a new language, building a life and a family in North America, overcoming again and again. Yet, my grandma, in all her strength and success, is still displaced.

She will never return home. The trauma and great loss of her young life has scarred and scared her. One of my sister’s is now a missionary in Northern Macedonia (used to be Yugoslavia when my grandmother was a child) and has visited the town where my grandmother grew up – but my grandma is worried that if she ever went back to Eastern Europe they won’t let her leave (given her experiences, that of course makes sense, even despite the actual probabilities), so she refuses to visit.

Acknowledging Blessings

It hurts me to see the repercussions of humanity’s evil still affecting my grandmother decades after her traumatic displacement. Yet, in honoring her, I must also be grateful.

I have never been displaced myself. I have grown up strong and proud as an United States Citizen, and I have enjoyed the perks of that designation my entire life.

Here in Colorado, I live on land once claimed by the Ute peoples and feel their lingering presence daily. I’ve found a rough carving of a bear that is somehow attuned to stand only when looking at a neighboring mountain (a highly charged site I suspect was considered holy or sacred), taking notice of hobbled trees and trying to find the ancient paths they once marked.

This is my home, now, but it is not only my home. It is and has been so much more, to so many more – and it will always be more. In a way, we humans are all displaced, we are all seeking a safe home and the opportunity to flourish on land stolen from our ancestors and borrowed from our children.

The land remains, yes, but so do the crimes. The memories, the traumas and the pain – all of that gets passed on too. Which is why I choose to remember, especially on this day: freedom isn’t free, true love does the tough thing and peace is hard won (often by heros in grandmother’s clothing).

My beloved grandmother, Amu

I have two loving, aware, compassionate, snarky and personality-filled familiars:

“Really May? Right up in our faces today?!”
My Lucas (left) & Sammi (right)

They aren’t my pets, but they are my partners. They mostly prefer to be indoors and are genuinely appreciative of my hospitality, never shying away from requesting their favorite foods or a full body massage, but they also like to wander sometimes. I let them out to explore this mountain top because I want them to remain autonomous – the times they haven’t returned for a night or more I have been concerned, but they have indeed always come back.

They don’t belong to me, but they are mine in the same way I am theirs. We sincerly love and appreciate one other. Our souls nurturing and nourishing each other’s.

I found Lucas when he was just days old, at the bottom of a box of junk where his too-young mother couldn’t get to him. He would’ve died if I hadn’t “gotten a feeling” to look in that obscure place for something I didn’t *know* existed. He has been my ride-or-die kitteh baby ever since, helping through some of the most difficult and painful times of my life. He has been the medicine for my aching heart, pillow to catch my tears and most trusted confidant – I owe that cat the world. Such an amazing friend.

Sammi came to me in college from a sorted past with a bit of trauma already. His brother Salvatore was with him initially but died due to complications from his own past trauma just 6 months later. Despite his short life, he was loved dearly and is still very missed.

Sammi doesn’t let his own past or grief hold him back at all and inspires me with his silly, kind and curious nature. He is the first to greet anyone through the door, very vocal, affectionate and has softened some of the most bitter blows in my adult life with loud purrs during under the covers cuddles. He is a true treasure and encouragement in my life every day.

I consider anyone who gets to meet my cats very lucky, and if on the rare case they don’t like someone, I always take note. They are more than just animals, they are my teachers and companions. I am blessed to have been chosen to take this soul journey with such compassionate and generous beings.

Sammi and Lucas 6 years ago – they’ve always been my little shnuggle butts

I am still waiting on the professional pictures from the showcase as well as some from my friends out in the audience, but here’s a little taste:

Some of my beautiful and diverse entourage; so blessed to have such, talented and supportive friends and family!
Two of my favorite ghouls: my close friend and showcase accessories designer Desaray of TruCreations; my sister and photographer Promise Fulfilled
Amazing shot of me on stage that my production assistant and life-long friend Kira captured
Last minute touch-ups with my Master Stylist and sister Hannah Elle of UpDo or Dye Salon
Another incredible shot from my squad, this one by Journey with Promise

It was a wonderful night and I am so grateful to everyone who helped me pull it off! More about the night, including pictures and video to come!

Got DRAGON nails for the showcase!

Still learning to work with them though! So, this is my attempt to sum up a lot:

I’m art-ing:

In process set peice

It’s been lots of fun! So has getting messages about an ongoing creative project that make me smile (more on this to come SOON):

Illustrations by Violetta Nyx

Super grateful, aaand can’t be bothered by subtle plan changes or other shenanigans.

Showcase is Thursday, I’m starting Kundalini teacher training next week and have my White Tantra workshop this Friday.

I’m looking forward to shifting gears and cruising into fall after this end of harvest BANG!

Oh. And I have plans for you my lovies. Yay!