Monday Dare (& Giveaway!): Happy Shanksgiving

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: Trust my first instinct

This is actually the second Monday Dare I am writing today. I finished the first, read it over, and then scrapped it. Something didn’t seem right to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I decided to take a break and browse the Honeybaked Ham website to clear my head. I made a list of all the delectables I intend to buy one day when I’m rich and successful. My plan is to refer to the page from time to time when I feel extremely discouraged or lazy. Hopefully, the promise of the HoneySweet Chutney Duo will propel me to work hard and stay focused. Losers don’t deserve the $43 Malibu Marvel featuring an irresistible assortment of tropical fruit, toffee, and almonds, I will tell myself. Be a Winner. 

Perhaps it was the promise of katrillion dollar hams in my future, but my razor sharp focus came back. I understand now why the first Dare didn’t work.

I challenged myself to reach out to the family members I no longer speak to and make amends. It seemed like something a Real Adult would do- someone with a bigger heart who has the capacity to forgive and recognize that family is forever.

The holidays are always a weird time for me. I see my friends grinning and bearing it, spending time with people they dislike, making small talk and generally being tolerant while secretly thinking of ways to slash some motherfucking tires with a shard from a broken eggnog glass.

I just can’t. I refuse.

For years, I have felt a tremendous amount of guilt for our small family get-togethers. Then, of course, the guilt is temporarily replaced by relief and happiness as I enjoy those precious days with the people I love- eating shitloads of food not purchased from Honeybaked Ham, feigning surprise as I unwrap gifts I forced them to buy me, and decorating our fake Christmas tree with fancy ornaments I got at Pottery Barn one year when I was actin’ a fool and feeling flush. Then, the guilt again.

This morning, when I made the commitment to bridge the gaps in our family by being the first to reach out, an ugly dread settled over me, but I ignored it. I convinced myself that I was just being childish and immature. But, no matter how hard you work to make your head believe something, matters of the heart can only be resolved by the heart.

I allowed myself to remember all the reasons why I no longer consider these people my “real family.” These bits and pieces aren’t something I ever allow myself to dwell on for too long, but I gave myself a pass to root around in my past today.

I tried to trick myself into doing something I didn’t want to do. Something that would not have been good for me. All for the sake of being a Real Adult, whatever that means. Fuck that shit. There are some doors that need to stay closed. There are some people who don’t deserve a place in our lives. It would be a waste to spend any more time or thought feeling guilty. I’d rather give that space to my real family instead.

Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. I fucking love presents. Maybe you do too. To celebrate this holiday season, I will be doing a giveaway each week until the end of the year. Get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page, on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress), and on Twitter (@ElizabethJLiu) for giveaway updates, (t)hug life thoughts, pictures, and other random shit.


I ADORE Mariella Bowman’s MySkipper dolls. Cal is the lucky owner of several of her creations, most recently an Anne of Green Gables doll that Mariella custom designed for Cal’s birthday. When I opened a surprise package from MySkipper last week to find a Tupac doll, complete with a gold chain and “THUG LIFE” tattooed on its stomach, I laughed until I cried. She totally got it right and gave my day such a boost. I’ll be posting a picture of Tupac on Instagram later today.

MySkipper is giving away one doll to a lucky reader. YOUR CHOICE from any pictured above. Mariella’s Etsy shop is regularly updated with new dolls, but she is also currently taking custom orders until the end of November.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with your favorite holiday tradition. Only comments left on THIS post will count. I’ll announce a winner next Monday.

Monday Dare: Let’s do this shit

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Do it up big

I was faced with a difficult decision this morning. I could pony up $13.99 for Internet access to post this Monday Dare in a timely fashion. Or, I could use that money to buy six churros and wait until the afternoon to jack free access from my homegirl’s place of employment. Anyone who’s experienced the crispy-but-also-surprisingly-chewy goodness of a churro would agree that I made the right choice. This is also why I haven’t answered last week’s comments yet. Tomorrow, y’all. My value-seeking ways really fuck up my life sometimes. 

As a kid, I noticed a trend among the other Korean immigrant families at church. No one Did It Up Big for holidays or birthdays. No ice cream cakes. No snowflake-shaped string of lights. No Candied Sugar Plum candles from Bath & Body Works flickering in the entranceway. Most disturbing was the lack of presents. Some people believe that the real joy of any special occasion is the company of loved ones and an abundance of laughter. You must be kidding. I would take an elaborately wrapped Memory Foam bath mat over my Uncle James’s jokes any goddamn day. How do a few chuckles compare to the pleasure of a mat that provides almost an inch of cushion against a cold bathroom floor while simultaneously wicking the moisture from my feet?

The family across the street Did It Up Big. They had a colorful flag for every special occasion. And not just the Big ‘Uns like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Every April 23rd, you better believe the custom-made “Celebrating ___Years of Love” flag with the delicate fringe around the edge would come out. I admired Mrs. Cameron’s forethought. Instead of ordering a new flag every year, her special creation sported velcro strips, allowing her to swap out just the numbers.

Everyone in the neighborhood looked forward to the Camerons’ Fourth of July barbecue bonanza. The invitation beckoned: “Show your spirit! Don red, white, and blue!” One year, I tried to convince my parents that all anyone really needed to throw these shindigs was a 12-piece patio set from Wal-Mart and a yellow water-resistant boombox. They insisted there was a lot more to it. I voiced my suspicions that perhaps my parents were really just being cheap and lazy. Important Lesson: Lobbing insults is NOT the best way to get what you want. Actually, maybe the Important Lesson here is not to be cheap and lazy.

It’s probably because the Universe has a twisted sense of humor, but I’m now guilty of the same offense: I am lazy about celebrations. I let holidays and other special occasions pass by with little fanfare. And Cal, just like her ma back in the day, thinks it’s bullshit. Well, she’s never actually said those exact words, but I assume that’s what’s going through her mind when she points to the seasonal decorations at the grocery store and gives me a sideways glance.

I got two days. Watch out, Wednesday. We’re going to celebrate the fuck out of the Fourth of July.

Do you make a big to-do about holidays and special occasions? What are you doing for the 4th?

P.S. If you’ve already “Liked” the Flourish in Progress Facebook page but aren’t seeing the thug life thoughts + funny pictures + random shit in your news feed, go to the Flourish in Progress Facebook page, hover your mouse over the “Liked” button, and make sure “Show in News Feed” is selected.
image via pinterest