Art by Kirsten Hemrich
How did we get here? It’s already November, and we all know what that means: it’s time to think of what makes us thankful. Of course we are thankful for the obvious things: family, friends, our health, the continued success of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
And then there are those things that we really have to dig deep for, the circumstances we often forget about and have to remind ourselves of in our greatest times of need: those things that get us out of bed in the morning and keep us going throughout the day. For some of us, this could be the hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that there is something greater looming on the horizon and everything we’re doing now is just a prologue to an ever greater experience waiting for us. It’s hard to be grateful for times that test our patience and willingness to persist. But it’s the feeling on the other side that makes it all worth it, the knowing that we made it through the hard part and it can only go up from here.
This week’s issue reminds us there we are surrounded by challenges that push us to our breaking point every day. We are bombarded with questions and circumstances that drive us absolutely insane, but we know that there has to be something good that will come out of this. In Maeve’s piece, we are reminded of how things that can seem so simple, like the love of a good book, can be so harshly criticized, especially for women. Bel Banta takes a look at what it means to be single during “cuffing season,” and how this time of year can change the way we think about romance and relationships. Sierra Loudermilk guides us through a critique of her own body, examining how even our skin can make us feel completely out of our element. In Laura Hinnenkamp’s article, we read about sustainable fashion, and how what we wear can be an investment in ourselves and the environment. Marwah takes a look at the camaraderie of chain smokers and how this taboo habit can bring the most unsuspecting strangers together. And finally, Elizabeth Bangura takes us on a journey to find God in the most sacred of spaces: ourselves. I also make a contribution in this issue, offering our Iris readership a soundtrack to heartbreak in public places.
In November, we are grateful. Gratitude is the easy part. It’s the finding of this gratitude, this seeing the good not just in those things that bring us joy, but also bring us grief, that we struggle with the most. When we do find this though, it is the most fulfilling part of the season. It is a true thankfulness that persists throughout this time of year and follows our ability to accommodate self-love and vulnerability.