Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and it is officially Lent. For those of you readers who are not Christians or who are like me and often forget they are Christian, Lent is the 40 day time period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Lent is literally a stroll that begins with remembering we came from ash and will return to it (death!), leads to the death of Jesus on the cross and then His rise from the tomb.
It is all very symbolic and contains a lot of death; but since it all works out pretty okay with salvation and everlasting life, I guess it's okay.
Some Christians give things up during Lent as a way to sacrifice something earthly and make more room for Christ. My Catholic friends stick to the Fish on Fridays mandate and I enforce fish on Friday just to guilt my family into eating more fish. The children will complain. Mike will secretly eat an entire chicken for lunch. It's fine. It is the thought that counts. (This last part is in the Bible somewhere!)
Anyway, Fish on Fridays, aside, I dislike the idea of giving anything up and complain about it every year. It is a lot of pressure and never once have I selected the correct sacrifice and I've never stuck with any sacrifice. Since it is the thought that counts, I am sharing my list of things I would like to give up but probably won't. Maybe my share will inspire me to be better and more sacrificial or something.
Here's my list:
1. Caring what others think.
Many of my elders told me that at 40 years old, I would magically cease caring what others thought of me. I am halfway through this decade of my life and this has not happened at all! I still wear lipstick or gloss daily to ensure no one thinks I am unhoused.
When I challenge my elders, they insist it will happen at 50. But, I think at 50, I'll need more lipstick and perhaps some better under eye concealer.
In all seriousness, my survival depends on what others think of me, my writing, my skills, my proposal, my words and my ideas. I know it does not depend on my lipstick; but my lipstick is the one thing I can control. I try to control how my words are received; but in the end, anything could happen. And I'd like lipstick (and food/housing/electric bill) money, so I have to care.
This is one I'd love to give up and I don't feel any attachment, other than the way a prisoner feels attachment to their kidnapper. I think my signature fragrance is self-doubt. The good news is my self-doubt is mixed with reckless decision making and an inflation sense of self, so self-doubt does not often stop me. Even so, self-doubt keeps me up at night. I'd love to say goodbye. . maybe when I cease caring what others think. .
3. Compulsive List Making
Look, I think list making is a great way to remember things, avoid buying or doing unimportant things and feeling in control of your life. BUT the picture in this blog is just a few of my master, sub, level B, level c, number 1, fast five, fast fifteen, VIP, trim the fat, do-now lists. I compulsively make lists. I have electronic lists. I have lists written on my wrists sometimes and once on my thigh (when I was wearing a short skirt!). I have lists on post-its on the wall behind my desk and I have lists on post-its on the floor of my car (they fell off my dashboard). It's madness. But, I cannot stop. I think the Ten Commandments were like a list, so maybe I don't have to stop and I should it embrace it all for Lent. . . .