There is a part of me that wonders why I care about these people who I’ve never met, nor have I ever seen their suffering first hand. There is another part of me though, that just says, ‘shut up and respect the things you know nothing about.’ And that is what I chose to listen to on days like Remembrance Day, and 9/11. They have lived through1 some horrible shit, including the loss of their loved ones2 and at the very least, they deserve my thoughts today.
Lent? What’s lent? I suppose I should deal with that question first. Easter’s over, and I did a thing for 40 days before Easter that I’d like to talk about. So what is Lent? According to the ‘pedia of Wiki:
“Lent (Latin: Quadragesima – English: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving,atonement and self-denial.”
There’s a lot more to it that you can read on the site; growing up with Roman Catholic upbringing meant that lent was a time when I denied myself something that I loved the most to prove my Love to God. As I grew older and decided that the church, and organized religion wasn’t for me, lent became more about maintaining moderation. As Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I really think there’s something to that.
When I was younger1, I would give up chocolate. That was hard. I might even say it was harder than giving up drinking. I mean, I can drink a lot but I don’t *need* to drink a lot. I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking everyday, and that’s the very reason I’ve decided to give it up for lent in the first place, but I don’t need to do it everyday.
By giving it up though, I achieve the same level of tolerance that lets me drink a small amount to experience the optimum relaxation that I seek when I reach for a glass in the first place. In the past2, it was more about denying myself the pleasure of eating my favourite thing in the whole world3. Now though, it’s more about remaining the kind of person who can function well without too many crutches4.
I’m being more lenient with myself this year, and I am finding it quite liberating5. Last year, I only allowed myself one free day. It was someone’s birthday and I didn’t want to be a wet blanket talking about moderation and what not, so I had a few and instead opted not to celebrate with a drink on Easter Sunday6. Last year, I equated alcohol to chocolate and this year I’ve realized it isn’t so much the substance but the circumstance, and the emotions tied to the need for a drink.
It was trying. Not just because I had made the decision to give up the drink; rather, it was a pretty trying point in my life. There were all sorts of problems – money, love, health, you name it. There were hints of problems in every category, at best. I’ll be honest, I stopped a few days early. Easter was on April 20th and I had my first drink on April 15th. Mind you, I didn’t drink every night until Easter after that point. April 15th was a very special occasion to me, and it deserved a little celebratory drink. I had a couple of other days of drinks in there, but as I had previously mentioned – they were to celebrate birthdays, and other such special occasions.
It’s certainly an exercise that I plan to continue in the future. I think that I rely on external relief far too often, and that is simply not healthy. If I need to deprive myself of something like this, once in a while, to remind myself that I have it in me to get through whatever it is that I’m going through then so be it. At least I have the cohonas to actually do it, right?
What did you give up for Lent?
I can’t believe it has been 12 years since the day that we all call 9/11 happened. I remember being woken up by my boyfriend at the time1, and being slightly upset with him. I was trying to sleep in because I had just flown in the night before from visiting Jackie in L.A. I had been there for three weeks and the flight was almost delayed to the next morning. That very morning when horrible things happened that have affected so many lives in ways we’re probably not even done realizing yet.
He told me to turn on the TV and despite my crankiness, I heard something in his voice that I had never heard to such an extent, so I did. And I swear I held my breath for what seemed like an eternity. I held my breath as if I was making a wish before I blow out a birthday cake. I was praying that it was all some sick joke or publicity stunt. It was ridiculous to wish for, but I just wanted something other than the truth to be that a plane had flown into a very important building in New York City.
All that happened though, was that things got worse. I don’t need to re-tell the story because we all know what happened. And we would continue to hear more stories from people2. We all lost something that day. We all lost a little faith, a little hope, innocence… even when we thought we didn’t have any more of those things to lose. Then we started hearing stories about the heroes; the ones who stood in the face of evil and told it to fuck off. And even though their efforts were in vain, it helped to know that they didn’t go down without a fight.
I have lived a lucky life to only know of such horrible loss from a distance. My heart goes out to those who weren’t so lucky. I will always remember.