For Lent, I’m Giving Up Lent.
I think I’ll make Fat Tuesday an entire week and then skip the giving up of anything I enjoy for 40 days. I’ll see everyone on the flip side of that!
It’s not because I lack the willpower to go without something I love and enjoy for 40 days. I wasn’t raised Catholic, I was raised Mormon. And let me just say, it’s as if the LDS leadership got together back in the day and said, “hey, if those Catholics are proving how faithful and awesome they are by going without for 40 days, imagine how much more awesomer we’ll be by going without for our entire fucking lives!” Except replace “fucking” with “flipping”, ‘cuz we even go without swearing.
So…yeah. I was in a state of perpetual Lent for 36 years. No drinking, no smoking, no sex (except with appropriate marital partner!), no porn, no R rated movies, no swearing…I know what it takes to do without. To lean on God. To sacrifice for a higher idea/spiritual experience. To put off today for an idea of getting something more and maybe better later. Although now that I’ve had whiskey, I don’t know how much better it can get. So even though everything I’ve done since leaving my religion has put me squarely outside of a heavenly sphere I think I’m OK with that. I don’t want to go anywhere that Bourbon isn’t flowing freely like a fountain of fucking awesome.
I don’t mind if other people are religious. I was religiously religious for a long time! But I woke up one morning and realized that even if Heaven had candy trees, all you can eat chocolate dessert buffets every night, the ability to fly & breathe underwater, and nothing but peace and happiness for eternity…it still wouldn’t make up for spending my entire life miserable. And I was. Miserable. So fucking miserable. Probably because I couldn’t say the word fuck when I was fucking unhappy. I couldn’t say certain words to express myself. I couldn’t have some wine to take the pressure off for a few hours. I couldn’t unwind at certain movies. That’s not what drove my unhappiness, but it sure didn’t help. I mean, how was I supposed to know that I do my best cleaning after a whiskey & coke? Or that movies with outrageously inappropriate sexual innuendo would make me laugh so hard? Or that I’m much nicer after 5:30 pm if I’ve had a glass of wine? All these things make my life so much better!
My unhappiness came from not feeling like I could be myself without judgement. Because all those things that I couldn’t do…that God definitely didn’t like? I fucking loved them! Or, I would have, but I felt so badly about it that I never did any of it. I was told that was wrong wrong wrong. It was a quick leap between those things being wrong and ME being wrong wrong wrong for potentially liking them so much.
When I left my childhood faith, my life order switched quickly. Instead of sacrificing “now” in favor of a long term “heaven”, I’m kind of blowing off heaven in favor of an immediate now. Some in my family and friend circles are appalled, I know. You know in the bible when it says that the sinners say “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”…I don’t see what’s wrong with that. This makes me a sinner in their eyes, I guess. An outcast. But I’ve never felt more connected, more non judgemental, more compassionate, or more profoundly grateful. If now is all I’ve got, then it’s a valuable commodity. Life is rare and precious when it’s taken out of context of something even better coming on down the line at a later date. Without something better, then I feel really responsible to help make the moments I have count.
I still talk to God…it’s hard to stop praying if you’ve been taught to do it since birth. But instead of doing it out of fear and obligation, I do it to shoot the shit. I do it meaningfully, less like a prayer and more like those heartfelt talks that only seem to happen at dive bars at 3 am.
So, anyway, all that to say that my lifetime of Lent makes me exempt from any more time spent giving up something that makes me happy now. It means I don’t have extreme binges like Fat Tuesday, or an obsession with getting the next 40 days over with so I can do cool shit again. Instead, I remain content in the moment, neither wishing for it to go faster or slower.
I guess, in solidarity, I’ll do more drinking this week of my fat tuesday. And for the next month I’ll give up self loathing, shame, and guilt. How’s that? Anyone else on board?Share Tweet