Losing It for Lent

I grew up Catholic. Decades later, I would find a new home in a Baptist church: being among more people of color, particularly younger ones, moved me in a different way. I had the bells, the sermons, the dance ministry, Communion…and Lent.

I have been trying to stick the landing for Lent since grade school. Give up something. Make a sacrifice that could never begin to match that of Jesus’s. Make it big, or make it small, but make it. I know two friends offhand who are scary good at making these commitments. They think on it, find something they freakin’ love—chocolate, liquor, sex, the Internet—and boom, it’s done. Gone till that fateful Sunday. They struggle, it’s not easy—it shouldn’t be—but every year they name something they’re celebrating with post-Lent.

pizzaThey’ve learned not to ask me about my sacrifice, even if I’ve loudly proclaimed it to keep myself honest. This is so, so kind of them, because as with New Year’s resolutions, I usually clock in about 72 hours before I bail out HARD, feasting on whatever will get me through. One year I “gave up” ice cream… I could hear Häagen-Dazs laughing at me within two days. Another year I gave up chocolate… because I don’t like chocolate. I’m pretty ridiculous.

With this in mind, I decided to try a different approach this year. Although not a sacrifice per se, believe me when I say I’m depriving myself of something that I’m used to getting daily, possibly hourly. Something that deeply feeds me. How I wish it were chocolate… Alas…

For Lent, I’ll be silencing my inner critic. All the way—help me, Lord—through Easter. It’s just the Friday after Ash Wednesday but so far, so good. Good, but hard. Harder than ice cream. Harder than Facebook (no really), harder than DVR. Harder than sex by a mile (shut up!).

Now, I know we all have moments of doubt, or have sh*tty days, are maybe having a quarter-life crisis where we’re contemplating saying eff it & joining the Peace Corps. My critic? Is a BEAST. A monster, in the most unchill sense of the word. Like last week: spur of the moment, I experimented and decided for one full day I would “think positively” (which my inner critic noted with supreme sarcasm; what kinda hippie was I trying to be?).

The result was pretty gruesome. I woke up and thought it was too early to be up & I needed a few more hours. Not a snooze button: I needed hours. Damn, did I have to go out? The weather was a mess (if I’m honest, I can find cracks in the weather index at the height of spring). My shower takes too long to heat up. I hate the painting on my wall; it’s cheap and looks cheaper. Was I hungry? Why wasn’t I hungry? I can never find my shoes and this is somehow symptomatic of my life to date. And on. I better not slip on these stairs; everyone knows how klutzy I am. Ugh, this dude on the corner is a disaster. Is his life as awful as mine? Let me do a visual inventory to compare. Nope, he’s talking to a girlfriend; points off for me, single on Valentine’s.

Continue reading “Losing It for Lent”

Little Bundles

You  know how even back in high school, there were those kids (usually girls) who were all “I looooove working with kids!” I learned to parrot them on tutoring and babysitting interviews, even though I didn’t get kids, didn’t think much about them, and certainly preferred not to be in their presence. They stayed dirty, their hygiene was disgusting, they were unpredictable and mostly, they disrupted my reading.

Fast forward many years later: I’ve seen my friends expecting and raising their children. I’ve seen babies now strutting through their first day of high school, I’ve conquered my (deep) fear of dropping newborns, and I gotta admit: they’re a hoot. Not *just* a hoot–those tantrums can shake one’s soul, and I’ve got insta-prayers ready for parents dragging young ones along, that look of “I’m thisclose” in their eyes. Hang on, I think. Haaaang on. Kids don’t stay clean. You’ve gotta keep them well. Your head’s constantly going 180 degrees to keep ’em safe, and if you’re sneaking in a chapter of a good book… you’re in the bathroom, I presume.

But children? Are a good thing. You can love ’em up with hugs and kisses, and they’re constantly looking for laps to climb onto. If you’re handed a picture book you better read it with gusto. No one wants a look of disappointment from a four year old, trust me. And with age comes patience: as a seasoned auntie, I can now listen to a kid chat (or drone, depending on my mood) about who said what and what they drew and where are my kids and do I swim and why is my hair so big and how they don’t like chicken.

Why this post? Eh, recent events, and a humorous bus ride with a small girl nodding off on my shoulder. Let’s enjoy our kids, and look out for them as a community, and ugh, keep sanitizer on hand. (Cause they’re still kinda gross. But awesome.)

Brothers Arm in Arm

And then, the moratorium as I switch to chai…

I swear, something bad doesn’t go down every time I buy coffee. It just seems that way. No, actually, something jacked does happen to me at least 50% of the time, but I’d guess that’s average, no? Anyway, I wanted to mention a very normal, enjoyable visit I had at DD just on Monday. The employees were friendly, professional, and quick to help. I sent their regional office a note about them on the Dunkin’ Donuts site–I’m quick to write up a bad experience, so it’s only fair I do the same for a good one. But…

BUT…I feel it’s only fair to mention what happened the last time I was at this DD. It was winter, and I was on my way to a local big-box store. I was drinking lattes back then and as it was around 8 am, I truly needed a huge cup of flavored, milky meth to get me through the morning. I got there and realized half my neighborhood had the same idea. I queued up behind the 10th or 11th person–all of us wearing hats, scarves, and heavy goose down jackets–and tried to look alert as the person up front ordered cheese on a cheeseless sandwich, sugar on a sugarless donut, and other time-consuming, self-indulging BS.Things got curious when a very thin white guy, dressed poorly for the weather in holey jeans and a thin windbreaker, peeked his uncombed head through the back entrance, then suddenly jumped out again. As opening the front or back doors let in Arctic-level gales that caused everyone on line to gasp and turn, most costumers tried to minimize their entrances/exits.

Apparently no one had sent any sort of winter etiquette leaflet to this man, nor to his girlfriend. Also dressed more for spring than winter–capri pants, denim jacket and inexplicably, a Jamaican-style beret–she slipped in as he squeezed out. She stood against the wall, rubbing her nose enthusiastically, occasionally nibbling at her thumb. She didn’t look at the menu; she seemed more interested in the coffee makers, or possibly the birthday cake refrigerator.