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February 22, 2001

Choosing My Religion

I'm not Catholic. I'm not Jewish (though I've been told I could pass -- it's all those Jewish ex-boyfriends, I s'pose). I'm not really anything, though I have things I believe that get me through each day and all of that stuff. Still, I don't go to a building and pray each week. I pray pretty much daily and I usually do that in bed, as I'm falling asleep, and even more while I'm driving. I'm not so much asking for things, when I pray, but really just being thankful for all the wonderful things that make up my life.

But it's almost that time again. Lent. Yup, I'm not Catholic but I always, always give up something for Lent. I figure, I can do without anything for 40 days. I mean, if I can't, then I'm a pretty big wus. And I know I've got will power. Anyone who's lost and gained hundreds of pounds over a dozen or so years knows how to show self control. At least for 40 days.

In 1999, after having lost 37 pounds, selling everything I owned, and moving out here to Los Angeles, I gave up COMPLAINING for Lent. I needed to give that up, let me tell you. I'd been working for a month with this borderline personality business owner who made every day in the office an absolute excuse for suicide (each day, I hoped it'd be hers, not mine) and had found a way to bitch my ass off every day about my psycho ex-roommate, my boss, not getting to eat chocolate, my pseudo-boyfriend's need for phone sex, etc. Complaining had to stop. So I gave it up.

That was a long 40 days. At first, I did a lot of complaining inside my head, which I decided had to stop as well. What's the point of giving something up if you're still thinking it loud and clear inside your head? Imagine, each time you think of complaining about something, anything, shutting yourself up. It kept me quite busy, honestly.

In 2000, I gave up GOSSIPING. I'd been working in a much better office, and only part-time, since I was beginning to earn more money doing freelance web design, pet-sitting, and acting. But my one or two days per week in this office provided me with lots of opportunity to engage in the good old fashioned office chit chat. I guess I appeared non-threatening, since I was hardly ever there, so everyone would tell me every piece of dirt they had on everyone else. I learned a lot. Oh, the temptation! Yeah, I knew what I needed to give up for Lent that year.

So, here it is, another opportunity to rid myself of some behavior. You've noticed I don't give up coffee or chocolate or smoking or drinking or swearing or something more traditional. Not sure why that is, exactly. Maybe because I'm sort of "faking" this Lent thing, not being Catholic and all.

Any suggestions for my 2001 Lenten Luau? Just email 'em to me. Winning suggestion will be, well, given up for Lent and written about in a future column. Woo hoo! Doesn't that sound like fun?

Posted by bonnie at February 22, 2001 2:08 PM