Today’s post was written by my “sister from another mister” Jeanette. I loved her idea of giving up something for Lent without the religious connotation that evokes. I am so honored that she agreed to write this and love what she has to say…always! I hope that you get as much from this as I did.
You’d have to live in a hole somewhere (and if that’s your thing, cool) to not know that its Mardis Gras time! Yesterday was FAT Tuesday and today marks the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Now if you are a religious person, you probably know these things well. If you aren’t, you’ve likely heard friends, neighbors or coworkers talking about what they are “giving up” for Lent.
While I was raised in the church, I’m not a religious person. I live a wholly secular life, but I work at a Catholic university and I have friends both real and facebooked that practice Lent either because they are religious or because “it’s the thing to do.” And so I am exposed to the concepts of Lent and all that it entails. The concept is fairly simple. Its representative of a 40 day fast, common in most world religions and the modern practice is to give up something you might consider a “luxury” or something you will actively miss during these 40 days. Some people give up sweets or soda, some use it as an opportunity to give up a “bad” habit, others remove food groups (primarily meat) from their regular eating habits. When we were kids, we’d joke about giving up school for Lent and I still have friends who make mocking comments about something they’ll give up for Lent even though they have no intention of doing so. What is frequently missed in the practice of Lent in our modern world is that it is not only a time for fasting (justice for self), but also a time for contemplation (prayer) and social justice (alms giving).
I’ve put a lot of thought into Lent this year. While I’m not a religious person, I’ve decided to invoke the practice of Lent to give up the people in my life who don’t deserve me. Harsh, right? Well, to put this another way, I am no longer going to allow those who steal my energy without replacing it, to impact; influence; or otherwise insinuate themselves into my life. I’m a nice person, sometimes too nice. I know right now some of you are saying, “uh, really?” Ok, so I’m direct and honest, and I don’t mince words. If I’m thinking it, you will likely know it and often that comes across in a way that might feel harsh or uncaring. But it’s because I care that I’m that way. Those people who blow smoke up your beehive aren’t doing you any favors!! But I also follow that directness up with thoughtfulness, caring, and love. If I’m harsh with you, I’m usually equally as caring and supportive. Like most people however, I don’t treat myself the same way. While I would tell you to eighty-six the guy in your life who treats you like a revolving door or to audios a judgmentally tactless friend, I don’t often do the same for myself. But after a lot of contemplation, I’m gonna be working on changing that.
Here’s the line: If you take from me without somehow filling me back up, you are outta here! I will no longer stand for the 30 minutes or less guy (that’s right you know what I’m saying); the “I love you, but …” person; the “you’d be healthy if you lost weight” commentator; the friend who spends the entire day texting me about their life problems, work and family issues without even a cursory “how are you?”; the “I’ll only be in touch with you when I need your attention and no one else is available” individual; the “oh you are so good at ___ could you help me out just this once” repeat offender; the make promises I didn’t ask for breaker; and the interminable “I can’t make a single effing decision on my own so I’ll ask for your advice over and over, never really listen and then complain to you at length when I’m unhappy with the decision I finally made” vacillator. Take notice people (you know who you are). You have 40 days. Ample time to decide if you care or you don’t. If what you’ve taken from me deserves replenishing. Cause once Easter rolls around, I’m all about my rebirth as a person who seeks out “energy sharers” not “energy zappers.”
Our personal energy–that which we share with others is precious dudes! And I think too many of us, especially those who have been made in some way to feel “less than” either because of size, socio-economic status, history of abuse, whatever…are far too eager to give it away in order to be “liked” or “accepted” or OMGenius even “loved.” Fuck that! That ain’t love dude!! It’s not true acceptance if it’s not reciprocated. And I don’t mean immediate reciprocation (all the time). But at some point in the relationship with pretty much everyone in your life, you deserve to feel like you matter, REALLY MATTER (over and over again)!! Like that other person: friend (old or new), man/woman in your life, coworker, boss, doctor, grocery delivery dude, guy/gal in the club – gets your value, your worth and doesn’t take it for granted. And sitting around at home waiting for the phone to ring, hoping someone might text, agreeing when you really don’t, continually giving of yourself over and over while someone else takes advantage is not gonna show anyone how much sparkle you got!! And although I might not even know you, I know you got sparkle. We all do!! Damn I sparkle so hard sometimes I might just put out an eye! And that’s the way it should be. We gotta stop letting people remain in our lives who drain us of our energy and sparkle. First, they don’t deserve us; 2, they usually don’t even know it or care; and B, save that sparkle for those who do. And that is YOU and those who see, accept, and love you for who you really are; believe in you; fulfill you; keep promises with you; share in and encourage your hopes and dreams no matter how wacky they might be, and walk beside you on this crazy path of life!