Lenten Ulterior Motives

daily life

“And after all, there is not a young girl who, to have a more slender figure or to save what is needed to buy fine clothes, would not renounce pleasure more gaily than the rest do to observe the precepts of the church.” — Pierre Bayle on Lenten fasting, Various Thoughts on the Occasion of a Comet

I sent this quote to Bruno today with “#savage.” Yes, I’m basically still a teenage girl.

The more things stay the same, the more things stay the same. I am totally guilty of giving up desserts and sugar to lose a few extra pounds — the extra pounds stayed — I’ve never been good at Lenten fasts. For one, I love fish, seafood, vegetarian dishes. I used to get excited around Lenten season every year because of the delicious seafood dishes my mom would make on Fridays. I think I got the opposite impression of Lent as a time of good eating, not necessarily fasting.

Now I usually give up Facebook and Instagram. My social media addiction by spring is rampant, but of course, even this other ends. I mean, it is good for productivity, am I right? And also — general, over-all happiness. But because I think I’ll eventually give up facebook and Instagram, for good, for good someday, I opted this year for something else.

This year I’m giving up alcohol. Strangely enough, this one ended up being in fashion among my fellow Catholic grad students. That Thursday, I went to a friend’s and all of us girls had given up alcohol. But funny enough, as Bayle claimed, we still had different reasons for doing so, mostly having to do with health.

I’m no different. With my struggles with insomnia and anxiety, I have been trying really hard to figure out what can make it better. These 40 days are not just a Lenten fast, but an experiment to see if the anxiety improves sans-booze. It also gives me a built-in excuse to explain why I’m not drinking that doesn’t make me feel like a buzz-kill (“So you see I have intense anxiety and sometimes I can’t sleep at night…”).

Last night was one week. I still feel anxious, but have yet to have a full-fledged panic attack. And I still have had some sleep struggles, but I am hoping these struggles will simmer down as time goes by. So yes, as Bayle says, I’m observing the precepts of the church, but I still have my Lenten ulterior motives.

I’ll cheers my La Croix to that!

xo, Ali