As a practicing Cathodist (that’s a Catholic/Methodist mix for those of you who aren’t hip and caught up with what the kids are saying these days) I’ve participated in Lent for a solid 23 years now. I’ve given up everything from chocolate to sweets in general, from carbonated beverages to alcohol. Then there was Lent 2005, when I said I was going to give up my cell phone for 40 days and 40 nights. That turned out to be a complete joke.
As a teenager, it was a lot easier to stick with the sacrifices I made because my mom was there to keep me on the wagon. If I gave up something, she wouldn’t buy it, she wouldn’t stock it in the pantry, and she wouldn’t order it at a restaurant in front of me. (If I ever need to go to rehab, I would definitely choose my mom to take care of me.) When Easter Sunday finally rolled around, I would wake up to an abundance of my sacrifice and be on a caffeine or sugar high the rest of the day.
However, I am an adult now, and I do what I want. My mom is a 13 hour drive away from me, I’m not married, and I have no one to make sure I stick with it. I live in the adult world where I can have ice cream for breakfast if I want. Why give up alcohol for Lent when I have a fully functional ID in my wallet? If I give up carbonated beverages, will I even make it through my day alive? It is incredibly easy to slip up and suffer zero consequences–except maybe that of eternal damnation.
As an adult, I have to really look at myself and see what it is that I truly indulge in, which is a struggle within itself considering I’m poor as shit. All I really do is stare at my computer screen and cell phone all day, and when I do finally get to live the life I prefer, I’m too drunk to remember it. If you think I’m capable of giving up the only joys in my life, you thought wrong (even if you and I both know that’s the entire point).
This year for Lent, I’m giving up all carbonated beverages, except Dr. Pepper, because I drink that with Fireball. Being “indulgent” is an understatement when it comes to my love for anything fizzy and caffeinated, and I suspect that I can hold my own for about a week before I really start to question if “just a sip” would really be that bad. By week three, I’ll be ordering Fireball and Dr. Peppers “easy on the Fireball.” Before the month is over, I’ll have lost all self-control and be slumped over in the corner drinking Coke straight from a two-liter and screaming, “Don’t look at me!” between pulls.
The pressure is overwhelming. I can’t deal. And I will break.
I try to convince myself that I’ll be healthier, that I’ll lose weight, that I’ll be able to wear a crop top to the Miley Cyrus concert next month. I tell myself that I am a strong, independent black woman who don’t need no Coke. I tell myself anything I have to because there are still 39 more days left of Lent, and I’m already feeling how real the struggle truly is.
We have to depend on each other, you guys. That’s the only way we’ll make it through as the quasi-adults we are. So, in the meantime, could you pass the Fireball? Thanks.