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Giving Up on Lent

Religious preference is not something I often broach in this space. I want this blog to be lighthearted and fun to read, meaning that the topics of religion, politics, and dissing other people’s children (and thus the parenting skills of the diss-ees) must remain undiscussed. I have never had the urge to pen a polemic.

However, today marks the beginning of Lent, a season that (given my unnamed denominational upbringing) I thought was spelled L-i-n-t for much of my life and referred to the particles I got out of the dryer. The concept of going without something for forty days and forty nights was lost on me.

Maybe that’s because I went without a lot of the things everyone gives up for Lent during my formative years. I’m not bitter about any of it, and I’m not questioning anyone’s parenting skills on my blog. (Just putting that out there for re-iteration.) My parents did the best they could for me, and I know they both love me very much. I love them, too, very much.

Still, here’s a short list of the things I went without as a kid:

  • Rock music – This was defined as anything secular, but especially 1970’s rock-and-roll up to present time. I guess country music wasn’t secular, because my Dad listened to it on the radio. In his defense, he tried to do it when we weren’t in the car, something for which I was grateful.
  • Pants – I was not allowed to wear pants to school from 3rd grade to graduation, and the dresses and skirts I donned had to be knee-length or longer. Yes, even my cheerleading uniform. Oh, and we couldn’t turn cart wheels or anything like that in our uniforms, lest we reveal our bloomers and cause lustful thoughts. That rule was a good thing for me, because I couldn’t turn a somersault, much less a cart wheel.
  • Split skirts – I took physical education in a split skirt. For FIVE YEARS, I had to wear that disastrous piece of fashion. I hope no one was offended when I skipped the culotte craze when it resurfaced several years ago. Ick.
  • Movies – NO MOVIES. EVER. I never even saw a G-rated movie at the theater growing up. It was considered a bad testimony to go to a movie theater to see “Pinocchio,” because someone might see my Mom there with my five-year-old self and think, God forbid, she was taking me to see “Midnight Cowboy.”
  • Bathing suits – I had to swim in my clothes. No bathing suits. (See comment above on lustful thoughts.) I guess no lustful thoughts were ever caused by wet t-shirts.

I could go on, but I hope you get the idea, Dear Reader. So, I’m not giving anything up for Lent. I think I will see one movie per week during the entire forty-day-span, play my ’80s hair-band iPod tracks every day, overspend on a new hat and debut it for Easter at my Lent-observing church.

I’m typing away to Def Leppard‘s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” right now. *Smile*

Too Much is Just Enough: Giving up on giving up

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lou Mello #

    Wow! You really were deprived as a child. So the real question now is how wild were you when you finally escaped into the real world? Did you know you were missing out on all those crazy things when you were a kid?

    I would love to see a blog post on what the young adult Andra did the first 5 years out on her own.

    The good news is that you turned out all right and seem to the untrained eye a fairly normal person….(OK, whatever your version of normal is).

    March 9, 2011
    • Actually, Lou, that would be a boring story. I got married very young and ended up doing all the things good Southern women are supposed to do, except spawning a babe. So, no crazy blowout time. :)

      March 9, 2011
  2. Since I’ve been doing Meatless Mondays, I thought about giving up meat for Lent, but remembered that I’m going to a conference in April where they serve some of the best BBQ ever, so nix on that.

    You got me thinking of those gym uniforms with the bloomers that I had to wear in grade school. Good times.

    March 9, 2011
    • What did your gym uniform look like? Ours was vile.

      Are you giving up anything for Lent?

      March 9, 2011
      • It was a dark blue uni that looked like a short sleeved oxford shirt on top with a belt and bloomer like shorts on the bottom. Hated it.

        Giving up nothing for Lent. Should have buckled down and done the meat thing.

        March 9, 2011
  3. My mother was a non practicing Roman Catholic and I don’t think my dad ever stepped foot into a church for as long as I can remember. My parents had an open door policy with regards to religion. They told me that I could practice whatever religion I chose to practice. I think that included leaving them out of it. My mother was of European decent and my dad was a drill instructor for 26 years which meant that my sister and I were raised in a boot camp for most of our formative years. My parents had a rule that stated that children were seen and not heard. Needless to say, I was rebellious about everything. My mother sat me down with the family bible one day and drew a Y on a piece of paper. She told me that if I was good, did what my parents told me without question, made good grades, and did not do bad things then I would go to heaven. If I chose to go down the wrong path of that Y then I would do bad things, be stupid and rebellious and wind up in hell. I guess I figured I was already in hell so I acted up no matter what kind of beating I received for it. Needless to say, I found out that God does love me and he is not determined to send me to hell because I am not perfect. I am thankful that God has healed me from a lot of the pain and suffering I went through as a child. I am thankful that my relationship with God has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with having a relationship with him.

    March 9, 2011
  4. Funny how one little comment made, even as a minor note in a blog, can bring back memories. I too had a misconception of a spelling. My middle name is Ann but for the first 7 years of my life I thought everyone was saying AND. I don’t know how I even got that far in years without someone realizing my misunderstanding. Surely I must of wrote my name or said it out loud incorrectly a thousand times before they finally caught it. Since then it has been a source of much laughter as my parents share this tale to all new comers at family events.

    March 9, 2011
    • That is excellent, Sharon. Sharon And. I think And would make a compelling middle name. It is a nice link between first and last.

      March 9, 2011
      • Too bout to it my initials spelled SAD….hows that!

        March 9, 2011
      • But, you seem to be happy in your postings, so I will call it an oxymoron. :) And, that is unique and interesting.

        March 9, 2011
  5. No rock music? Too Much Is Not Enough!

    March 9, 2011
    • I did sneak and listen to it, Bill. And go to the movies. But that was pretty much it.

      March 9, 2011
  6. I love that Bill found Deep Purple, Too Much is Not Enough!

    One of my issues with most strict forms of anything, is that there is very little trust that the individual who is trying to be controlled will find essence in the teaching, that is trying to control.

    My mother was/is fairly traditionally Christian, but when she let me fly to Colorado when I was in the 11th grade to see a boy, some of her friends thought she had lost her mind. She told them, “What can she do there that she can’t do here?” Mama always understood that I have free will and that my choices cannot be completely restricted/corralled or controlled. So, she gave us lots in teachings, input and examples when we were very young, told us why she believed, thought things the way that she did and told us what she expected. Then it was up to each of us to decide how to respond/act.

    Personally, I made my own choices, however, I did feel guilt about some of them. When I got to be in my ’30s, I went through each and everything I’d been taught, deciding what was sensible to me.

    The book I’m reading now really is amazing on these topics. Irwin Kula’s “Yearnings, Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life.” He is a Rabbi who has studied many religions and explains the essential yearnings of the human soul and how to find within yourself and your faith, the answers you need to have balance. Awesome book.

    March 9, 2011
    • That’s the essence of the problem I always had, Cheryl. I guess I knew that I would not start watching porn because I went to the movies and et cetera. I knew I wouldn’t lose my sense of self if I traveled.

      March 9, 2011
  7. mtm #

    From my upbringing, one would choose to give up something that gave one pleasure, that made one feel worldly, or provided sensory experience that was simply too good to be good for you….or a habit that caused you to spend time doing something that gave all of the above….hmm….maybe I need to give up reading your blog for Lent!

    March 9, 2011
    • From the traditional (religious) practice, the “giving up” is supposed to be helpful to remember our preparation for Easter. So when we wanted chocolate, we remembered why we gave it up, remembered the teachings about what Christ was about to give up, and therefore keep us mindful of sacrifice, and salvation.

      March 9, 2011
      • I think it is drawn from Christ’s own fasting and praying for 40 days and 40 nights. Somehow, giving up chocolate or coffee or wine pales in comparison to that when I think about it, at least to me.

        March 9, 2011
      • Yes, you are precisely correct, which is what I meant by preparation for Easter…however, you were on the money so to speak.

        March 9, 2011
    • No, no one needs to give up reading my blog for Lent. In fact, they should use the time they gain from giving up something to read it more. :)

      March 9, 2011
  8. Sorry, I got distracted by the wet t-shirt link. You did that on purpose, didn’t you?!

    I was never much for lent myself, even though I was raised in the church you are now attending. My basic thought about forced deprivation is that it just leads to over-indulgence at other times, ie Mardi Gras.

    Not that there is anything wrong with Mardi Gras mind you. You would never catch this Louisiana born boy insinuating TNT. No way.

    And besides, maybe your mom was just trying to protect you. She could probably tell from an early age that you were going to become an Accidental Cootchie Mama.

    March 9, 2011
    • I know that parents would usually do anything to protect their children. However, this went further. I had to sign a standard of conduct stating that I would not engage in any forbidden behavior, 24 – 7.

      I always enjoy it when Marshall tells stories that are real, like how his mom has to drink red wine for her heart condition and how mortified she was about it.

      March 9, 2011

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  1. Navel | What I Wanted to Say…
  2. Lent 2011: Are you ready for it? « An American Point of View

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