Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent, that annual bash where all the Catholic girls give up something for forty days then celebrate by stealing candy from Easter baskets. As a child I gave up things like chocolate, nail polish and soda. Never again will I give up nail polish. As I got older, I decided on actions instead of things–one year I even gave up yelling at The Chickens. I have bite marks in my tongue to prove it.
I’ve given up gossip, conflict, shopping, all manner of behaviors, in hopes of becoming a better person through recognizing the suffering of Jesus. Although the Big Guy never worried about Manolos on sale. We all suffer in our own particular ways, non?
This year, I’m banishing the voice in my head. Surprisingly, it’s not the words that spill from my mouth but the inner conversation I wish to eliminate. Recent self talk is far from kind. Sometimes the inner voice is a hoot and I enjoy her private quips but for the last couple of months her inward snark is just bitchy.
Whens she says, “Talk to me and die,” to the guy approaching me while pumping gas, we both get a little chuckle. But when she just as easily says, “Pretty soon, they’ll see you’re a fake,” as things pile up at work, it’s time to tame the beast.
The Norwegian said more than once, “It’s pretty dark in there isn’t it?” referring to my inner conversation. The man had no idea. Especially when I did the dishes and he sat on the couch watching the game without me.
I’ve been tracking moments when the inner diva is less than sweet natured.
“You really are starting to look old.” On a recent birthday. Thanks bitch.
“Why do you keep writing? Just concentrate on your job.”
“She is so much more interesting than you. You just aren’t that much fun.”
“You’re actually really lazy. Got to work and watch Netflix. Get a life.”
“You’ll be alone forever.”
The more we acknowledge inner voices, the quieter the outer ones become. The less we defend ourselves, the less we speak up for others. Thoughts and dreams wither. Confidence fades. Frustration grows. Tears fall. The circle spins and we begin believing the negative. If a loved one repeated such thoughts, our hearts would break. But we put up with it if it’s our inside. The things we tell no one. Our dirty little secrets.
Forty days and forty nights will find this girl putting a stop to it. Come with me. Do not allow your own mind to beat you up. You are too precious and special and have so much to give. Isn’t that the message from that Sweet Baby Jesus in the first place?
Happy Lenten Journey to all the Catholic chicks. Shout out to all the other dolls–forty days of being kind to yourself never hurt a girl.