Today is the first day of Lent - also known as Ash Wednesday - which is exciting for two reasons: I am just a little over a month from my baptism, and I am fully participating with the rest of the Catholic community in all things Holy! Today I am fasting - which means I'll eat two small meals not equal to one meal and then one non-meat meal. So far (and it's just past lunch time) this has been a good perspective building practice for me. At anytime that I am hungry - whether legitimate hunger or simply a craving - I can get something to eat, usually whatever it is that I am craving; I can just go, get it, and eat it. No problem. That is not the case for a whole lot of the population - whether here in Boston or across the planet in Africa, and the hunger pangs that I think I am having because my co-worker mentioned pizza are surely nothing in comparison to the immense amount of suffering that is taking place at all times in the world, or when Jesus was hung on the cross. Nails through the hands vs. my peanut butter and jelly sandwich to last me until dinner - yeah, no comparison. It's inspiring to think of things that are bigger than myself, and this is definitely one of those times.
It has become a common practice in America to give something up for Lent - often this is in the form of certain foods, cussing, drinking and other activities that may seem a little low on the morality scale - but the point is to practice Penance - to give something up that we enjoy in lieu of reflecting on ourselves and our decisions. For the duration of Lent (the next 40 days) I am giving up rushing past life - I am going to slow myself down and allow myself to live in the moment and reflect, pray, and enjoy all that I am blessed with. Hopefully after 40 days I will get really good at this, and I can make it a habit.
In other going-ons in life, Matty and I are leaving for Reno two weeks from Saturday. This is something that I am really looking forward to, but has also been a great source of stress and anxiety for me. It is very, very hard to explain, and I don't even know if I fully understand the reasoning. It has to do with the duality of my life - this whole life that I had and lived (Reno), that no one in this life (Boston) has really seen proof of, aside from me. It's like knowing the story of Cinderella but only knowing her; never seeing the slipper, the carriage, the castle, the ugly step-sisters, none of it. As in having your only proof that the whole fairy tale even happened be her. I'm not completely comparing my life to Cinderella's (my step-sister is quite cute, and my castle is quite double-wide) but no one here has ever seen my backdrop - including the man that I am going to spend the rest of my life with. I am not at all worried about how Matty will react to seeing these things - it's just so weird to me that he hasn't. Not to mention the life that I left behind in Reno, and all of the people who know me but don't know Matty, or any of the other things that are now a permanent part of me - Boston, my career, my friends, my volunteering. It's like "hi life, meet my life, you guys should get along just splendidly". As per my modus operandi I am totally over thinking and over analyzing it all, and I really can't do it justice by trying to explain it - but suffice to say, it's just making me think-y. I am, however, super excited to hug my Mom and Dad and eat the fuck out of some Del Taco and In & Out, among other things.
In addition to over thinking being in Reno, I am putting a lot of thought into my relationship with my Mom and the feelings that I have been carrying since her visit to Boston last Spring (which is also the last time I have seen her). I feel guilty that I have been harboring bad feelings and allowing my emotions to fester and breed, turning them into something that is completely unnecessary and due mostly to my inability to communicate what I need from my Mom. Our relationship will never be perfect, or without some points of conflict, but I am incredibly lucky to have the close relationship that I do with her, and I would benefit much more from focusing on all of the positive aspects than on the few negatives. Sometimes I think that half of the reason my Mom and I have these negative attributes to our relationship is because of our closeness, not despite it, and that perhaps all the negative attributes are just a little misunderstanding or miscommunication on our part.
It was me and my Mom against the world when I was growing up because that was the only way for us to survive, but now that this is not necessary, it's hard for us to alter the way that we have always done things. I am totally confident in my Mom's love for me, and her desire for me to be as happy and successful in life as I possibly can, and that I may be able to accomplish these things much more independent of her than I used to speaks nothing at all against her ability to be an amazing mother, it speaks more to it; it is because of this ability that I am this woman. I don't know where I will end up geographically or financially, I don't know if I will get my Ph D or how many kids Matty and I will end up having, but I do know that I have my Mom's love and blessings just as ferociously as she has mine, and that is all that matters in the end.
I'm going to go drink some water and think about how fucking lucky I am (I didn't give up cussing for Lent like some overachievers!)