Gave Up Giving Up For Lent

by Bill Brenner on February 23, 2012

Here we are starting another season of Lent, where Catholics the world over give up something they like for 40 days in an effort to honor the sacrifice Jesus made for everyone. Sean has given up the computer. Erin is TV-free. Duncan put aside the chocolate.

Mood music:

What have I given up? Nothing.

It’s not for lack of faith or gratitude. It’s not even the move of a curmudgeon who doesn’t like to follow the rules. It’s just that I’ve given up everything already.

I no longer smoke.

I no longer drink.

I don’t eat flour or sugar, which means I don’t eat candy.

As for giving up coffee, my family won’t let me. They fear the monster I would become (not that I’d ever give up coffee anyway).

Instead, I’m going to try and build something: My communication skills.

You might be thinking that’s ridiculous. I communicate in this blog all the time, after all. I’ve told you about every skeleton in my closet.

The thing is, for all my ability with the written word, I suck at face-to-face communication, especially when my mind is in a depressed fog. The folks who suffer the most for this are those closest to me.

I’ve tried hard to demolish the wall I hide behind when my mind isn’t right. But whenever I think I’ve made progress, shit happens and I find it’s taller and thicker than ever.

Far as I can tell, I do make progress, but then I take my eye off the wrecking ball and the wall rebuilds itself when I’m busy internalizing everything.

For all the sharing I do in this blog, sometimes it’s still ridiculously hard to open up to those closest to me.  One reason is that I’m still a selfish bastard sometimes. I get so wrapped up in my work and feelings that it becomes almost impossible to see someone else’s side of things.

I also don’t like to be in a situation where there’s yelling. There was plenty of that growing up, and I tend to avoid arguments with loved ones at all costs. Putting up a wall can be a bitch for any relationship, because sooner or later bad feelings will race at that wall like a drunk behind the wheel of a Porsche and slam right into it. Some bricks in the wall crack and come loose, but by then it can be too late. Relationships are totaled.

I’m starting to believe this is a chronic condition hardened by my early history. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit here and accept it.

Working on that communication is like building a better wrecking ball to smash the wall with. It’s a goal worthy of Lent, methinks.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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