Goodbye to You (but not for long…)

As I write this, I am between class and homework and studying on Ash Wednesday. This evening at 5 pm I am going to Mass to get my ashes with Mads. I love that I have such easy access to a Catholic Church, and thankfully, my Sunday schedule now allows me to make it to Mass every week.

Most of the time, I go by myself, and to be honest, I think I like it much more than going with friends. When I am with other people, I sometimes get distracted from what I am supposed to be focusing on. When I go alone, it gives me ample time to be in tune with my thoughts, and it reminds me of the person I am trying to be. It is a chance for me to really pray for the people in my life and to talk to God about whatever is on my mind.

Usually being alone with my thoughts leads to negative things. The Bad Thoughts just love to infiltrate my walls when I am quietly reflecting on my life. Fortunately, while I am in church, I can stay focused on the good things: my friends, my family, my successes. I can also ask for guidance about my losses and failures without it really getting into my head and letting my anxiety take over.

It’s freeing.

But Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the Lenten season, which means fasting and giving up things. Typically, I try to give something up and then totally fail. I also accidentally eat meat at least one Friday on Lent. I beat myself up about it for the rest of the year, even though Lent only lasts a few weeks. Last year, against my better judgment, I gave up chocolate. I cherished those Sunday cheat days.

This year, especially since I have been going to Mass weekly, I have decided that this will be the year that I make it all the way through without messing things up. However, this year is also the year that I decided to be a little ambitious with my fasting.

I am giving up chocolate and donuts.

I know, I already and beating myself up about it. But my sweet tooth gets the better of me so often that I really need to let up. Lent is the perfect time for me to cut back from my “Treat Yourself” philosophy. Because I have been treating myself far too often.

Like this professor just set up a table full of pizza right next to my table. “Free pizza!” might be my favorite two words. But I have been madly craving pizza, and I haven’t eaten any in quite a while. I took a small piece though because I am supposed to be fasting today.

This might be more of just a pep talk to myself about why it was okay to accept some free sort of cold pizza. I was hungry, okay!

But back to the chocolate and donuts: I think this will be really good for me! Whenever I want chocolate or my mouth waters at SloDoCo’s snapchats and instagrams, it will only motivate me to not give into temptation. We all know food is the biggest temptation for me.

Now you might be thinking: Ashley, this really is not good for your recovery! I have also thought this, and I both agree and disagree. Ignoring my cravings was (and still is) an issue for me, so I am doing my best to conquer my fear foods. However, I am not giving up all sweets or food I need to survive–that would be crazy! And quite frankly, I do not think I could do it, especially the survival foods part, for obvious reasons.

I am not giving up food, and I am still adamant on recovering. I have not put myself through this rollercoaster to give it all up at the snap of a finger. Of course, I will eat when I am hungry, and of course, I will eat what my body needs. But chocolate and donuts (as much as it pains me to say) are not vital to life. My life yes, but don’t talk about it.

All this means is I get to fill the void with ice cream and peanut butter! Just kidding, that totally defeats the purpose of Lent. I am giving these things up because I rely on them. A mini Snickers after dinner is common for me. Doffle (that is a waffle and a donut combined–I know, heaven is real) Tuesday and Thursdays are a staple. No, I don’t get them every Tuesday and Thursday, what kind of person do you think I am?? I do think about it, but I have successfully resisted that urge for the last two weeks. It is because I love these things so much that I need to be able to live without them.

Not eating chocolate or donuts for a few weeks won’t kill me. In fact, it will be so good for me. I can focus on countless other things that are actually important. Like my grades and studying abroad and writing. And since I have been needing to recharge from being extraverted more often than I would like to be, this will give me the opportunity to focus on rebuilding my mental stability and health as well.

So chocolate and donuts, I will miss you dearly these next few weeks, but it does not mean I don’t love you. I do love you. And I will miss you so much.

Okay, I swear I am not crazy, I just love food again and that is huge for me. Now my Lingustics midterm study guide is calling my name, and that is a call I must answer.

Eat lots of donuts for me.

-Ash

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