Everybody is yammering about Lent, and, being a Recovered Homeschooler, it is against my religion to miss out on anything that everybody is doing, so I am here to yammer about Lent as well. Last year, for Lent, a day or two after it started when I finally realized what Everybody was yammering about, I decided to give up alcohol, which went great for 4-5 days until I began rationalizing that wine isn't the same as other alcohols because it's Biblical, and started the slippery decent into wanton abandonment of self-deprivation.
This year, rather than kidding myself about giving something that I may or may not be addicted to up, I find myself forced into yielding another layer of self-image that I have fought so fiercely since I was 15 years old to establish and maintain. This lent, I sit on my ever widening rear end and I release the adamant insistence that I am Peter Pan. At least physically. I will somehow come to terms with the Peter Pan in my soul that my nursemaid nana exterior can't keep up with, and I will accept the limitations that years of abuse and neglect have put on my body. Since the lat surgery, and the accident, I have gone progressively downhill and can't muster up the gumption to take painkillers and push through. Probably because taking painkillers and pushing through in the past has taken a higher toll than I could see through my Peter Pan eyes. Suddenly I realize that if I do not heal properly, this level of immobilization could become lifelong and permanent. I am terrified of being always in this state of pain and exhaustion. And so I relinquish, this Lent, my need to be tough. My need to be be there for every drama practice, every minute of work, all of the places that I believe I am needed. Somehow I will overcome the panic I feel of missing out, and letting people down, and being forgotten when I cannot carry my share of the burden. That's the real thing. Peter Pan's greatest fear. To be forgotten. To have the nursery window closed because he was away for too long and there is no place for him. Or for Tiggger to find out that he is not the only one and that his bounce has turned into more of a geriatric wobble. Growing old is hard, especially when denial has compromised your ability to heal, and your ever youthful mind is up against a body that has been taken advantage of. I know that I will get better. And I also know that by then, I won't be forgotten and not very window will be closed. But letting go of the burning NEED to be ever present in the lives of as many people as I can is as hard to give up as wine. Almost.
I struggle with immense guilt for not being at work. Not cleaning my house and proving myself useful. To the extent that I asked the doctor for a note, excusing me from school, errr, work, and I tried to give it to all of the office ladies so they would know that I wasn't faking or being lazy, and they all looked at me like I was... Well, homeschooled. My house is trashed. Every cell in me itches to just pick up That One Thing. And then the next, and the next, and OhMy look at that dust... But no. Tonight, people will walk in my door and I will judge myself through their eyes and think "man, she was here all day on her butt (sorry mom) and look at this mess!" when in reality, if they are like me, they are thinking, oh thank god, I'm not the only one. This lent, I am going to work on not allowing myself the judgement. Not clinging ferociously to some image that is really not me anyway. Peeling off a layer of that ugly onion of Trying To Impress People, and just breathe. Accept where I am, plan for the future. Hope I don't lose my job and trust that I will still have value in the eyes of the people I are about. Even if I am not Peter Pan. On the outside.