The thing about Lent

Today is Wednesday, or as any ex-good-little-Catholic girl would know Ash Wednesday. It is also Valentine’s Day.

As an ex-good-little-Catholic-girl, I still have a certain amount of inner guilt to push me into giving Lent more than just a fleeting thought each year. So today after taking Harvey for his castration injection (what every male wants on Valentine’s Day) Mum and I did a chat about it – Lent that is, not Harvey’s castration jab, although we did talk a bit about how tiny Harvey’s balls have become and what a shame that is because they were TRULY MAGNIFICENT before his first injection. But that’s the kind of detail we don’t need to get into right now.

Mum likes to observe Lent – and whilst I dislike the Catholic religion more than just a little for what it did to me, I fully respect her want to do so. I don’t understand it but I do get the need to focus on, and give time to, something greater than ourselves and I want to support her too. But, as I’m not of the faith, I’m going to do things a little differently, I’m setting myself a task.

Several moons ago I was asked to write something. This something was to help a small but significant part of the wider community. Lack of confidence stopped me though. My lack of confidence manifested from an inability to write under pressure. I wobbled, the piece never got written. I never got the chance to maybe help even one person by completing the project.

Writing means focusing the brain, and focusing the brain is a bit like starting a workout regime.

You start doing rounds of squats and it hurts.  After ten squats you stop – you’ve just strain-farted in your personal trainer’s face and you could die of embarrassment and leg ache. But your personal trainer doesn’t bat an eyelid; what’s a strain-fart when trying to achieve the perfect thigh? He tells you to come back tomorrow so you can do 15 more squats and you really want to wear those sassy shorts this Summer, so you go back and do 15, but you didn’t wear your big girl knickers, you wear a thong cos your ten squats yesterday made you feel all athletic and cut and stuff, but your thong is actually cutting you a new arse with Every. Single. Squat.

Every day you do more. You have embarrassing moments, because you don’t really know what you’re doing, and you get stronger and all of a sudden you’re squatting 200 squats, whilst holding weights wearing nothing but a leotard, a pair of sweatbands and a smile on your face.

Believe it or not it’s the same for your brain (stick with me). The more you use it, the fitter it becomes. With writing, putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) every day over a period of time only strengthens your ability to write with discipline – and this is what I need. If I am going to write the piece to help even just one person, I need confidence in my writing under pressure, that means I have to do it daily and…DA-DAAAAA! that’s where Lent comes in.

40 days of writing.

(see what I did there?)

I will write for 40 days. I will discipline myself and learn, I will no doubt embarrass myself with the content of my writing (after all you’ve just read an example of that and this is but Day one of 40). I will refrain from farting in anyone’s face. I might write whilst wearing just a leotard – don’t judge. And then I will write the piece I was supposed to write all that time ago.