Monday, March 2, 2009

It's Lent again but I'm not complaning

I appears that Lent has, once again, snuck up on me. For non-Catholics, Lent is the period of time beginning with Ash Wednesday continuing through Easter when Catholics focus on penance and charity. Usually it takes the form of giving something up (like chocolate, TV ect).

Now, I'm not a good Catholic and have not been very observant. I am making an effort to do that, not for reasons of faith but for reasons of leading a meaningful life. A few years ago I started to observe Lent. The first year I gave up swearing. I actually did a good job with that but I felt I needed to do something a little deeper and life affirming.

This year will be my THIRD year attempting (note: I have not been remotely successful) to give up complaining. The first year I was in the middle of dealing with infertility, being a custodial step-mom to a teenager and generally hating the grating sound of my own voice (both out load and in my head). So I decided to give up complaining. I wanted to be more mindful of how I communicated with co-workers, friends and family. I wanted to focus on the positive. I wanted to reflect instead of react. I didn't do so hot but I did try. At least I become more conscious of how often I complained and, every so often, stopped myself.

Year 2 I decide I needed to start a blog so I could get out all my complaining on line. I did not start the blog until after Lent....which should tell you that a failed miserably at not complaining in real life.

So here I am, Year 3 with the same goal of not complaining. It's hard. I do it so often and without thought. I can hardly recognize when I'm doing it. It has become my primary method of communication.

Seriously, when I am being good at not complaining I have a hard time coming up with anything to say.

I mean, if my step-son, who made a cross country move (against our wishes) just 6 months ago, is now needing to BORROW money for him to MOVE BACK in with us? Is that complaining or a statement of fact?

Also, I find I will complain but use a pleasant tone so it does not sound like complaining. But is that cheating? I think it is.

I find it really sad and scary that if I am not complaining I have nothing to say. Yea, I'm a joy. Can't imagine why I am not invited to more parties or lunches.

I imagine I will be blogging more complaints. More likely I will blog about struggling with not complaining. I'm off to a bad start. Just yesterday I told Mr. Peeveme as we were making our weekly grocery list and planning a weeks worth of dinners (a weekly torture ritual), "I fucking hate dinner. I hate the whole thing, the list making, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning. I feel it sucks my life away." Surprisingly he didn't respond in a loving, compassionate manner. In fact, we had a micro spat which left us both feeling like shit all becasue 1) I blurted out something that could have been said in a better way or 2) didn't need to be said at all.

That's the real reason behind this. I have a great husband and beautiful little girl. We make dinner together every night. It's nice family time. If I could focus on that I might not mind all the work. Or maybe I would still mind it but not as much and my DH certainly doesn't have to know that I hate something that we share and that is an important part of his culture and upbringing.

My work has provided me with the privilege of some leadership training that might help me in my quest to shut my whiny trap. It's called Bio-Reaction and I will post a bit about that in the days to come.

Also, Lent is about Charity. I have been meaning to do something for months. This Lent I will go ahead and make the effort even though I am broke, overwhelmed with my own little life, and it makes me feel uncomfortable (being socially retarded and all).

WARNING: Social Justice interruption

I really dislike that word: Charity. Charity is something well-off people do to make themselves feel's not a cure for social ills. Additionally, it has the effect of making us feel like we are off the hook for creating true social justice. Charity, is fine as long as it's understood that is not all we should be doing. True social change is the goal. Volunteering at Food Harvest is wonderful and the people who need the food are grateful but what does that do to change the fact that there are people who do not have enough to eat? What about livable wage, health care, affordable housing? Charity is a band aid on social ills. Charity is a salve for the conscience of the masses. It is not changing the underlying inequities that cause the needs for charity.

OK Social justice rant over


Coco said...

One time someone pointed out to me how much I complain. I tried to stop, I really did but it is super hard. And your right, its a little scary that when we aren't complaining there isn't much left to say.

bleu said...

I am not sure why but when I read this post all I could think of was an article I read last year that really opened my eyes. I do not know if it would mean anything to you but I found it online. Here is a link.

Peeveme said...

Thanks blue. Cool article and cool site.

Soapchick said...

Sorry Peeveme, but I had to laugh at your spat over dinner, lists. You may complain, but you are very cute when you do so! I am using a link on this year during lent. It has readings and stuff and talks about charity and giving up stuff, but not in the traditional sense. let me go find the link in case you are interested.

Riley said...

Good luck with Lent. My husband gives up something every year, but I never do and he always tries to talk me into it. I think giving up complaining is a great idea - but, I agree, I think it is a tough one. At least you are working on it and becoming more self-aware - that's a step in the right direction. One that I should take, myself.

Kami said...

Crap! My comments didn't get saved. There I am, complaining.

I was going to say that I am right there with you - about the social justice vent and about

complaining. I complain a lot too. My mom and my sisters do as well and when I hear them I think how awful it is and I resolve to do better, but it is a hard habit to break.

That's complaining again, isn't it? sigh.

Good luck this time around!

April said...

Good for you for even "attempting" to give up complaining. I would never be able to do that. LOL I think I would probably implode or something.

OMG, my word verification is "hymin". Reeeeeeeal nice, blogger, while we are discussing Lent.