I can’t quite figure out why I have done this to myself… By “this” I am referring to Lent. I am not even Catholic, or Christian for that matter, or whichever religion celebrates (can you call it celebrating, really, when you are depriving yourself?) Lent. I only said Catholic because of my uncle, who is quite Catholic, and who gives up alcoholic beer every year for Lent – I say “alcoholic” because he’s Irish… so he still drinks non-alcoholic beer. Hey, you can’t do it all.

Anyhow, my uncle is not my uncle by blood. He married my aunt, who is by blood, and who is Jewish, about 2.5 years ago in Bermuda… but that’s not the story of right now. Like I mentioned, my uncle is very Catholic. My aunt on the other hand, is very Jewish (well, I think she is anyways – she seems to be more into religion now that they have married). In spite of the fact that my aunt and uncle technically have two different faiths, they get along quite wonderfully – perfectly, one might say. 

Moving on. My family, on my mother’s side is very Jewish (Persian Jews, to be specific… but again: another story), and we all live together within 45 minutes of each other and – when we’re not at school or work – see each other nine thousand times a year. My uncle left his entire family (he didn’t leave them… you get it) and moved to live with my aunt and my family and so because of that he celebrates every single Jewish holiday with us and lucky for him, that is every weekend as we are blessed with the holiday of Shabbat! (Side-note: I actually love Shabbat. It is such a loving wonderful festive weekend event where we are forced into relaxation for hours on end and filled to the belt’s pull with food – food of which is cooked by the best cooks in the world: My beautiful, incredible, Persian grandparents.) So my uncle spends essentially every waking feasible moment with us and long story short eventually I started to feel bad that he celebrated all of our holidays and I’m not so sure how many of his we celebrate (except for Christmas – but that’s just for the presents…) and at some point I decided to do Lent with my uncle every year so that I could take part in his “festivities” too. 

Cute, right? No. 

I have been doing this since at least my Junior year of prep school, which makes it at least four years now, and every year I wonder why in God’s name (hah) I am doing this – I’m Jewish for goodness sake, it’s not even my holiday, and I’m unfortunately not even a good Jew, at that, so why am I participating in a Catholic, torturous event that just makes me loathe myself every second until April 3, which is fortunately my birthday at which point I will fill myself with one of my vices: Funfetti cake (the only processed food I really eat) and all other desserts realistically. 

Side Bar: I realize that technically Lent ends around March 30th or so; however, I chose to begin Lent late this year as it started the day before Valentine’s Day – and I knew that would just result in a major failure on my part because my wonderful boyfriend (there you go, Matt!) would bestow upon me many delicious desserts and treats… I was right. So win for DandyLion (that’s me). 

Another Key Tidbit of Information: I am 5 foot 7 and weigh about 115 pounds… I am typically the most healthy person in the entire universe as I cook almost all my food myself, only (mostly) eat local, organic food, am deathly allergic to milk, hate bready things, and eat hardly anything at all that is processed as I hate it… with the exception of chocolate. I LOVE CHOCOLATE. So much, I literally don’t think that I could live without it. And cupcakes, holy hell do I love cupcakes. I am not exaggerating here: Chocolate and cupcakes literally make up, bare minimum, one fifth of my diet and I really think it’s one fourth but for statistical purposes… whatever that means… I’ll put that out there. And there are two major issues with my eating habits. One, my roommate’s family owns one of the biggest chocolate plantations (are they called plantations?) in all of South America and so we are blessed with a room full of chocolate and it is SO good. Two, being essentially a Georgetown resident does not really help my plight; Sprinkles and Baked and Wired: I love you. Georgetown cupcakes… not so much. You stink. (By the way, fresh baked cupcakes are not technically that processed… and I used to work at Sprinkles soooo I know these things.) Anyhow, I am a fresh-baked dessert and chocolate fanatic (it’s -aholic really… Lent is my Dessertaholics Anonymous) and the only exercise I get is running back and forth between meetings in my 9AM-3AM lifestyle and so I am not really sure why I am such a bean pole but I’ll take it.

ANYWAY, every year I seem to take it (it being Lent… great, I’m writing like Faulkner) a step further. I always hit where it hurts: Dessert. Like the first year I did it I was in boarding school so giving up dessert stunk but I didn’t exactly have time to eat then anyways, although we did have one of the most renowned chefs in Connecticut as our head chef so the food was pretty amazing but I could deal. However, I was not so so addicted to chocolate back then as I did not have one-block-away access to Whole Foods and hadn’t even begun to understand how wonderful cupcakes were so it wasn’t so hard a hit.

Time Out: I really want to take a moment here and blame my mother’s family for my addiction: they have been force feeding Hershey’s (and professional baker’s chocolate – my grandparents were also professional pastry chefs so yes, they actually are the best) to me and shoveling it down my throat since birth. I have vivid memories of sitting on my grandmother’s marble kitchen floor eating out of her enormous tub of chocolate. (I was the skinniest child ever – no joke.) My grandparents still give my a giant Hershey’s kiss every year for Valentine’s Day – another reason I had to start Lent late! 

Continuing: Then Senior year it was close to spring break and graduation so I didn’t really want to eat anything anyways and so I didn’t feel too bad about it then either. Then last (Freshman) year, I started taking it more seriously and for the first time I really gave up chocolate, and that was painful because at that time, I was eating inordinate amounts of chocolate AND had just finished working at Sprinkles so I still had very easy access to obscene amounts of cupcakes PLUS I was taking 19 credits and had a variety of other chocolate-consumption-inducing activities in my life so it was a hard time (the hardest thing I have ever had in my life though is Lent, so really things aren’t so bad). 

Then this year, I don’t know what is wrong with me, I did the following:

No chocolate

No cupcakes

No ice cream (I’m allergic anyways… but I still eat it on occasion) 

No dessert, period. (I put the period there to make a point. Twice. Thrice… This could go on all day.) 

No laziness. 

No laziness… WHAT?! As if I have time in my day to not be lazy (literally, I actually don’t have any time in my day). So I therefore gave myself an additional commitment which is essentially I’m not allowed to sit down any longer. I actually, physically do my readings for class in the gym now (I hate the gym you just can’t feasibly walk and read in the streets), or standing at one of my four jobs (I’m not putting myself through college I’m just a little crazy – I prefer the term ‘Superwoman’). I type all papers and notes standing… I am currently kneeling as my computer isn’t conveniently located for standing my I figured my knees are better than my bottom… yes it hurts. I only sleep for 6 (on a good night) hours per night and I have somehow required of myself to be more busy than humanly possible. And no, you’re not the only one wondering how I do it all (my friend asked me today, actually). For example, tonight I read 30 pages in a Biological Psychology textbook and biked 7 miles. (I’m going to call that high-functioning productivity, employers out there.) 

Which begs the question: Why? Why in the world did I do this to myself? I cannot figure out what is wrong with me… I guess I like a challenge? Who knows… maybe this is the message that family is really the most important thing (true – and you’re welcome dear uncle). Or maybe I really am Superwoman – she doesn’t really really exist so I’m going to claim the title. 

Until next time, 

The DandyLion Lion 




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