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Skinny Bitch Does Lent

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by Rory Freedman

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Don’t let your panties get in a bunch because I’m writing what seems like a “religious” blog.

Typically when people ask me what religion I am, I say “vegan,” because my decision to abstain from eating, wearing, and using animals has shaped me more than anything else in my life. And these principles have affected every aspect of my life, including my spirituality.

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One of the benefits of choosing veganism as my religion: I can make up all the rules myself. Obviously, rule number one is, “Don’t contribute to the suffering or deaths of any animals.” And rule number two is, “Adapt any practices from any other religions that you like.” I gotta tell you, I think I’m, like, such a genius for this. There are so many cool religions out there with so many beautiful practices. As a vegan, I get to enjoy all of ‘em without any limitations. And that’s how this little Freedman got into Lent.

To be honest, I don’t even know the real particulars of Lent. All I know is, for forty days people give something up or take something on. And I think any opportunity for self-improvement is great. Last year, I tried to give up swearing for Lent. Shit, that was hard. Here’s what I’m up to this year:

- No talking negatively about myself or anyone else.
- No offering unsolicited advice.
- Start each day with a "gratitude list"--five things I'm grateful for.
- Pray for someone each day.

Oh my God, the negative comment thing is tough. I never realized how many negative thoughts I have about others or myself in a twenty-four period. And I'm not making myself wrong for this. I'm just really noticing how frequently my mind goes there if left unchecked.

And if I'm thinking the worst of people, I can't help but want to fix them and tell them what to do. My tongue is practically severed from having to bite it so much; apparently, I love offering guidance to people who aren't looking for any.

I'm just so thankful to notice these things about myself for forty days. And I'm definitely gonna put that on my "gratitude list" in the morning. Some other things I've expressed gratitude for so far: my bed, my dogs, the good date I went on, being self-employed, my friends, having the time to go hiking and to the gym almost every day, and being healthy.

It's easy to take our health for granted. But after learning that my friend has stage-three colon cancer at the age of thirty-two, I recognize what a gift it is to feel well and worry-free. So today, I prayed for her--that she'd get healthy, be strong, and know that she isn't alone.

So whatever religion you are or aren't, know that Lent can be a time to better yourself, your life, or life for those around you.

(Shit! Does that count as unsolicited advice? Shit!)

Rory Freedman is the author of Skinny Bitch. She lives in Los Angeles. Photo by zesmerelda via Flickr