So for lent, I gave up a few things.
I gave up Pepsi, because it’s something I crave and enjoy daily and Lent is supposed to be about resisting temptations.
I gave up eating out because we’re not in a very good financial situation and going without something as frivolous as eating out was something that would benefit us and help me shed some of the guilt of not contributing financially to the household because Lent is supposed to be about trusting God.
The last thing I decided to give up was my blame.
Every person who has ever struggled with mental illness or chronic illness, especially those with depression or anxiety, know how heavy blame is. Something goes wrong or times get hard and your mind turns and whispers “it’s your fault, you know”. At least mine does. Mine is especially loud right now because we are struggling to make ends meet. We are struggling to feed ourselves, to pay the rent, to pay the bills, to feed the cats. And I’m the reason we’re struggling.
Now yes, I know it isn’t solely my fault. We moved very suddenly under terrible circumstances and it was a blessing that we were able to move, but it strained us, and on top of that strain, my doctor is in Cleveland Clinic, a state away from home. This doctor, this hospital that’s over three hours away is where we will find answers and methods that will keep me alive longer. But dying, or at least living with chronic illness is not cheap. Neither is gas or food or hotel stays. Medical bills are definitely not cheap.
So I say, without flinching, that some of our struggles to stay afloat financially are my fault.
Multiple people told me to start a gofundme and I fought against it. I fought not only because asking for money is hard and uncomfortable and our society teaches us very early on that to need help is to be weak and I haven’t quite unlearned that wrong lesson, but because in my mind, who would want to help? Who would see the campaign, my begging, outstretched hands, and want to give me money?
I fought, then I thought, then I prayed. It was in prayer that I realized this was a temptation that I swore I would resist for Lent. I would not blame myself, but instead give love and accept love for myself and from others. When the lazy, indulgent hours of Fat Tuesday rolled into the grey morning of Ash Wednesday, I vowed to give up self-loathing and replace it with loving others with my whole heart.
And loving others meant loving myself enough to admit that, no matter what I want things to look like, the truth is that I need help. I need help and there are people in my life who want to help. Because they love me. Because they care for me and mine and they want to give us our best chance.
So I prayed for strength over my own mind, over the voice in my head now screaming “stop that, you are not worthy”, and I reached out. I created the page and said, in a weak but steady voice “I am worthy of help from those who are willing to give it.” I am worthy of love and its many expressions. I am worthy of God’s love and He will not turn me away when I need Him.
This isn’t, by any means, my asking any of my readers, any of you, to give me money. This is me, raw and laid bare, telling you that you are also worthy. That there are people who want to help you if you can summon the courage to ask.
If you want to help me personally, here is the link to my campaign on GoFundMe, but more importantly, if you want to help anyone, donate to a charity that means something to you, donate your time to your community, or even just ask a friend or neighbor how they’re really feeling, if they need help. Give up the idea that needing help is weakness and offer help in any way you can to anyone you can.
I’m here for you, Lemons and Spoonies, and I adore every single one of you.