There has been an unlikely combustion in my life caused by the start of Lent (today) and a film that changed my life (Moonlight).
It is probably easiest to start with the latter. Moonlight, the multiple Oscar-winning underdog, introduced me to a character I understood like no other in my personal cinematic experience.
As a laughable “minority” – a once-poor bisexual white woman – Chiron (a character easily presumed to be nothing more than a flag-flyer for the Black Lives Matter movement) and I read incredibly different on paper.
But we’re not different. Not in any way that matters. We’re so similar it ripped the the carpet beneath my feet. Chiron and I share more than I would be willing to delve too far into; struggling through adolescence in Florida, living as the yin to the yang of a parent who – whilst overbearingly affectionate publicly – chose a life drug-addled catastrophes and lacquered every painful contact in guilty fear…and then some.
Chiron’s extraordinary story chose to forgo dangerous stereotypes. It explored the masks we wear like a game of Russian Roulette. It designed every single frame in a way that could penetrate the least empathic heart. It was perfect, poetic, and it changed me.
This very necessary piece of art reminded me just how connected we all are.
It even encouraged me to give up a few thing for Lent. For the first time in my entire life. I started looking into Christian Aid after bawling my way through the film (their all-encompassing goal is to end poverty, regardless of religion or nationality) and noticed they were doing a “Give It Up For Lent” campaign).
It seemed as good an excuse as any to channel my response into something good.
What I’m Giving Up For Lent
I’m giving up negative thoughts.
Fairly simple logic there. Negative thoughts are scientifically proven to be toxic and, though I consider myself an incredibly happy person, I very rarely allow myself the same positive critique that I give others. That changes now.
I’m giving up meat at home.
Read: climate change 101. It’s virtually impossible to give it up everywhere (as a food critic), but making a conscious choice to enjoy a primarily vegan diet at home will hopefully encourage others to do the same.
I’m giving up ‘almost’ doing things.
I often intend to do great things that fall to the wayside of work, “what is expected of me“, and general forgetfulness. No more. I am now a Yes Man for every positive impulse I have. Starting with raising money for Christian Aid.
It may be all fair and good to give up chocolate…but I want to start something I can continue to do well past April 13th.
If you feel like you would like to do the same, please do. And please click here to donate to my JustGiving page if you’re able to.