FAT Tuesday, am I right? Or, the party never ends…
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. Gold star for those of you who got that info right!
Today, for me, is a bittersweet day. For those of you I have yet to have had the pleasure of meeting, I will tell you why Mardi Gras is a bittersweet day for me. I am a recent transplant to NY by way of New Orleans… and this is my first year in a VERY long time without the celebration and excitement and GLITTER of Mardi Gras. Because, as you know, everywhere else it’s just a Tuesday.
Let me explain further because I DID use the word bittersweet, remember? Here is why I used that specific word – this day, and that life that I left behind (at least for now), are both bitter AND sweet. Much like life. We often come to understand the dialectical nature of reality once we are attuned to the idea that things are both bitter and sweet, good and bad, happy and sad, light and dark. Mardi Gras is SO sweet – it is that gluttonous marathon of beauty, color, debauchery, creativity, food and alcohol. It is also the well from which SO MANY of my most valuable and amazing and happy friendships have sprung.
But Mardi Gras can also be SO bitter – it is bitter glitter. It IS, by its very existence, debauchery in real form. It is the very present reminder as to why this is a HOLIDAY, not a way of life. If only someone had let the rest of the city in on that secret. Having some space from what is virtually a constant balance of partying and partying (generally meaning deciding which one you will attend) I was finally clear enough to recognize the illness of what it means to burn the candle at both ends. Meaning this: I woke up this morning at 5 am to workout with the realization that I was not awake at that hour to begin the excruciating ritual of adorning myself in color and glitter and costume, and that I would not begin the day with a Bloody Mary (because veggies = food and alcohol = duh, alcohol) and continue on from there. Now, this isn’t something I chose to partake in on the reg but when you live in a city whose values can put alcohol and fatty foods on a pedestal (think King Cake, beignets, po-boys, and hurricanes), being sugar and flour abstinent is nothing if not tough. And that’s on a GOOD day.
So I think the lesson in all of this for me is that the party can look pretty sweet when you’re in it, but when you take a step back the reality can leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s hard to leave that sweet spot behind but life can be SO MUCH MORE sweet when you let the bitterness go.
Love and glitter,
Britta and your Beacon Team