|David — Oh that I had the wings of a dove! For then I would fly away and be at rest by Frederic Lord Leighton, P. R. A. (1830-1896)|
I live my life now a little more guilt free. I have not identified whether that's because I quit caring, or I seared my conscience to the point that it became dysfunctional, or because I just decided I was a lost cause and not "fit for the kingdom" anyway. Mostly the last one I think, because if my conscience was seared completely I would not still have the abysmal fits of guilt and shame that overtake me from time to time, like when I drink too much and do stupid shit, or when I wear capri pants. Or when the dogs don't get fed for 18 hours. Dark, deep, guilt. With words like "why are you even alive" "what a waste of skin" (I learned that one from a friend), and "no wonder no one can love you" swirling around my brain for hours or sometimes days.
This is the product of stern, inflexible religion pressed into a developing brain. Like juveniles who learn to binge drink before their pre-frontal cortex is fully developed, I grew a brain groove, a natural addiction to guilt as a normal, necessary part of existence. Out of the guilt stems compulsive confessions. Of everything, and nothing - much of which this entire blog serves to deliver. If I can express in words EVERY POSSIBLE WRONG I have committed, admit, confess, repent in some eloquent fashion, or better yet apologize in the most literal way, then my guilt will be alleviated. Y'all are my priests. Didya even know?
|Hester Prynne. So relatable.|
This is a monster that I wrestle with. Not one I have slain. One who lives in his cave and comes out when I least expect to try to eat me alive. Some days I can beat him back. Some days, he wins. But he's always there. Maybe one day I will find the right weapon to kill him, the silver bullet, the holy water. Maybe one day I will be strong enough to do it with my bare hands.
I watch my children as they grow and I think about how guilt influences them. I see the tell-tale signs from time to time but I think somehow, they managed to avoid the deep programming of their own evilness. Maybe because as they were growing their little brains, I was too busy trying to survive my own to press anything too sternly into them. Maybe because they watched the uncertainty that their grown mother faced life and every decision with, the overpowering fear of doing the Wrong Thing, which, inevitably, I always did somehow in spite of all my worrying. At least according to Them. The Others. The Voices who saw my monster in the cave and learned how to manipulate him. But looking back and seeing my amazing kids, it occurs to me, maybe I didn't always do the Wrong Thing, because all of those Wrongs could not have equalled four beautiful Rights. Get back in your cave, beast, you're not as strong as you think.
|Shame - Max Klinger|