Sunday, August 7, 2011
CONSUMED BY GUILT
It is Sunday night; I am tired, but in a content sort of way. See, I have this little problem called "feeling guilty for not being productive." I share this with many of the women in my life, and at most one man (no names mentioned; okay two including my brother). It would be interesting to conduct a study to see if this soul sucking ailment called "guilt" is predominantly a female characteristic or if men have a better capacity to just shrug it off more easily with a beer and a ballgame, or with their buddies while circling "the 'transmission' in need of repair." Men just don't seem so uptight. As for me, the guilt never stops. Not even while I'm laying down just before I shut my eyes at night while making a list of all the things I didn't get to today, while rationalizing that I can squeeze them in to tomorrow's list. In fact, as I'm writing at this very moment, I am simultaneously thinking "I should have a load running in the washer while the stinky towels from my daughter's bedroom are drying. Now that would be productive. The guilt seeps in. Then the guilt, for feeling guilty. Somewhere there must be a psychiatric term for this on the library shelf.
But today was different. Today I said "screw the guilt, screw the productivity, it's Sunday gosh darn it! A day of rest! The day of the Sabbath! The day the Bible says..." Would that be considered sacrilegious to take a God granted benefit from the Bible only when it suits my needs????? I am not religious after all. Come to think of it, my neighbor, who just experienced Jerusalem, was sharing his travels with a group of neighbors. The conversation went something like this. Me: "Jerusalem! How fascinating! Isn't that where Jesus was born?" He: "Uh, no Renae, in fact, um, Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem." For a girl that's been singing Christmas songs all her life, that celebrates Christmas the day after Halloween, that sang "Away in a Manger" albeit out of tune for the school Christmas concert....how could I have not known? So for the record, let's just say that I said "screw the guilt" without the biblical interpretations, but just because it felt good. Because it was the right thing to do today, especially on a Sunday.
And so my boyfriend and I spent the day at the Oakland Zoo; guilt free. I was able to convince him, a bigger tree hugger than I, that the animals in captivity are actually happy. He finally appeased me after five years of throwing childlike temper tantrums, and agreed to take me. Did you know that giraffes live approximately 15 years longer in captivity than they do in the wild? That is a fact, and I swear to you, the giraffes were smiling. But that's all beside the point.
The point is that as Richard and I stood in line for the tram (which he shook over the tiger's cage and I screamed), I found myself stepping only on the painted yellow footprints on the cement which directed everyone visually as to which way to follow the lines. Little yellow foot prints. Without thought, I started stepping in the prints, like hop-scotch, only following the footprints and giggling. Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. (Think Twister, only I was the only adult in line playing the game). I was having fun. The guilt had dissipated.
Oh, before I go on, did you know that Chimpanzees share 98% of our DNA? Scary.... One Chimpanzee inparticular, was obsessed with her blankets. She was disheveled and old, and carrying at least five blankets around her shoulders while dragging another along the dirt with one hand and in the other another blanket with her stuffed animal. She looked like a homeless lady without a shopping cart. She was happy and I couldn't stop smiling....
and then I came home.
The lawn, the laundry, the unread newspapers, the garbage, oh and the book I just checked out which I hadn't started reading. And then the worst thing EVER happened. Like EVER. I felt guilty that I hadn't BLOGGED. Guilty to those who might actually want to read my blog; and my love of writing suddenly became another chore. Narcissistic I know. Then, it occurred to me -- "Maybe they don't WANT to read my blog....maybe they feel guilty like Oh God, another post to read. I really don't have the time." Another should, another thing to do.....ohhhhhhhhhhh the friggin guilt.
AND NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS....are you listening?
LIFE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE SO HARD. Let the laundry go every now and then, let the dishes pile up, let the lawn grow a little too long (the neighbors WILL get over it). Just as I sometimes feel guilty when I pick up a book and don't have time to read it, or it's not doing anything for me and I simply don't want to finish it -- you don't have to read my blog, or any blog, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, your personal email....you don't even have to answer your cell phone. IT'S OKAY!
I wasn't going to blog tonight, but I really wanted to share this with you. It's okay to let go. It's okay to play. It's okay to go to the Zoo. Life is supposed to be fun and, guilt, it's just a waste of time.
Good night and always, GOOD dreams.