Definition of guilt by some online dictionary - "a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined". Guilt will never make the grade as an A-list emotion. No one has ever written a song or a poem about how they haven’t called their mother in over a week and their expensive-bought online exercise machine is being used to dry their underwear. Yet somehow, this crabby little C-lister manages to punch way below the belt.
Guilt is such a powerful feeling we do almost anything to avoid it, I know I do. It is our driver of internal system of actions and balances. The annoying little voice stopping us from eating the whole chocolate bar at once or telling our friend that the story about her daughter new project wasn’t interesting the first time.
We need guilt that runs the engine of morality, in order for society to function. Without its ghostly appearance, we would turn into sociopaths, or politicians. My guilt is my inner police force, but given it too much power I am turning into a police state. Mine is a sturdy guilt drawn from two totally different but yet very powerful religions. On my mom’s side I am born with original catholic guilt (thanks Adam and Eve), which brings me to another guilt of a higher power watching every step I take and listening to all my inappropriate conversations and actions. On my paternal side I got the complaining, overthinking, neurotic Jewish variety. Ask my two best friends, they are tired of me analyzing every move I take and scrutinize for weeks and months if anything goes wrong, , (it usually does). The once mild mannered voice of my conscience is turning nasty with passing years. Like many women, I have the capacity to feel guilty about pretty much everything. Here is the basic glossy magazine guilt – the easy looking skin care regimens, and complicated man-pleasing instructions, the ideal bodies, and never to be cooked recipes. These make a great background for failure.
But it gets deeper. I feel guilt for hurting my friend on the phone the other day for telling her “that thing”. I feel guilt for taking too long to respond to my best friend’s supportive email, writing this post during my work hours. I feel guilty for taking a drink invitation from men I have no desire to go to bed with, and also that my son’s first few words were “mommy’s wine”. And most of all, I feel guilty that I am wasting my time worrying about any of this nonsense, when right now there are children starving in Africa.
My guilt muscle can be very flexible. It could be trigger by exactly the same situation in two opposite directions. I can spend the whole weekend interacting with my son, watching movies, cooking meals, filling guilt that I have not taken a single picture for my blog, that I am not working to perfect my skills and I wasted a couple of grand on equipment and props. And yet when I spend a whole day cooking and taking pictures,, my guilt bubbles up for the fact that I didn’t see my child all day and I am missing the opportunity to spend with him the last, preciouses moments before he tells me he prefers to spend them with his friends or his girlfriend.
But my main overwhelming guilt comes from the fact that a few years ago I have moved overseas, taking my baby boy with me, meaning I have ripped the only grandchild from his grandma to chase my selfish dreams thousands miles away.
When you live far away, no matter how often you call or come to visit, it’s never often enough. My mom never said a word to make me feel this way, she doesn’t need to. She doesn’t need to do anything to make me feel guilty about my life choices. My mom would probably hate the idea that talking to her makes me feel this way. This feeling bonds us together sometimes more than a family dinner table. My mom makes me feel guilty because her mother made her feel guilty. And as much as I would like to spare my son the burden in theory, I would be laying if I said that I don’t want to throw a little guilt his way, at least enough to making him choose a nice nursing home for me, the one with bar and games rather than the one with urine smell and bible studies.
Guilt is usually pretty ineffective over all. Instead of making a conscious choice and standing by the consequences, I behave as I am please and then cash in my moral credits by feeling bad about it afterward. As long as I have guilt as a comfortable fallback position, I fail to take full responsibility for my choices and actions. My friend once told me that she takes no responsibility for her life choices, in her opinion guilt is reserved for true wrongdoing and she wastes no time dwelling over her lifestyle or failure to live up to impossible ideas. I would love to get to that level of emotional sanity one day. Amen.
Today’s recipe is a total guilt trip between being lazy, having time for myself, and doing something creative and not wasting time binging on “ Mr. Robot”. Simple –no time at all- toast with goat feta and baked blood oranges. Still very tasty and guilt free.
Recipe Few slices of nice rustic bread
2 blood oranges
toasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400F, slice oranges, and place them on a baking sheet spray with olive oil and bake until they get a little brown. Toast the bread, smear with goat feta, top with slices of oranges, and coat with coconut nectar, sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds.