Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

"You're feeling guilty, aren't you? Yeah you are! YEAH YOU ARE!"

One of my favorite LJ writers, Cleolinda Jones, had something to say Monday about

getting over guilt--the pointless, irrational, depression-related kind, I mean. If you shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, you're just shit out of luck on this one, my friend--so:

...and the result is blistering, honest-'til-it-hurts, and hilarious. Excerpts:

My default response to any given situation is to feel guilty about it.

I feel guilty that I'm stuck in an adolescent, dependent lifestyle. I feel guilty that I would actually say to myself, "I'm not brave enough to do anything about it." I feel guilty that I procrastinate, which I think I do in the first place because I feel like what I'm working on will never be good enough, so I procrastinate so I won't have to feel bad about that. Which makes me feel worse. I feel guilty when I hear that this or that friend is going through a really great milestone in their adult life (a new job, a wedding, a baby) because then I feel bad that I'm so far behind them in terms of what I want to accomplish as an adult--and then I feel guilty that I've turned their happiness into an excuse to make it all about me. I feel guilty that I'm overweight, I feel guilty that I'm not exercising enough, I feel guilty that I didn't exercise today, and then I feel so bad about it that I don't exercise tomorrow. In short, I feel guilty, and then I feel guilty that I feel guilty.

(And again: no, I'm not Catholic.)

The second thing is, feeling guilty makes me feel bad--it is, itself, a bad feeling. I mean, yes. Duh. But moreover, I shut down when I feel bad--I put my head in the sand rather than face what's making me feel bad. Which of course makes me feel worse, and makes me feel guilty for not being able to deal with feeling bad that I felt guilty. You begin to see the death spiral involved here, right?

This shit has got to end, y'all.

...My family has started wondering why I'll start laughing for no reason at all, and that's exactly it: I've realized that, once again, I'm feeling guilty about some stupid dumbass thing. It actually feels really liberating, because suddenly I understand what's going on up there in my head. And then I just go, "Okay, well, guess what? You don't get to feel guilty about that anymore. You have met your quota of feeling guilty about that for today, if not FOR LIFE. And now you get to feel good about not feeling guilty anymore. DEAL."

Because you know what? Feeling guilty isn't helping anyone. It's not making anything better. If I make an asshole of myself, then I should go apologize and make some kind of (de)finite amends for it. And then move on. On the other hand, if the only person I've really "wronged" is myself, then--what the hell am I feeling guilty for? IT'S NOT HELPING ANYTHING!

And in the process of her honesty as she analyzes how she got to this point, she writes lines like

Not to get too twee here, but I think I confused humility with humiliation. (Humility and Humiliation: the most depressing Jane Austen book ever. Or maybe the kinkiest, who knows.)
Lines like that are why I'm a fan of hers.

Please read what cleolinda said. And maybe stay for her entertainment industry linkspam, or her Movies in Fifteen Minutes parodies, or her ongoing chronicles of her novel-writing efforts.

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