Even the merest thought of how I might respond to today’s Daily Prompt word has me all tied up in knots. Sometimes I feel baffled by the prompt word, or uninspired, or just too damned lazy to bother, but occasionally a prompt word jumps off the page and whacks me on the head – bam! ‘Guilty’ is one of those words that leaves me stunned and reeling at the sheer enormity of how to answer. Do I make light of it, or delve deep into my psyche, or write a never-ending list of things that make me feel guilty?
It took me years to try to understand the difference between guilt and shame. Apparently, guilt is feeling bad about something you’ve done to some else, whereas shame is something you feel bad about for yourself, and we often conflate the two. Hmmm… to be honest I’m still not sure exactly where to draw the line with some things.
For example, I feel guilty about not being the kind of daughter my mum wanted. Actually, even before that I feel guilty about being born a girl in the first place – my mum wanted six boys, and I came along first and spoiled it, or so she’s spent a lifetime joking about to all and sundry. Funnily enough, I’ve never quite enjoyed being the disappointing punchline, and the joke certainly wears thinner with every year that goes by.
So to me, I feel guilty because me being born a girl, and so not good enough straight out of the box – well, the womb – definitely feels like something I’ve done to someone else. Although according to several therapists I’ve seen over my lifetime, not meeting somone else’s expectations for me is not actually my problem, but the someone else’s. Even if that someone else is my parent. But in my mind I don’t feel ashamed of being female, so to me what I feel, feels like guilt.
See where my rambling confusion comes from? I even feel guilty about not properly understanding what it is I feel guilty about, and even of being sure if it’s guilt I feel at all. Aaarrrggghhh…! Maybe I can just offer a defence of suffering a metaphorical concussion from the bang on the head from today’s hitting-all-my-buttons-with-bells-on prompt word, and plead guilty as charged… 🙂