08 January 2009

Spin Cycle: Me? Guilty?

So I really wanted to do the Spin Cycle this week and I kept racking my brain trying to think of either what I was guilty about in the past or what I was guilty about now and I just kept coming up with nothing.

Don't get me wrong, I have done things that I've been hugely guilty about in the past. There was the first woman that I was engaged to that I broke off. There were other women too, some with names that were erased by a combination of alcohol and time. There was that persistent feeling that I should have been by my mother's side more during her chemo even though I was a three hour drive away and taking college courses. I made it home nearly every weekend, but it never seemed like enough.

I do the occasional thing now and then that I feel guilty for, but nothing big like in the past; I outgrew that hedonistic asshole phase. I might spend a little too much time on the computer or not help out around the house as much as I usually do, but the associated guilt is fleeting at best. Small stuff, small guilt.

Then I started to wonder if I had reached some glorious state of amorality. Well, not amoral, just differently moralled (bite me, I can make up words.) I say 'glorious' because wouldn't it be wonderful not to feel guilty about things sometimes?

Then I realized it wouldn't be so glorious.

Feeling guilty, for all its pitfalls, shows us what we care about. Where our humanity lies. It points us in the direction of our flaws so we can kick at them and try to overcome them. It shines the light on things we could have done better so we can actually do them better the next time. Maybe not as perfectly as we would like, but better.

It's about growth.

I realized that over the years, I've felt less guilty about things because I've done less things to be guilty about. I've gone and grown in spite of myself and learned to forgive myself for the dumb things I've done and will undoubtedly continue to do.

Wishing you the same :)

 

62 comments:

Keely said...

First?

Also, I think men are just wired to feel less guilt.

Mariah said...

What? You grew up? You forgave yourself? I'm impressed, you're doing exactely what you should be doing

Stephanie said...

FIRST!

Never done that before...wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

I get it now.

Stephanie said...

Oh, I guess I mean, THIRD!

How did they sneak in front of me. Sigh. Victory was almost within my grasp.

Sammanthia said...

Great post and I've never thought about it that way. The next time I screw up and feel guilty about it, I'm going to be PROUD and call it growth.
And I have you to thank for that.;)

Maternal Mirth said...

You know, I can only measure my growth by the depletion of my police record.

And, no, I am not first nor do I care to be first.

I only care about my growth.

All signs that I am "grown" and such.

Stephanie said...

So, now that I've actually read the post, I have nothing clever to say. Not to assert that my first two comments were clever.

I'm going to quit while I'm behind.

Here's a trite "nice post" for you to smirk at.

*sighs dejectedly about the "first" delusion*

Michelle said...

Well said. I feel the same way... at least I'm trying to. ;)

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Yes, growing up is a wonderful, if humbling experience. If I remember correctly you are a reformed Catholic, right? I think that a lot of the guilt comes from that, too. I remember vividly a conversation I had with my aunt (by marriage) when I was in high school: she was planning on moving from one company to another or something and I was like, "Oh, won't you feel so guilty leaving them like that? I'd feel so awful!" And she was was just like, "You Catholics and your guilt! I'm not burdened with it!" Said with a Pshaw! and wave of the hand. It opened my eyes to the possibility of a guilt-free existence! :)

The Stiletto Mom said...

Impressive for a good Catholic such as yourself. I thought it was hard wired into us most of my life but what you said is so true...you just try to do a little better each time and that is the very best you can do.

Deep post there Heinous...well done!

Father Muskrat said...

Are you Catholic? I used to feel a lot of guilt about different acts, too. Then I just figured I'd start blogging about them and making fun of myself. Now I feel all better.

~The South Dakota Cowgirl~ said...

Thanks for sharing. What a great post!

Braja said...

Don't talk to me about growth; I declare publicly my love for you and never hear from since, you freakin' neanderthal.

Peace, love, and all that
Braja
xoxoxo

nonna said...

i read blah blah blah, not a jerk anymore, blah blah blah, not guilty anymore cuz i grew up.


where's the DIRT man?? i wanna hear something juicy! i feel cheated.


but i still luv ya cuz i got some kick ass calves and pretty cool eyes too :p~~

Diane said...

It's one-thirty in the morning and I still can't make the top 10!

I've never looked at guilt that way before. Mostly I look at it as the thing that makes me feel like shit for messing up one thing or another... stuff I can't change or even (sometimes, anyway) apologize for. It's frustrating. I've been told I need to ease up on myself... and then I feel guilty for treating myself like shit... it's a shitfest around here some days, I tell you.

But I'm going to try to look at the way you do... I'm going to let it point me in a direction other than toward the shitpile. That, my friend, would be glorious.

Now I'm going to try hard to sleep, so I don't feel like shit tomorrow.

And I just realized that this is the most I've ever used the word shit in one sitting. Don't you feel special? Love ya!

Captain Dumbass said...

"Well that took an unexpected turn to serious." Ya, kinda like the smart ass comment I was trying to think up. Thanks. Bastard.

bernthis said...

I feel the same way but for me it isn't as much guilt as it is resentment. I find myself doing less for others but when I do, I know I'm doing it with no expectations for the favor to be returned. I don't care nearly as much who likes me and who doesn't. I am me, warts and all, take or leave it.

The Dental Maven said...

Yes Grasshopper. But guilt, like many things in life, only good in moderation.

Badass Geek said...

I avoid guilt by feigning ignorance.

Sometimes there is less feigning than other times, though.

Vodka Mom said...

guilt? GUILT? That's why I am NOT Catholic. I abhor guilt.



however........I'm with you. I try not to do things that will riddle me with guilt......

Khadra said...

this is so true. Apparently I care too much though because I am ALWAYS feeling guilty about something!

Sprite's Keeper said...

There are so many pull quotes in this post, I don't know where to begin. Very nicely said, and even serious! I like this side of you, Jim! You're linked and forgiven!

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

This is exactly what I've been telling my spousal unit for years!! Guilt promotes Growth. He just ain't buying it.

Debbie said...

I am Catholic, but maybe I'm not a very good one because I don't feel much guilt. I haven't in a really long time. Now you have me wondering if something is terribly wrong with me.

creative kerfuffle said...

hmmmm, certainly gives one something to think about. i wish there was a guilt depository where we could just dump it all and be done. unfortunately for me it's more like gum on a sidewalk in the summer that you've just stepped in. you might get the biggest glob off but your shoe is still sticky and those damn tenacious gum strings keep hanging on.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I only feel guilty for the things I think about. Actually, that's not even true. Even my lustful fantasies end unfulfilled.

Tragic.

Ellie

Irish Gumbo said...

You rock, bro! Great post!

Now I feel like crap. I hate you. No, not really. I'd feel guilty about that, too. :)

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

First of all, you stole my title. Last night was MY night for the brain and you must have snuck in there when I wasn't looking...

Nice perspective on guilt though. It makes me feel better about my spin on guilt because I am guilty about a LOT of stuff. So I guess that's a good thing...right?

Tracey said...

I don't do very many stupid things anymore, either. Isn't maturity grand?

Heinous said...

Keely: I have no doubts about that.

Mariah: I'll have to cut that out ;)

Stephanie: So close, I was rooting for you too. It's never trite coming from you ;)

Sammanthia: I'm glad I could lighten your load.

MM: As long as you never get all mature, because I'm pretty sure that sucks.

Michelle: Thank you.

Amy: Once you beat the whole Catholic thing into submission, I think the guilt takes care of itself.

Mary Anne: Sorry about that deep part. I generally try to avoid that ;)

Fr. Muskrat: It's just like confession but with a different screen.

SDC: Thank you and thanks for coming by.

Braja: Love ya back. Ween. xoxo

nonna: I haven't seen a pic of those calves yet...

Diane: You do that. I'll keep you on task so you don't get all guiltified again.

Cap'n: Sorry, man. At least you called me a bastard.

bernthis: I do that too. I never go in expecting anything from anyone. I'm much happier that way.

DM: Crushing guilt is never recommended...

BG: I try not to ask people if they think I'm faking.

Debbie: I always knew you were an angel like that.

Khadra: You are absolved. (If that works, let me know and I'll bottle it.)

Jen: Thanks, Jen!

Meg: Keep working at him...

Debbie: You've overcome your Catholicicity! Congrats!

CK: I'm pretty sure you can drop it anywhere in Washington and it just goes away.

Ellie: Completely unfulfilled? That is tragic.

IG: Thanks, man. Scotch takes the edge off that ;)

Petra: If you leave the brain laying around like that, I'm gonna take advantage of it. You should be all growed up in no time :)

Tracey: It is as long as you don't take it too seriously :)

Cape Cod Gal said...

I'm thinking I grew outta all that. I hope....

Csquaredplus3 said...

I really like this post - I'm with ya.

Personal conviction isn't a bad thing. If it feels funny, it is, so right it. Like you, my younger years were peppered (liberally) with BIGGIES, but my moments of "Hmm. Could have handled that better," are just that (usuallY) - moments. I deal with it, and move forward.

Growing's good. You're good.

Miss Grace said...

I still have parent guilt.

Heather said...

Hmmmph!!! I was hoping that was leading into a story about the woman you dumped!
Great spin...

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Came from Sprite's, but I've seen you around in the comment threads. I really enjoyed your spin, very well written and thoughtful. I'm with you. I beat myself up less, but I also am more careful in my actions as I get older.

CaJoh said...

…"Feeling guilty, for all its pitfalls, shows us what we care about. Where our humanity lies."

Very well put. Thank you for showing an interesting perspective on the subject and not just listing those things you feel guilty about.

Braja said...

"Ween"??? WTF?

Isn't that...no...

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Growing up seems to bring me MORE guilt...because I have to parent...and that is one guilt trip after another!

But I do, DO less things for myself to feel less guilty about?

Wow...I'm spouting off and not making sense!

Good post! ;)

Giggle Pixie said...

I have a German Jewish mother. I will never run out of guilt. :-)

CK Lunchbox said...

I don't think that could've been said any better, especially the part about growth. Funny how some people seem to have no sense of guilt and as they get older their heartless actions only get worse.

With my divorce I will never stop feeling guilty about the impact to my kids. But at least it makes me work harder as a dad.

I'll join the masses in echoing what a great post this is - made up words and all.

PhoenixAwakened said...

Oh God it would be so nice to not feel guilty about stuff. I feel guilty about how I spend my time (too much/too little with work/daughter/family/friends) I feel guilty for my thoughts (I dislike/feel sad about/resent etc)

Holy crap... I need to chill. Thanks dude lol

Paige said...

Man do I feel guilty about everything--even things that I have nothing to do with.

My biggest guilt I think was relegating my dogs to a pen in the backyard when we first moved here instead of finding them a new home. I thought it was the lesser of two evils and I could not have been more wrong. Maybe that is not guilt, maybe it is shame.

Wayne John said...

I've committed myself to never grow up, but at least I don't do the things I did in Get High School...

I have plenty to feel guilty about however, but that's what alcohol is for right? hehe

Krystal said...

Hey big bro, nothing wrong with goring up I say. Glad to see the serious and thought provoking side of you.

Kylie w Warszawie said...

Hehe. I'm Catholic so I'm wired for guilt.

But seriously, I understand. I do less to feel guilty about. Perhaps because I have children and don't want them to have a bad role model, but mostly because I've never actually been that bad of a person. I felt a lot of my teenage and early 20's guilt because of my father and I'm past that now.

Casey said...

Look at you, all grown up! I'm glad the guilt is less as you've gotten older. I'm in the middle of mom-guilt central over here and I just want it to stop. Please make it stop. I'm ok, seriously.

Heinous said...

CCG: Good for you :)

Chris: It's a good place to be.

Miss Grace: Oh, you'll probably always have that...just less and less.

Heather: Sorry about that...perhaps later.

PHST: This must be the thing they call wisdom. Thank you for coming by.

Chris: I'm glad you liked it.

Braja: No, strictly a term of endearment.

Shelle: I'm sure you'll work that out ;) Thank you.

GP: It sounds like you're set for life.

Ron: How sad for them that they have nothing to care about.

Phoenix: You're absolved :)

Paige: Hindsight is a great thing, but you went with the choice you thought was best.

Wayne: that's what HS is for, I think. To work out the jerk in us.

Krystal: Aww, thanks :)

Kylie: Another 20 years and you should be guilt free ;)

Casey: Moms get a special case of guilt. Free with every delivery! One of the many reasons to admire moms.

for a different kind of girl said...

This is such a great post, and I think you're right. I hadn't really considered it as such, at least not as succinctly as you just said it, but what you said is great.

Ruby Isabella said...

You humans waste a lot of time and energy on guilt. If you do something bad, you learn from it and move on.

Indigo said...

Guilt...strange, but yeah not so much...Forgiven oneself - Priceless, for faults imagined or not. The weird part is there is still that wild abandon underneath it all, somehow it's roped in and tied to a post until I'm ready to give in.

We all grow up, some of us...like me...later than most. Yet, we still need that dare factor, that kid that goes on a limb just to see what comes of it. (Hugs)Indigo

smiles4u said...

I love your spin on this guilt thing. I too, do less things to be guilty for(thank god) but that's okay, I did plenty to feel guilty about back in the day. Learning to forgive oneself isn't always easy but when you do, it sure is freeing...I'm still working on this but have a long ways to go! Great post!
PS Really like your blog!

Shonda Little said...

God, I feel guilty about things that don't even make sense. Glad I came here and got some of your wisdom.

Sass said...

Just wanted to tell you I no longer feel guilty about not doing the interview...

I did it today. ;)

Dr Zibbs said...

Sass sent me. I've seen your blog before but Sass gave such a glowing review I just added myself to the follower list.

Confessions of A Mississippi Mom said...

It's all about not worrying as much as we use too. Growing up humbles ya. And you forgive easier even when it comes to yourself.

blueviolet said...

Thank heavens we grow out of it. Well, most of us do.

Heinous said...

fadkog: Thanks, neither did I before the spin ;)

Ruby: I know we're odd like that. Thank you for coming by.

Indigo: I'll never get rid of the dare factor. That's part of my fun. Thank you so much for stopping by.

smiles4u: It may not be easy, but it's important. Thank you :)

Shonda: Well, 'wisdom' may be debatable ;)

Sass: I saw. Great answers!

Dr Zibbs: Thank you...I'll be by yours for certain.

Carrie: It's easier to forgive than carry that burden too, I think.

blueviolet: There are some that don't but I try not to hang with them ;)

Laura said...

What's up with the "evolving" and shit?

It's like I don't even know you anymore.

Vodka Mom said...

Number ONE- can you keep your debbie's straight?

and Number Two- Do I detect a little spat between you and my little Braja? Do I need to do a little Peer Mediating between the two of you??

Cause I am DAMN good at that.

:-)
Now get over here and start shovelling.

SweetPeaSurry said...

I'm going to feel guilty tomorrow, for having consumed so much wine tonight.

I get to sleep in tomorrow too, I should be guilty about that, but I'm not going to, because I'll be scrubbing floors whilst I imbibe said vino tonight.

Good trade-off I think.

DeeMarie said...

I try not to do things that make me feel guilty either. Creates a whole lot less stress!!

Lola said...

I find that guilt is a waste of energy and put that energy towards not doing what the hell made me feel guilty in the first place.

I'm so evolved!