I recently read an article in Real Simple magazine about a God box. The author tells a story of her mom, a devout Catholic, who has a “God box” where she places her hopes in mini letters addressed to God. These letters were hand signed with either simple requests such as choosing the right flooring or biggies like being able to sell a house. Since I read the article, I have been tossing this idea around in my head. The idea of the box is captivating to me, but not in the same way as presented in the article. Because, you see, my problem is a little something called guilt.
So, in the dictionary, guilt is defined as “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime or wrong *pay attention here* whether real or imagined.” In my own body, it can feel like wind getting sucked out of me, nearness to tears or a dull ache. Avoidance of guilt is a motivator for many of my actions: volunteering, donating to charity at the holidays, being there for school activities etc. But it seems to swell up inside me for a multitude of reasons not strictly limited to parenting. It just seems like there are so many things we are supposed to be that I am not. Maybe it’s my monkey brain talking but damn, that is where I need my God box. It’s to let go of all the shit that’s holding me back. Maybe I should take the God part out, though. Because there may be cursing involved.
Imagine, readers, that this is the online version of my Let It Go box. Feel free to email me or add your own. All these guilt inducing states are my own, and it is my sincere hope that by writing them down, I can let them go. Depending on your own frame of reference, that may be by being whisked off in a gentle breeze, or alternately by swirling down a toilet bowl with the rest of the, well, you know.
Things I Feel Guilty About:
I like carbs. I never even considered a low carb diet or anything related to living without bread. It is just not an option.
My mom and sisters live on the East Coast and I don’t see them enough and I miss them. Terribly, but not enough to face Continental Airlines apparently.
Not being “present” with my children enough. This language has become very popular lately, and I know I could do more to make this happen even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. But I also find all the pressure to do it annoying. Were your parents present with you? Mine sure as hell weren’t but their love for me was unquestionable.
Leaving the house when the kids are home to go and do something I really want to do.
Not living in a war-torn country, having to beg for food or feeling in fear for my life on a daily basis.
Not working full time. Not being a stay at home mom.
Being really stupid when I was young. Making bad decisions.
Feeling jealous when I am in other people’s really really nice houses.
Not walking my dog every day.
Not walking my dog most days.
Being stingy with compliments. I could do a lot better. So many times I see people that look great, hear them say something witty, or am in general impressed by their awesomeness. But I don’t tell them so. I feel bad about that.
I like to be alone, really truly. It makes me happy and recharges me. Wait, scratch that one. I don’t feel guilty about this anymore.
I have more than one flushing toilet to choose from in my home. Most of the world couldn’t say the same.
I am not on the PTA. This is a big one for me. I am happy to help out and do so frequently, but just can’t bring myself to join. Feel really bad about that one.
I feel guilty that I do things to avoid feeling guilty rather than some higher purpose or true altruism. That’s fucked up.
Spending time with my husband is my lowest priority. After all, he can drive himself around, he doesn’t need help with his homework and he doesn’t have problems with his friends.
My hair color costs more than what some people have to spend for an entire month’s groceries. That’s disgusting.
Not feeling grateful on a daily basis.
My grandmother always said that a good wife was a “chef in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom.” I am my own incarnation of each, but probably not what she had in mind. Oh well, she was crazy anyway.
Not being playful. My husband is so great at this, he will toss me a cantaloupe in the grocery store from across the aisle. That’s fun! I wish I could be more fun. Fun is fun, why am I depriving myself?
Feeling the desire to do bodily harm to the kids who tease my daughter on the bus.
Not calling my mom enough. She is so nice.
Letting days go by without thinking of my dad. He’s been gone for 17 years and his memory gets more and more fuzzy. I want to keep it alive more. I want my kids and husband to know what he was like.
Not speaking up more. Maggie Kuhn said, “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” I feel bad about doing myself that disservice.
Gossiping. Subject of upcoming post. This is another thing I don’t necessarily feel too bad about until other people say it’s bad. Then I feel bad.
When I get caught up in consumerism, spend, spend, spend. Then realize I have been sucked in by a very sophisticated marketing machine. I just realized I need to write a new post: Things That Piss Me Off.
OK… God. Grew up Catholic. Catholic school, not a great experience. Married a Jew. No spiritual home except the one I have created for myself. My kids are lucky that they have experienced both religions, but I feel so guilty they don’t have one to call their own. In my attempt to keep them open minded, I may have fucked up and really confused them. Outcome uncertain. Big one for me.
I say no alot to my kids, and I feel guilty in the moment. But overall, it’s empowering.
Yelling. Enough said.
There are certain things I like to do in the yard, and certain things I don’t. I pay someone to mow the lawn and pull the weeds. There I said it.
Peter Walsh is very needed in my house: I am disorganized and have lost things for myself and others in my family.
I ate Hallween candy out of my daughters’ bags. Like you didn’t.
If I am not doing a thousand things at once, I feel guilty. If I don’t carry something up the steps that needs to go up anyway. I have talked on the phone while driving. I recite spelling words to my daughter while cooking dinner and listening to the radio, etc. You know what I’m talking about.
I could go on and on, but will spare you as I am quite sure you have your own list. In case you’re interested, here is the link to that Real Simple article: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/relationships/inside-god-box-00000000045743/index.html I am going to go back and read it again, and maybe this time I will learn the art of letting go.