Friday, November 11, 2011

How Do You Plead?

     I had fun.  I took the egg without the busted yolk.  I took the un-mangled fork.  I took the non-charred, golden buttery toast.  I said no because I hate screaming kids.  I threw away the annoying fast food toy with the flashing lights and whining buzzer.  I left a dirty pan in the sink.  I cut the tags off my pillow.  I didn’t answer the phone when that number popped up on the Caller ID.  I ate the frosting flower, I spent part of my Christmas bonus on a new bra, I ordered pepperoni on my pizza even though he hates it, and now I feel bad. 

      I feel guilty.    

      If guilt trips required luggage, I could be my own travel agent.  Why do I do this to myself?  Am I less worthy of the un-mangled fork than Buttercup or The Yankee?  And for that matter, why do I still have the mangled fork?  Everyone is at risk for feeling guilty, but I think women are more likely to go through with it.  Have you ever seen a man eating the last piece of pie with the un-mangled fork and he’s got the chagrined look of a knotted stomach on his face?  Me neither.  From my experience, men look guilty when they’ve been caught doing something to actually feel guilty about.  Can you imagine a pro-athlete sulking about the practice field because he used the last of the “good” hand crème?  Absolutely not!  He might manage a slightly guilty expression when he’s caught paying off prostitutes not to tell how many crack rocks he hid in his duffel bag.  He may conjure a guilty sigh when he presents his jilted wife with a diamond ring and a yacht named after her.  But you will never see him looking ashamed that he parked in the good lot at church. 

      Do women have a guilt gene?  Is it a part of our DNA that we must take every action, every slight, every perceived misstep as a personal responsibility?  I can’t answer that.  All I know is that I have felt guilty for the last time.  I am tired of this feeling.  I am tired of worrying what other people think, how other people feel about me, what other people will believe if I eat another slice, buy the name brand perfume, chug the last of the milk, find something better to do that attend a birthday party for a dozen shrieking 2-year-olds.  I am sick of the gnawing feeling in my gut when I am torn between the decision to take a bubble bath for my aching shoulders or vacuum the carpet one more time. 

      I am striking a vote for freedom!  “No More” is the ensuing battle cry!

No more will I feel sick when I skip the generic peanut butter and go straight for the good stuff.

No More!

No more will I order greasy, loathsome sausage on my pizza just because he likes it.

No More!

No more will I say, “Oh, that chair wobbles? Here, I’ll sit in it.”

No More!

No more will I say, “I’ll be OK with no haircut for 6 months. You really need another tool in your tool box.

No More!

No more will I sit through military shows and tool exhibitions just because he likes them.

No More!

      I have struck a chord on the resounding harp of my inner woman’s soul and I loudly, proudly proclaim that from this day forward, I am no longer giving in to feelings of guilt!  Guilty or Not Guilty … how do you plead?  Not Guilty, thank you!  I am not heeding the muffled sighs of people who must write their own papers, wrap their own gifts, and cook their own snacks!  It is a fabulous feeling.  I’m free!  I am unfettered, unchained, unencumbered by these shackles and … what?  Buttercup can’t sleep because her blankets are crooked?  The Yankee needs me to help him cook popcorn?  Where did that cobweb come from?  Great.

     Now I feel guilty.

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

1 comment:

  1. Women, especially Mothers (and older daughters) have the guilt/martyr gene. I completely sympathize with you. So off to the quote machine!

    A wife is essential to great longevity; she is the receptacle of half a man's cares, and two-thirds of his ill-humor.
    -- Charles Reade
    No man succeeds without a good woman behind him. Wife or mother, if it is both, he is twice blessed indeed.
    -- Harold Macmillan


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