Passing on Guilt
For the second time in my life, the person I wanted to go for counseling wouldn’t go.
So I did.
And now, I just can’t recommend counseling enough, especially if you think someone else needs counseling. Go. Get counseled yourself. Forget about that other person. Pretend you’re on an airplane on your way to someplace warm (that hasn’t been devastated by the climate change we Canadians have wrought) while the in-flight mime instructs you to put your own oxygen mask on before you worry about helping somebody else put on his oxygen mask.
Then just sit back and relax, close your eyes, breathe deeply. Picture your seatmate’s oxygen mask dangling right in front of him, right there, dangling, all he has to do is reach out and put it over his face. Then smile to yourself (according to Malcolm Gladwell, smiling has the physiological effect of making you believe you feel better, which is the same as actually feeling better, if you ask me) and transport your mind to someplace pleasant.
It’s tough love, I know, but if your seatmate can’t even manage to get an oxygen mask over his face so he can breathe, how’s he going to make it across the pool to the swim up bar?
And if he can’t do that, he sure as hell isn’t going to survive a tsunami, should one interrupt your breakfast pina coladas.
Rum drinks really are the best. But only if you’re having them in a warm and sunny climate. Otherwise, they’re ruined with eggnog.
Beat it, eggnog – nobody likes you!
And if your seatmate is a young child, well, Stephen Harper just approved billions of dollars worth of greenhouse gas emissions to pay off his tar sands developer friends in Conservative Alberta, so just give it up, Sooey Says reader(s). A changing climate is no place for young children.
You know, I know it, Stephen Harper knows it. But he’s a Conservative politician, so he doesn’t care.
(And I thought I felt guilty – I did – it turned out to be the reason why I think everyone but me needs counseling. Imagine how guilty Stephen Harper would feel if he had a conscience.)
But back to counseling. I went with the intention of discussing someone else, but counselors are tricky and I ended up making someone else all about me. The counselor was young and male, too, so I didn’t expect he’d be much use to me (I was possibly old enough to be his mother, but I can’t tell age anymore if the person is under 40) but boy was I wrong.
“Wow, stupid lady, ur sure carrying around a lot of guilt. Do you take the credit for everybody’s successes just like you take the blame for their failures? ROTFLMAO!”
Of course he didn’t use those exact words and acronyms but I got the message. Then I came home and as luck would have it, my beau was entertaining some friends at the dining room table. As further luck would have it (mine, not his) one of them had suffered a tragic loss of character (slain by a dragon, I believe) and was free to extend my counseling session in the comfort of my own suddenly nerd-infested home.
(Normally, my return home is like a can of Nerd-B-Gone.)
“Women and men are really quite different”, he counseled.
And yes, he did use those exact words. So true. We are different. Women go around feeling guilty about everything and men don’t. With men it’s like shit happens and then they die. With women it’s like shit happens and then we spend the rest of our lives feeling guilty about it and then we die.
I may need to work on that “neither metaphor nor simile” bit but you get the idea.
But the whole experience got me thinking about guilt and the effect it has on our lives in spite of the fact that, as my friend Barb says, “It’s the most useless emotion ever invented”.
(By women, I might add, women being our own worst enemies – like employees thinking unions are the problem. Again, working on my “neither metaphor nor simile” bits.)
It is useless, guilt, and it’s debilitating. After I dumped a shitload of mine on the young counselor, I felt better than I’ve felt in ten years. I told him everything I felt guilty about, he appeared somewhat confused, I clarified, he appeared somewhat relieved, I clarified some more, he appeared somewhat confused again, and on and on like that until I had offloaded enough that I practically floated out of his hovel.
(It’s a completely free counseling service. It’s so completely free, you don’t even need a health card to access it. Although you may feel a bit guilty about the working conditions of the counselors. Forget about it. Dump the guilt and vote New Democrat. Much more effective.)
I know what you’re thinking, dear Sooey Says reader(s), “But it’s so selfish, accessing free counseling for yourself when so many others are in need and then just voting New Democrat to absolve yourself.”
Well, sure, but it turned out that all my guilt that was getting in the way of those others taking responsibility for how they feel. And New Democrats want to make life better for others in need, which gives the rest of us less to feel guilty about – get it?
And, face it, it’s not like Stephen Harper is going to avail himself of the service and he’s the one who should need it. But he doesn’t feel guilty. In fact, he so doesn’t feel guilty that he’s even convinced practically every media pundit in the country to not feel guilty, either.
Why is Stephen Harper increasing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by developing the tar sands?
Read a newspaper.
He’s increasing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (and polluting our fresh water supply and destroying our boreal forests) by developing the tar sands for “jobs, growth and prosperity”.
For the children, no less.
I know – what children? Rightwing nutjobs can blame western Feminists for a falling birthrate, but if smiling can trick a body into feeling better, imagine the effect a tsunami hitting your favourite resort can have on making a body feel worse. And there’s nothing like a bad feeling body to make a woman not feel like having a baby.
I mean, think about it, Stephen Harper could actually do something to decrease Canada’s significant contribution to climate change – and he’s deliberately, consciously choosing to do the opposite.
He’s deliberately, consciously choosing to increase greenhouse gas emissions, pollute fresh water, and destroy boreal forests.
Cripes, all I did was break up with somebody.