Friday, October 31, 2014

The Guilt Trip

Have you ever been on a journey or an excursion that is always available? I'm talking plenty of seats, no blackout dates, no deadlines, or cancellations. This is an odyssey I tend to take on day by day and it is known as The Guilt Trip.

Okay, my big flashing neon sign is guilt. I think I came here with it. When I say that, I mean that one of my earliest memories is of a feeling that I didn't like. It made my head swim with a particular scenario, made my belly queasy, and I remember not knowing how to make it stop. According to my mother I was two years old and waiting for her to make lunch but the doorbell rang and she went to answer the door. I being young, hungry, and resourceful ascertained that I could make my own lunch. I climbed onto the table and proceeded to take a bite out of each piece of cheese before deciding to eat one piece completely. I apparently pulled the bread onto the floor and took a bite out of a couple of pieces. After having my fill, I found my water cup and was sitting nicely back in my chair awaiting my mothers return. When she saw what had happened an “Oh no! What have you done?” escaped her lips followed by a look of disappointment and a sigh. The look on my mother's face gave me a funny feeling that I didn't quite understand. Later, my vocabulary and comprehension expanded to a realization of the word guilt.  According to my grandmother, I was always a sensitive little soul. My mood fluctuating with my environment. I was also a sympathy crier as a baby. Guess I was like a little emotional sponge absorbing the pains of others and I felt liable if I couldn't quell it. Thus began the start of a troublesome journey for me.

 I was extremely gifted in conjuring up guilt. Many times not long after waking. It became my morning breakfast routine. Heaping mouthfuls of dry, gritty, and bitter lumps of guilt weighed like a stone in my gut. I carried this around pretty much all day feasting on a similar lunch and dinner all in reference to the days happenings. Now as I look back I find myself grimacing at the fact that much of my childhood I spent with this feeling about my person. Why? Still working on figuring that out but I find myself in similar situations where I play a sequence of events over in my head until they morph into this monster and I berate myself for letting it happen then it settles as guilt and I walk around feeling this shame and a hollowed out kind of heart. Truth is, I know now that these types of things feed my depression and self hatred. My goal is to try and stop myself before it swells to massive proportions.

Well, there it is. Anger at myself. I can dissect it more if need be but for now lets stop here. I have been told that my tendency toward self injury is anger towards myself. At first, I laughed. Not me. I don't do anger. “Then what are those words you burned on your forearm?” asked a nurse at the hospital. “'I hate you' is not something somebody says to someone who they are happy with” The blistered letters were dark and puffy and starting to scab over in certain places. “You burned 'I hate me' on your arm. That says to me I'm angry.” I scoffed and rolled my eyes. But that conversation played over in my head like a song on repeat. Truth is, I had a lot of resentment as well but felt guilty for that and in the process my brain figured out how to turn it around on itself and make me angry at me. Me...Me, I can control. Me, I can fix. Me, I can change to help others. Right?

Yep. Been there. Done that. Brought back souvenirs. The challenge here is to figure out how to keep from cashing in my frequent flier miles on this particular trip. I constantly book it when I know the outcome. I believe it also triggers my eating disorder. That chasm that must be filled, the aching emptiness, and the insatiable craving to feel comforted becomes a goal then feeling full of guilt, hopelessness, and food leads to the purging of those sins of indulgence that was so undeserved. This cycle repeats itself. Sometimes it's one after the other till I'm reduced to once again booking myself on the flight of disgrace to the land of guilt.

I thought about coming up with a mantra to say when I catch myself going there. My hope is to eventually no longer book these draining guilt trips but until then I will settle for canceling the reservation. I started laughing out loud when I visualized the strong me. For some reason I saw myself as Yosemite Sam. (Hear me out! I know it sounds ridiculous) In his bold southern voice I hear him say “I'm dismissin' your expedition!” That throws in a speed bump and halts my travel plans. I then try to redirect myself with a positive order of thought. “I breathe in all that makes me better and exhale that goodness back into the world” In time I hope to never wander back to that place of stigma. Don't forget to cancel your guilt trip and widen your horizons!