I lived much of my life relatively guilt-free. I don't mean remorseless; I mean free of unproductive self-flagellation about choices I've made. I sort of assumed it was a combination of nurture and nature; my mother was never a guilt-tripper, and I was naturally fairly obedient to my super ego. I felt bad if I did something wrong, sure, but if I'd made the best of whatever situation I faced, I didn't beat myself up over things.
Then I gave birth. The instant HellBoy was laid across my stomach, looking bluish and stunned, a tidal wave of guilt crashed over my head. I wasn't good enough at giving birth; it had taken too long; I might have hurt my baby!
The guilty feelings continued sloshing around for weeks. I was starving him because I insisted on breastfeeding; I was going to roll over on him in my sleep because I selfishly wanted him in the bed with me; and on and on. Gradually, thank heavens, the tide receded a bit, and I was able to gain some perspective. But I never went back to my blessed pre-baby guilt-free state.
Lately I've been suffering from it a LOT. I feel guilty about going running when my son wants me to play with him. I feel guilty about NOT running when I've blogged about how frickin' important it is. I feel guilty about blogging instead of working. I feel guilty about not blogging. I feel guilty about snapping at my husband when I'm too tired to see straight. I feel guilty about driving to work and polluting the environment. I feel guilty about air conditioning. I feel guilty about not wanting to hear about the conflict in the Middle East. I feel guilty about saying it's not too hot to run and then watching the thermometer go into the triple digits.
It's as if all my years of not feeling guilty left me peculiarly impaired for handling it now.
I need some sort of method for dealing with this before it drives me crazy. A mantra or something.
What do you feel guilty about? And how do you handle it?