Saturday, March 08, 2014

I Like That

In Hawaii I learned the expression no shame. It can be used sarcastically... a ribbing when someone maybe should could have a little shame. But it can also carry the laid back, Island tone that says, Hey, this is what I do, what I like, and I am not embarrassed... I'm going in! No shame.

My friend, Jennifer, posted a link to an article about guilty pleasures on her FB page. The gist of it is (I skimmed it: No shame.)... the gist of it is that we live in a culture that is so tied to guilt and apology, so burdened by should and should not, that we are missing our pleasures. Are guilt and pleasure inherently entwined?

Okay, so I probably should read the entire article before I quote it or promote it, but all I really want to do is open a discussion on what I took away, and I will be superficial and brief, because I really ought to be excavating the kitchen, starting another load of laundry.

When Jennifer's friends saw her link, a thread began in which everyone listed their guilty pleasures. You know those secret, embarrassing, humbling admissions about what you enjoy watching, eating, wearing, doing, when you hope no one is watching? Morsels and pastimes that either feel low-brow, or high-fat, or they're linked to the decline of modern civilization. Pleasures that in an otherwise intelligent conversation you would be loath to defend your choice of, so you don't 'fess up, or you load guilt onto your admission. Why? Yes, sometimes it's good and necessary to be critical, to act with sound convictions, but in the area of harmless fun, stress relief, and simple happiness, why must we always blot our joy with guilt, and shame?

I went back to the post and re-read some of those guilt-free pleasures, their true confessions! Soap operas, reality TV, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, Thin Mints, McDonald's Meal #3, old hymns, Pringles, Bonanza... and more. Honestly, some of them made me think eew, and that made me feel guilty, because THIN MINTS and BONANZA! My secret indulgences, the little things I turn to when the house is empty, or I want to taste my nostalgia for childhood, came to me and I felt embarrassed, and embarrassingly: Hungry! I could really go for corn chips and the little can of cold, spicy bean dip. I don't want to apologize or explain why chips and bean dip are delicious and remind me of trips with my brothers, and being on the back roads of Southern California, oak trees, and mining towns, hiking, fishing, feeding ducks. And don't I want to think eew, because someone loves them some Real Housewives of Nowhere In Particular. It's a knee-jerk reaction, something we're programmed to do when we smell weakness, this notion of deciding a moral hierarchy for amusements. (about the sixth paragraph). I don't need to construct criticism of everything I don't like, acting like my taste in cookies is superior! Thin Mints are delicious and I eat them. Bonanza was a favorite show when I was about nine or ten, and I always loved any episode that featured Adam, the handsomest Cartwright son.

Now, before I list even more of the indulgences that I cannot deny, I want to touch on one more kind of guilt that has been tearing me down. I've been disappointing myself: I make a commitment, or hope to be somewhere for someone, and then I cannot keep the promise, or at least I cannot keep it in a timely manner, and I feel this tremendous guilt and shame, a heavy burden of regret, embarrassment. It's debilitating. I know, this is a different kind of guilt, and the sense of responsibility can be necessary. What I want to do is learn to say, "Life is throwing plot twists at me and I cannot be there-do that because flat tire, sick kid, conflicting obligations, exhaustion, etc... I am sorry." And hope whoever is being let down will understand. I don't need to make excuses, because real issues manage to crop up in life all. the. time, but being sick, or having a flakey car, or needing to help one of my children, as the reason(s) I haven't done a favor or met an obligation makes me feel really, really bad.

I want to let go of that bad feeling and keep moving forward. In the interest of not being a let down to others, I have learned to not overcommit. I am not the room mom, or a board member. But I show up and pitch-in when I can, where I can. Moving forward, I need to bite my tongue, be a realist, and not make offers until I am sure, and even then I will include an addendum: If I can. If I can... I will be there, go there, help there, fix that, make those, bake them, and if I cannot, then I will let go of my shame and guilt, explain, apologize, and start anew. No shame.

Yeah. That's some of what's bouncing around in my head. Do you get bogged down by the things left undone, the commitments you cannot commit to? How do you cope?

Okay... just for fun, no one is looking, the house is empty, it's the end of a long day... and you might find me:

1. Watching a pre-recorded episode of Grey's Anatomy. Medical drama, I love you so!

2. Eating pop-corn covered in nutritional yeast, with a spoon. (Okay, my children will laugh at this and say That's no secret!)

3. Playing Christmas music. In March. July. Early November.

4. In-n-Out: Hamburger, no tomatoes or onions. French fries. 7-Up with a lemon slice.

5. Hoarding fabric.

6. Jane Austen movies.

7. Hoarding greeting cards.

8. Watching an hour's worth of movie trailers.

9. Pinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest.

10. Taking all of the BuzzFeed Who-What Are You Quizzes!

11. Oh, and the El Pato cans??... just another thing I cannot live without!

No shame, right?

"You’ve got your own boat, too. Now go float it."


Sara's Place said...


my no shame addictions: playing fairies with my daughter in any manor (including wearing my own wings around the house), vermicelli noodles in broth because they remind me of eating top ramen while watching Friends during my high school days, any sort of chocolate, and the PacNW coffee snob in me gets really embarrassed when I go through the starbucks drive-thru for a frappecino.

Kim said...

Vigorous head nodding over here! I have many thoughts running through my head in agreement with what you've said about guilt & letting go of it…but important things first; those cans are super cool! I will have to see if grocery stores carry them here so I can buy them, plan some meals around them and then hoard them and figure out a cool way to functional display them. They're so pretty!