I was driving along today and thinking about guilt, when all of a sudden I saw a bumper sticker that said, "Screw Guilt." At first I kind of laughed. But as I saw it again and again, at each stop light it started to empower me. "Yeah! Screw guilt!!" I thought. I'm not going to question why I saw it, I'm just going to accept the fact that it was there to punch me in the gut and snap me the fuck out of it.
Over the past week or so I've felt guilty. Guilty because I want to do something for myself. It's not the best time, granted. The man has been out of work for four months now and things are a bit rough. We've had to make a lot of changes. But we've also held on to some of our more important vices (cable, cell phone, internet). He still goes to the gym, I still go to my weekly meeting. But going out is a thing of the past. No dinners out unless we have a gift card or something like a Groupon. No movies.. ha! We never went anyway. We've had to file for mortgage assistance and he is currently on unemployment. My business is not picking up so that hasn't helped. Things are just not great, but yes, they could be worse.
In the midst of all this, it's time to take my winning trip. I get free round trip airfare and 2 nights accommodations in Los Angeles. My plan all along was to stay longer. To spend a week visiting with different friends and possibly going to some All My Children events which were being held several days after I arrive. It would be my last chance to do that with AMC canceled (or not, who the hell knows what's going on with that now!) and it would be like closing that chapter of my life. It feels so meant to be. I win the trip, the show is canceled. I've had my AMC website for 13 years. I make peace with that part of my life ending and going to LA feels like the closure I need. My soap friends even chipped in so I wouldn't have to worry about money on the trip. It all seems so perfect. So meant to be.
I received word when the trip would be and was told that if I couldn't make it, I could opt out for a $500 buy out. Now what do I do!? Clearly we need the money. But so many people have already generously donated to my good time. Of course I'd give it all back, but do I want to? Is $500 really going to make a big difference in our lives? Will the trip make a big difference in my life? I'm confused and troubled by it all.
I think about how much I have given of myself, especially to my parents, over that last four years. I would do it all over again, but that doesn't mean it's easy. I think about how hard it's been just getting by the last four months. I think about how I won another contest this year and gave that prize up for the greater good. I think about all of these things and then the guilt creeps in when I start think, "when is it my turn?" When do I get to do something for myself? When can I stop worrying about everyone else and just unwind, let loose, have fun? Do I not deserve a little something just for me? Does everything I do have to be to benefit someone or something else? When the fuck is it my turn!
All these thoughts were going through my mind this morning when I saw that bumper sticker. "Screw Guilt." Good advice. Screw the guilt! I'm allowed to do something for me. I'm allowed to do it without being made (made by me, because I take things too fucking seriously) to feel like shit about it. I don't need to be tied up in knots every time I make a decision that maybe someone else wouldn't make. When I got my last tattoo, I was so nervous about my mom seeing it that I planned on hiding it. Until I snapped out of that stupidity and said to myself, "I'm 45 fucking years old, and if I want a foot tall Bela Lugosi on my leg then I can fucking have it!" It is my life after all. And it's the only one I have. So come July 22, I'll be on that plane to Los Angeles. No regrets. No guilt.