Thursday, September 10, 2009


Corine -- Coupable

Whatever it is, doesn't it look like that guy did it?
(Polaroid taken during Bay2Breakers 2009)


I have to take issue with the number of posts this week that proclaim the uselessness of guilt. Thanks to the way I was brought up, I could write a treatise on the topic, but that's not my mission tonight. I was going to post something else entirely on today's topic, but then I was struck by these posts.

Like most things in this life, too much guilt is toxic and it can lead to manipulation. But lack of guilt is just as toxic. I see too many people who refuse to take responsibility for anything that they do badly. I see too many people who blame their parents for the way they act in adulthood. I see too many people who refuse to feel guilty for hurting others. Too many instances of kids brought up without a sense of guilt who run amok and have a mammoth sense of entitlement. Kids who act like they're the center of the universe and expect to be treated like that; they turn into adults who act like kids.

As children, we all have an innate sense of guilt in us. Parents can increase and manipulate it to their advantage, or they can extinguish it altogether. There is a healthy balance somewhere in there.

I'm guilty -- St.Ofle

I can't be too honest.
My beloved grandfather died a few moths back.

I didn't go visit him in the hospital as he was dying, though I easily could have.
"don't! you'll regret it, he's in too bad of shape -- he may not even recognize you" people said.
Well intentioned, they told me stories of how people they knew had died, and seeing a dying person is a mess (they said).
"You want to remember hi the way he was"
Feeling it was the right thing to do (for myself) I didn't visit him.
Now I regret it.

I think it's selfish.
The thing a dying human wants the most is to feel loved.
The last thing any dying human wants is to feel marginalized, or forgotten.

This is a portrait I did of my handsome (and now dead) grandfather.
(He was the Richard from whence this Richard got the name Richard)

I'm sorry, I'm guilty.

Guilt and remorse are one and the same for me. Wanting to go back in time and make amends. Wanting to know what to say to make sure the same sad things don't ever happen again. Shame is in there too. Being ashamed of not doing more or doing something better. Feeling guilty that I feel guilty. Feeling ashamed that I spend my precious time feeling guilty.

The worst kind of guilt is the one for the thing that happened that I had no control over. It's the Smiths song, played backwards and at a terribly slow speed, making me analyze every, sad detail and annoying the shit out of me. Guilt is a useless emotion, but it's the one I'm stuck with.

OK, time to go for a walk in the sun and be grateful.


Guilt is an equivalent of physical pain. When we feel pain, we know something is wrong physically. When a person has a toothache, if he (or she) is smart, he'll go to a dentist and take care of the problem. It's hard to ignore that kind of pain, usually it only gets worse with time. But when guilt is involved, you can be sure something is wrong on another level.


"guilt" - noun: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

it's one thing to not take responsibility for yourself, but don't let yourself get caught up in the game of guilt, which is often used as a tool of control over you by society or an individual. you deserve good things, and you deserve to do well !