I'll Take a Side of Guilt With That
The text came in during the madness of getting myself and two kids ready in the morning. All of us were scrambling and the energy was high. “My timeshare in Monterey is available, you wanna go?” One of my oldest friends from high school added happy face emojis as she invited me to go on an overnight with her to one of the most beautiful places in the world. I could see her face in my head, smiling from ear to ear enticing me to go. My mind immediately visualized the beautiful beaches and ocean in Monterey Bay, one of my favorite places on the planet and wanted to say yes immediately. But, earlier that week my business had been significantly impacted by the mandatory power shutdowns in California and I had suffered some monetary loss. I explained the situation to my friend and she countered with, “yeah but, I’m using my exchange points, all you have to cover is food and drinks.” Dammit. No excuses. My belly felt hot and my head buzzed with overwhelm. My heart sank. What the heck kind of response was this to being invited to a girls’ beach getaway??
I mulled it over (and over) in my head, going back and forth about whether I should or shouldn’t, ranking up points in the “shouldn’t” category. I shared the news with my husband and waited nervously for his response. He looked at me over his reading glasses and said, “I don’t care. If you want to go, go! Have fun!” I noticed the ease with which he said this. No worries or concerns about money or my time away. He answered with “of course!” without any apprehension whatsoever. In fact, he was happy and excited that I could get some time away. That left me even more confused. Didn’t he know about the financial blow to my business?! Did he forget?
I texted my friend that yes I would go and I drove off to work. I tried to get excited but the feeling of dread was weighing in my belly. “WTF?!” I thought to myself. “What is this about?” And then the thoughts started, “I better make sure to leave the house clean and food cooked and…” OMG. It finally hit me. GUILT. Motherfucking guilt. I pulled over and stopped the car. I was guiltying myself for wanting to take a night away. Old stories of underservingness and scarcity flared up. They screamed that I did not deserve this and that I had lost too much income to justify this expense. I hadn’t done enough to warrant such an extravagance. (Did I mention that I would only have to cover food and drinks?) This old pervasive pattern of feeling unworthy and undeserving was back with a vengeance. Despite all of the years of inner work to move away from these old, damaging beliefs, they still managed to flare up and blemish an experience that was actually GOOD and that would bring me joy.
Sitting there pulled over I worked hard to separate myself form this voice and recognize it as the old, damaging belief that it was. I practiced having compassion for myself in that moment as I ached with the weight of this old belief. And then, I wept. I wept and wept and wept for me and for all of the women that I work with, and for friends and family in my life, who struggle with issues of worthiness and unnecessary guilt. I thought about the generations of women who have been conditioned to prioritize others before themselves, to see themselves as selfish and “bad” for taking time to care for themselves, , their bodies, their spirits, their souls. I wept for how this venom lives in our veins, poisons our hearts, and drowns our spirit.
So, after a good cry. I took a deep breath and gave myself grace for experiencing those upsetting and painful thoughts and feelings. I remembered all of the women in my life that share similar experiences and held them in compassion as well. I got angry that this story of unworthiness is so embedded in the cell structure of women’s entire beings and that it’s so hard to shake off. And then, I used that anger to propel me into the enjoyment of this trip. I used it to confirm and validate my worthiness to not only have this trip, but to enjoy the shit out of it! And finally, excitement and joy showed up and my heart was light with enthusiasm and anticipation for what the weekend ahead held.
The morning of the trip, it was a beautiful, sunny Fall day and I woke up early, eager with anticipation of the journey. I drove down the coast, watching the sunrise and headed to my friend’s house to pick her up. We continued on the coast, taking in the breathtaking views of the California coast, laughing, talking, connecting. We arrived at our destination and enjoyed a fabulous lunch, some wine tasting, and then a beautiful, clear sunset. There was more laughter, tears, serious talks, funny talks, and a shared awe of the beauty that was surrounding us.
Once I was able to recognize how my old story was showing up and how guilt was trying to swoop in and take me away from the enjoyment of my life, I was able to move through it, then past it. I was able to land back into my worth, my deservingness, and allow myself to enjoy the trip and the richness of the experience. In the end, I was able to indeed enjoy the shit out of it! I was so grateful to be able to move past guilt and into deep, heartfelt enjoyment. As I sat and watched the sunset and the waves and the sea otters, I sank deep into my heart and connected with how good it felt to release the guilt and relish in the experience of taking time for myself. And I vowed to live in this place of inner contentment, peace and deep sense of being worthy and
deserving, as often as I possibly could.