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Don’t feel like you have to read my essay on guilt. I worked really hard on it, but no big deal.

When my grandmother disapproved of something I was doing she’d off-handedly tsk and say, “Oh, I thought you were smarter than that.”

Ow. Give me a second while I recover from that backhanded compliment.

Whether genuinely unaware of her manipulation or just believing I was too stupid to see through her psycho-babble, my grandmother had no qualms about letting me know exactly what she wanted.

“I don’t want to tell you what to do, honey, but it if were me…”

Translation – Do what I would do. Now.

And unlike my strong-willed cousin and her two “rotten” children, I could always be counted on to listen, to do the right thing even if it wasn’t necessarily the right thing for me. I hit the trifecta with my gender, my first born status and my Jewish heritage.

Oy, she wasn’t a boy, the least she can do is be a good girl.

And I was.

A natural people pleaser and child of divorce, I didn’t like to disappoint people, because honestly, I didn’t want people disappointed in me. I made the phone calls, brought the presents, volunteered for things I didn’t want. I said yes, when I wanted to say no. Guilt was my middle name. Along with Schmuckevoo.  And Kim. You know, only one of those is real, right? Schmuckevoo. It’s French.

Now after years of experience, and my grandmother only a voice in my head, I know that no one can guilt me. I’m the only one with that power, and it seems I’m a bit of a sadist.

Here’s some of the guilt I had yesterday….

I didn’t call my father, even though I knew I should.

I gave my kids cocoa puffs for breakfast.

I helped my son too much with his homework.

I picked up my kids toys after they neglected to.

I ate ice cream for lunch.

Here’s some of the guilt I had today…

I called my father, and wished I hadn’t.

I didn’t give my kids cocoa puffs for breakfast.

I didn’t help my son with his homework.

I put my affronted kid in his room for not picking up his toys

I ate ice cream for lunch.

It’s like I can’t win. I’m either doing too much or too little. With everything. For everyone. Was I short with my mother? Did I only let my father vent in monologue for a half hour before becoming impatient? Did I put my kids on the bus in the morning when they wanted me to drive? Did I jump to attention when they asked me to something for them, then yell in frustration when they didn’t return the favor? Did I not give them another snack? Did I give them too many snacks?

Was I good enough? Was I nice enough? Do people like me?

Bleh!! You can go crazy with these kinds of unproductive thoughts.

I’m over it.

I’m going to try to feel less guilty and do more things for me.

Unless of course you need anything.

Oy. This world is heavy.

Oy. This world is heavy.