View this post on Instagram
Guilt is such an ugly word.
Like someone who is ashamed of the way she looks, guilt hides, hoping to go unnoticed, and undetected.
In fact, I used to think the word “guilty” was just another way to disguise “ugly.” As a child, the order of the “g-u-l” for both “guilty” and “ugly” seemed to be just a play on letters, but the feelings attached to both words were very distinct.
“I wonder how much of what weighs me down is not mine to carry.” ~ Aditi
I didn’t even realize how much guilt I carried until lately—as in the past week or so.
I always recognized the guilt that I felt as a working mother and for the time I wasn’t spending at home—with plenty of people making sure I felt guilty about not witnessing every single milestone that my child was making.
Yet, aside from the label of being a mom, there was plenty of other guilt that I was holding on to which was going undetected in my body and sabotaging who I was trying to become.
I’ve recently recognized how much guilt I was holding in me. The guilt of not having been the perfect child, the guilt of not choosing the right man, the guilt of not having honored my heart’s truest desires, the guilt of not having been braver and standing up for myself more often, the guilt of having been successful—and the list goes on…
Yet, something changed the moment I came to realize how much of this negativity was lurking inside.
By shining the light of self-acceptance and self-love on these dark and moldy corners of my deeply entrenched thought process—I managed to free myself from guilt.
It was like something inside me finally clicked.
I had built an identity all these years, all by myself, with this guilt being a big part of me. I had practically forgotten who I was without it.
Funny enough, the minute I accepted the fact that all the guilt was there—like acknowledging the presence of that silently ashamed girl who stood in the corner of the room—the weight of all the guilt lifted. I felt more whole.
So right there, right then, I decided I wasn’t going to apologize for being myself anymore.
I wasn’t going to keep hiding behind that mask, hoping to be accepted and to fit in.
I’m not sure if this is because I just celebrated my 39th birthday, but I do know that I stopped caring what others thought of me.
In the past—like last week—when someone stared at me on the train or in the elevator, I would wonder what they thought of me. I would reflect on how I dressed for the day, whether my skin was in good condition, or whether my shoes matched my outfit. But then, that self-conscious voice stopped coming up. When I saw some stranger staring at me, I would just look back at them, intently. Sometimes they would turn their gaze away out of awkwardness and sometimes they would smile. With each passing gaze, I was able to flick those burdens and guilt off my shoulders—where it doesn’t belong.
The simple act of writing this article for me is also a step toward honoring my true self.
You see, I always wanted to be “a writer.” Yet for 101 reasons, I never embraced that side of myself. The longer I ignored that calling, the more the guilt built up. I would make excuses, procrastinate, and then feel guilty for not having taken action.
That was the guilt cycle. Repeat, repeat, and repeat—for more than a decade.
So, as my fingers caress the keyboard, I am feeling ecstatic for finally letting things flow.
Oh, and the silent and ashamed girl standing in the corner—I also realized that she was me.
And now she no longer needs to be silent.