Saturday 19 May 2012

Not Guilty

What are your thoughts on 'catholic guilt'? It's probably a concept that recent generations are blissfully unaware of. Thank goodness!

My parents were 'faux catholics', which is sort of like faux fur, but instead of wearing synthetics, you send your children to a catholic school, but don't go to church, which was the done thing in the 70's. Therefore i was educated at an all girls catholic convent school for 12 long years. Until the age of about 12 that meant a large percentage of my education was carried out by nuns. Then after primary school the nuns started to thin out and were really only present in low numbers for their fear inducing qualities.

                                                       the nuns at my school were 'serious'

One thing the nuns were big on was promoting guilt. The type of guilt that stays with you forever. The type of guilt that seeps into your bones and oozes out when you least expect it. I am blood type 'guilt' if anybody needs a transfusion.

Now i am a 'mostly' rational, intelligent and grounded human being, so why do i carry this around? I'm not catholic. Well, i was told from the age of 5 that i was born with guilt, the guilt of a man's death. Surely this irrational guilt should pass with time? But it hasn't, because i also suffer from second generation guilt, an extremely potent type of guilt that is resistant to all medications excluding wine.The nuns and to a certain extent, my mother, were just passing on what they thought they knew and felt, what haunted their dreams, what limited them. I still to this day retain my ecclesiastic guilt. Did you know that if i do the wrong thing the world will come to an end? I'm sure I'm not alone in my age group, carrying around such a heavy load every day. No wonder my back and shoulders are always sore!

It's hard to explain this disease, and it is like a disease. The closest i can come to it is the feeling of when i was abused once as a child. I felt guilty for being at the abusers house in the first place. Guilt made me a victim twice.

I haven't managed to exorcise the nuns of school days past, but i do moderate them by exploring other aspects of myself when guilt attacks. Hence, the name of my blog, "guilt and whimsy". My whimsy gives me freedom and i worship my freedom. Guilt cannot exist on a whim. The other inspiration for the title of my blog was one of my favourite reads, "The Book of Qualities", by J Ruth Gendler.

                                                                 beautiful Whimsy

                                                                        the book

She gives qualities a relationship, they are a family and they interact like one. Every time i read the book i am drawn to a different member of the family. Check it out and see which one draws you in. Today, for me, it's 'Intuition', tomorrow it may be 'Forgiveness', hope it's not 'Guilt' again!