I walked out of my Art class 6 minutes too early two days ago. Sounds trivial, I know, but I have a lot wrapped up in guilt.
Back when I got bullied, I didn’t hate. I figured that cursing their names wouldn’t make me any different than them. It was all I had to hold onto because the last thing I wanted was to become my enemy.
That rigid sense of right and wrong never left me. I clutch onto it like Gollum does his precious because I deeply fear becoming as evil as them. Any deviance, no matter how small, from my perception of goodness sends guilt tearing through my body. People think I’m just foolish always trying to do what’s right, but they don’t see what happens when I don’t.
Then there’s my sensitivity to punishment. You know how some people can get brutally yelled at and it doesn’t faze them in the slightest? I’m not one of them. My throat closes and my hair stands on end even if I’m not the one being yelled at. I don’t know why. All I know is how unsafe and scared I feel in these situations.
All that culminated into me feeling extremely guilty two days ago. I was convinced that my teacher would flunk me for my next project because I’d committed such a grave sin. Then, my parents would hate me and probably make me drop out of university because I was incompetent enough to flunk an art class that I signed up for.
Sound unreasonable? It does to me as I write this too. I take a lot of things too seriously.(That kept me alive back then too.) At any rate, I think I missed out on some important truths in my guilt-induced stupor:
- Everyone sins.
- I’m not one sin away from becoming a heartless, sadistic, embodiment of hatred.
- I’m not a heartless, sadistic, embodiment of hatred pretending to be a good person.
- I sin. I’m one sin away from God’s forgiveness. I’m me.
Everyone has good and evil within them, it’s up to us which one we become, and nobody’s falling from grace on my watch. I didn’t come this far to turn around. I came here to change something I didn’t like. I’m not hanging on by a thread anymore. There was a point when compassion and love were the last things I felt for anyone — including myself — and that time has passed. I’m keeping it that way. Fun fact about phoenixes: Once they’re reborn, they don’t go back to their old selves.
Maybe the time has come to re-examine my beliefs about goodness. Maybe there’s more wiggle room than I thought. Maybe I’m blurring the line between right and wrong too much. Whatever the case, I’m sure I’ll find the answer.