So sang Bananarama in their 1987 hit Love in the First Degree. Do you know it only got to number 3 in the charts; it was beaten to number 1 by Pump Up the Volume. A classic no doubt, but my pocket money went on the ‘Rama. How can you not love the ‘Rama? Anyways, I digress. I was 10 in 1987, my clothes came from Tammy Girl and C&A, I fervently believed my toys came alive when I left the room and I had an almighty crush on Phillip Schofield who had broken my heart by leaving the Broom Cupboard. I was also well on the way to developing the guilt complex I carry around with me every day. Poor 10 year old Bearface.
I feel guilty about everything. Really, everything. I feel guilty about the books on my shelf that are shoved to the back, never seeing the light of day because I have to double them up because I have more books than shelf space, I feel guilty about the sweet cat that’s taken to frequenting my balcony in the mornings, even though she is clearly well fed and looked after, I feel guilty about the old people who now have to walk a bit further down the road to the temporary bus stop that’s outside my house. I recognise these are ridiculous things to feel guilty about, and yet feel guilty I do.
Never mind how I feel about the people I know and the things I do, or don’t do. This is where my guilt complex really takes over. I feel terrible that I have let down a number of friends whilst I’ve been in my depressive slump. Not that anyone has said “You’ve let me down, Bearface” – well one has but that’s a whole other story – but I feel like I have. I feel like I’ve been a bad friend, selfish and self-obsessed. I have a huge amount of guilt about my mum, that I didn’t do enough to support her through the last months and weeks of her life, that I didn’t love her enough to put her first. I feel guilty that I don’t do enough to help my siblings cope with our rather difficult father. For fuck’s sake I feel guilty when I see people arguing in the street and don’t intervene, when clearly it’s got bugger all to do with me! See? Guilty about everything.
Now it hasn’t escaped my notice that in a certain light this could be viewed as entirely narcissistic – it’s all about me. But guess what? Yes! I feel guilty about that too. My therapist and I are going to be exploring all this guilt, where it comes from and how I can stop it from controlling my thoughts and behaviour. It’s pretty easy for me to trace where it comes from but it’s a vicious circle which I need to break free of.
Right this second I am feeling guilty about the face that in the opening paragraph of this post I expressed a preference for Love in the First Degree over Pump Up the Volume. Yeah, this really has to stop!