I prefer not to think of my own guilt or culpability if there’s any way it can be avoided. Surely this is a universal characteristic in my species, but it doesn’t make that admission any pleasanter. It’s lousy enough to think of myself as being quite so continually fallible and messy as I am without having to admit that it’s probably avoidable much of the time, and definitely not something I should just let slide or pretend I don’t have to attempt to amend. Being imperfect is crummy enough in itself, and when I look at my shortcomings and think of what I should be doing to let go of them and, presumably, to repair their damage, it’s more than a little bit overwhelming.
It’s all well and good to sit and read a rip-roaring murder mystery novel and cluck with self-satisfied disapprobation at the terrible things those awful people do in it, but if I think I’m all spiffy-clean and untouchably innocent I’m just as deluded as any. I may take some delicate form of self-righteous umbrage should anyone dare to note that I’m not so much better than the petty criminals I love to decry in that movie I just saw, or to think myself piously, wonderfully holier than the lowlifes on the evening news who have done Such Terrible Things I can hardly bear to mention them, but what I conveniently disguise to my own satisfaction as trivial and wholly excusable imperfections might just as well be the crime of the century if they harmed another person or set something in the world off kilter, however indirectly or unintentionally.
While it galls me beyond words to see other people painting over their own horrible inward rot with every excuse in the book or, as is the amazingly popular pastime among our kind, by blaming everyone except themselves for whatever’s wrong in the world, I hate to be reminded that I so often do the same. Mea culpa is easier to say than the plain truth of it in my mother tongue: I did it. I was wrong. I am sorry. I will endeavor to make this right. But at some point, whether all of the Other Guy suspects are ruled out or not, my own guilt should find me out, and I should be willing to stand up and confess.
If I don’t, my beloved sisters will eventually remember what I got up to ‘way back when we were small, and will finally tell on me. And I’ll have to admit to everybody that I was really hoping someone else with a slightly itchy conscience would’ve stood up and taken the blame for my stupidity and wrongdoings before I had to come out into the spotlight. Well, I did it. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure I was the rotten fool that messed up so royally, and I do apologize. The truth of it will surely be revealed. I hope you’ll be gentle with me, as it’s just possible you know how it feels, too.