Friday, February 10, 2017

The power of guilt...and dentist offices

Let’s start this thought provoking blog with just a few random comments.
-          A lot of people have been asking “why aren’t you on the show?” My focus is on other areas of the show these days, but here’s some good news! We’re starting to do Podcasts! I’m putting mine together now and I’ll tape it on Monday with a very special guest. Stay tuned for “Stuff With Shanon.”
-          Call me crazy, but I don’t want to go to a dentist office with a name that could also be used for a night club with shirtless men and glow sticks. Dentistry doesn’t have to be hip! Keep it simple. A doctor’s name will suffice for me.
-          I recently finished watching all of the Bourne movies for the first time. I have a couple of questions.
1.      Where in the heck does Jason Bourne get all the money he needs to travel and live?
2.      Does the Asset get paid like a person in a speaking role does? If not, they’re getting super screwed. So intense?

Now onto the serious stuff. I wrote most of this yesterday while I had Jake at my apartment. He slept for like an hour, but my mind was racing. So this is what I made a note of.

The Power of Guilt

Humans are funny creatures, aren't we? Isn't it amazing how we have so many gifts given to us, like opposable thumbs, the ability to feel emotions, and the brain power to think and create anything we could ever imagine...but a lot of humans still just suck at life?

We have the power to do so much good in this world, yet a lot of people choose to ignore their good and show all of their bad. Why? 

That's the question that makes me lose so much sleep at night. Why? 

I know that I'm not very book smart, but I think that I have a decent amount of emotional intelligence. (Thanks Taylor from the Bachelor) I have the ability to love, show empathy, laugh, and even rationalize things that I probably shouldn't. I know that most people in the world have the same capabilities, but they choose to ignore them and be complete jerk faces instead. 

I know that for me, guilt is a seriously powerful force. It causes me to think a lot about where I've been and where I'm going. It causes me to want to learn from my mistakes and do better in the future. It causes me to cry until I have snot dripping down my chin. It's powerful, isn't it? Not many things can do that to me.

I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about guilt. I've been feeling it. Some of my guilt is justified while most of it is the crazy in me coming out. 

Last night I had a bit of a meltdown. Here's some insight into that. 

My sister and brother in law moved to Maui after my nephew, Ethan, and his grandpa, Rolando, drowned on July 13, 2011. They needed time and space to heal. While they were there my sister got pregnant and gave birth to Jake. He's 2 years old and asleep next to me right now. 

You can see lots of pics of both kids on my FB page. 

I worshiped the ground that Ethan walked on. To say that he was my world is probably an understatement. I didn't know how powerful the feeling of love could be until Ethan. 

When we lost him, I was devastated. I still am to some degree. I had never felt a pain quite like that before. It's still so vivid in my head. My sister’s call telling me about the accident. Every inch of road driving to the hospital. Seeing him and kissing him while he lay there in the hospital. 

I swore that I would never love anyone as much as I loved him. How is that even possible? I didn't know I was capable of that much feeling towards anyone else. Just like that, though, the person I loved the most ever was gone. 

A few years after that I get into a relationship where there are kids involved. Three of them. Before I knew it, I loved each of them as much as I knew how to. I structured my life around them. School pickup, homework, sick days, missed doses of medicine in the middle of the day at school, doctor’s appointments…whatever they needed, I wanted to be there. I loved them in their own ways. I had a different kind of connection with each of them. 

It wasn't usually easy. I allowed for my feelings to get hurt by kids who didn't know the weight of their actions and tantrums. But when you truly love people, you love them through the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between, right?

With the love I felt for those kids came guilt. Ethan would've been the same age as the little boy I called and treated as my own. Was he looking down on me upset because I loved another child...or three other much as my heart would allow? Did he feel like he was being replaced? 

That relationship ended and I'm not allowed to see or talk to the kids. That's the only part of it ending that bothers me. If I'm not wanted anymore, fine. It happens. But it seems really awful that when the kids think of me, the memory of me just not being there anymore is one that will be poignant in their minds. They didn't get to hear me say that grown up failures are no reflection of the way we feel about them. And I have no idea what was said to them about the situation. That’s scary and it sucks.

I do feel guilty for that, but it's not my choice. However, that guilt is still very present in my mind and heart. I know that they felt my love, but my leaving caused them confusion and pain. Again, not my choice, but that’s the reality. 

It's been a few months now and I still think of them often. I wish I knew how they were doing. I feel bad for the things that happened in their little minds after I was gone. I feel pretty terrible about the fact that, in the end, I was lead to believe that I was responsible for what was happening. Come to find out, that was a coward’s excuse for rocking everybody's world in the worst way possible. I took the blame for a while, but I don’t anymore.

The guilt in this situation is not where it belongs. I know that for sure. I was lied to and called crazy for saying outright what really was happening. Just more proof of the fact that life isn’t fair.

Shortly after I moved out of our home, my sister, brother in law, and nephew, Jake, moved back to Texas. It was finally my chance to get to know my nephew/God son. 

He's the best. He's so smart and funny. His spirit will make even the worst days seem better. However, I sometimes feel guilt for loving him this way. 

Does Ethan look down and think that I'm trying to replace him with his brother? 

That's SO stupid! My head knows that it's so ridiculous, but I can't help it. Does Ethan look down to see me with Jake and get upset about it? Does he know that while I love them both with my whole heart, that I love them in different ways? They're such different people. I talk to Jake about his big brother. We look at pictures together. It doesn't feel like it's enough, though. 

Then I start to get upset because maybe that feeling has caused me to hold back with Jake. Have I not shown him love to the fullest of my ability because of fear and guilt? That's so unfair! Why would any sane person allow guilt to impede their relationship with someone who's totally innocent and deserving? 

So last night I had some wise words thrown at me while I melted down. I can't change anything about the past. I cannot control how anyone else feels or how they deal with those feelings. I can, however, focus my energy on people who deserve it. Jake deserves for me to put my feelings of guilt aside and love him as much as I possibly can. I deserve the chance to give that to him. It's so rewarding. I don't deserve to live under a constant blanket of guilt anymore. Not for love that I’ve felt and not for the choices of other people. 

I know who I am as a person and I know that I'm worthy of good. I'm due for some good in my life. I deserve that. Murphy’s law can get the heck outta my life.

I don't deserve to be hindered by anyone else's feelings of guilt. This is one thing that can make people do some crazy stuff. It can cause a person to convince themselves of giant non-truths. Why? Because it's easier that way. It's easier to project your own screwed up reality onto other people than it is to honestly face it.

Someone at some point in my life told me that you don't know to look in the closet unless you've hidden there before. Before you go and try and place a guilt trip on another person, do some soul searching first. Chances are that the way you feel about others is a huge reflection of how you see yourself. 

In the end, we all have enough of our own personal reasons to feel guilty about stuff. We don’t need other people dog piling onto that. So try not to suck at life! Own your actions, feelings, thoughts, and everything else. Don’t give another person any power over you by allowing their words to lead you to a feeling of guilt. Seriously.

And listen to my podcast when it’s posted.

Thank you guys! I’m truly grateful to have people who will read my long naptime rambling.



  1. Shanon... I truly believe that Ethan sent you an angel...AKA Jake. To love and care for just as you did him. I think our loved ones see our pain but never hold any resentment. Think of it as a gift/ blessing that Ethan had some sort of role in bringing back your joy in Jake. He is smiling down on you all for sure ;)

  2. I lost my mother in May of 2015. My mother in law and I have grown since that time in ways I never imagined. My father remarried just 9 months later and it rocked my world. I completely understand this blog post. Life throws you into situations with no handbook and we all do the best we can. Guilt and resentment rank up there with two of the hardest things to deal with or overcome. I have learned though that the people we lose don't lose their capacity to love us. Sounds strange I admit. At first my relationship changes with my mother in law bothered me. Slipping and calling her mom once. Asking her how to cook something. Knowing that I would've asked my mom. Then I remember who she was, and she would want it for me. She was selfless and the last thing she'd want is me feeling guilty for having a person in my life that is a comfort. She would tell me to hang on to her and to keep building. Nothing replaces her and I know that. So does she. Or I believe she does. Gone, but not that far away I guess is how I see it.

  3. Very nicely written Shanon! I do wish I could formulate my thoughts into words as well as you!

  4. That was a good reflection. I can understand why you feel that way and I think I do the same thing. It's wise to acknowledge it and adjust. I am wondering if you read these comments and do you reply when a reply in warranted?