healing, Owning It!, The Hard Stuff, Video, Vulnerability

A Video About Guilt Wherein I Tell It To F*ck Off.

May 19, 2014


Eff Guilt. With my dirty hair, bad lighting, no makeup, and a big ass glass of wine, I send you a video I did on one take. Because that’s how I’m rolling right now. Free. Or, as my friend Kathleen Emmets would say, “F*ck it.”

Here is the blurb I wrote on guilt:

Sitting here with my broken foot has allowed me a lot of time to think. I’ve been thinking about guilt and how so much of my life has been swaddled in guilt. The last words I said to my dad when I was 8, and he was 38 were: I hate you. Then he died. Just like that. I mean, there were a few hours in between where I jumped on a bed and my aunt babysat while paramedics tried to revive the life back into him but basically the time between those words and his death was minimal. I felt guilty. All my life, my “go to” emotion is guilt. I take off work, I feel guilty the whole night. I feel guilty for this or that. It’s work for me to let go of guilt. It’s an old old deeply imbedded seed.
So, I’m laying around, pretty much immobilized because of my foot. And I’m bummed. I won’t lie to you. Why would I? I’m a truth teller. I’m bummed, but get this- I feel oddly calm and present. You know why? For the first time, in a long time, I don’t feel like I SHOULD be doing something else, I SHOULD be somewhere else, that I have to go, go, go. Because I can’t. I truly cannot move right now so I have to be still. Normally, if I lay around with pajamas on, I feel guilty. I do it but I feel guilty about it. But right now I am freed of any guilt and I feel good about that. I have space to write and create, even though I am a little sad. What I realize, even though I already knew this obviously, is that guilt is a trap. It immobilized me way more than any broken foot could.
I am so tired of it. It keeps you from being here. It keeps us locked in a land of SHOULDS, and I SUCK.
When my foot heals, I will remember this moment of absolute freedom- this moment of knowing that the only possible place I can be is right here. Yes, I am forced (literally forced) to learn this knowledge the hard way but you reading this? You don’t have to break your foot to release yourself from the prison of guilt.
If you f*cking like something, like it. And be done with it.
The prisons we build for ourselves are far stronger than any casts on our feet.
So, I don’t feel guilty that I should be out enjoying this gorgeous sunny day.
I don’t feel guilty that I am not out exercising.
I don’t feel guilty that my hair is ten days unwashed.
I don’t feel guilty that I feel frustrated.
I don’t feel guilty that I am sitting all day.
I don’t fel guilty that I took a week off of work.
I hope you understand the freedom I am talking about here.
It took a broken foot for me. For you? Just do what you’re gonna do. And let that, be that.



xo Jen. ps, I am only doing ONE workshop in LA. June 7th. I have only a couple spots left so book asap here or email barbara at jenniferpastiloff.com to sign up. 

Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer living on an airplane. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, among others. She’s the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen’s leading a long weekend retreat to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif. She and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up:  Los Angeles, SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, Dallas.

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  • Reply barbarapotter May 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Haha love it dirty hair and all.

  • Reply jerkasaurusrex May 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    My hair wouldn’t look like that even a day after not washing it… so pretty! <3

    Guilt vs. Shame… same thing? Totally different? Feels the same? Just a though.

  • Reply Mandy May 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Can I like this post 100 times? 🙂 if I lived near LA I’d take your workshop!

  • Reply yogacatie May 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Yes! I recently tore my ACL in my knee, it’s amazing what you learn just sitting on your ass, huh? I loved how everything slowed down and I was so present in each moment. Now, as I’m healing and starting to move faster, I’m trying to keep all that I’ve learned.

  • Reply VictoriaP May 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Absolutely LOVE this post! Thank you so much!

  • Reply freudianfalls May 30, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Reblogged this on Life As I Know It.

  • Reply The Poop of Life. | The Manifest-Station June 8, 2014 at 10:13 am

    […] Jen asked me to write something, I thought I’d scribble about guilt because her post on that topic inspired our meeting. So, I did what any good teacher would do, and I went to see what […]

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