Lately I’ve been feeling guilty—which is ironic because I am unapologetic. I wake up in the middle of the night having experienced hopelessness in a fantas(tic) world made up by my subconscious whims. And yet I am well rested. My reflections suggest that I should have done more in this world so that I can feel more empowered in my dreams.

Why do I feel guilty? Is it because of the crimes I’ve committed in the real? Oh my crimes are not against humanity. My crimes are against self. The delicacies that I’ve consumed, or the indiscretions I’ve endured—either way I felt secretly entitled to experience a life that is neither secret nor privileged.

My guilt stems from indulging in those wonderful prohibitions—those things that I’ve convinced myself that I’m not supposed to have access. When I look around, everyone else is reserved and conserved and absurd in their properness. So I pretend to be like them to satisfy an audience that does not exist.

I nurture my plants and groom my pets with the upmost empathy, but I care less for my self because I pretend it doesn’t matter. I sneak a peak at the chocolates that are hidden away, but I’ll deliberately eat one olive to taste the bitterness of abundance. Is there such a thing?

My guilt is not enough to condemn me. There are no handcuffs or trials awaiting my soul. Nope. Just sleep. As the sun rises, I recognize the missed rest that was taken by the busy dreams and hopeless nightmares that medicine won’t remedy.

My guilt is heightened by indulgence in the midst of a pandemic. The divot in my couch exposes excessive emptiness, motionless consumption of junk news, junk food, and fiction because I will not step outside to smell the freshness of ungroomed gardens or the stench of unremoved trash.

My guilt is wriggled with inability to move amidst the protests. My struggle to remain still when the earth has been shaken. The battery on my phone runs low because the charger is upstairs. That alone should be enough to motivate me. But upstairs is where the bed resides! And that ascent will be rewarded with another remote and an empty glass of wine. No! The guilty pleasures are for the others! I shall stay put (with my limp phone) and my aroused (emotions).

I’m not guilty. I’m fat! Glutinous and unkept. Unexercised and oozing with ideas. Ponderings and anxiety hanging on my follicles like foliage from my fangs, which only get brushed once a day now, by the way. My liberties are wasted on what I don’t want to do rather than on what I should be allowed to do.

Those entitled and “privileged” people who show off their skills are flaunting their own guiltless follies while I watch in disgust. My guilt is doing everything the opposite of what they’re doing wrong. But that doesn’t make me wrong, right?

As I wake up, my dry knuckles scratch the crusty mucus from my moist eyes. No make-up for this face because black and white selfies can’t reveal grey hair any more than color photos can expose bad breath. Day 100 of a lock-down when everyone refuses to calm down, sit down, or slow down. My obedience is surely someone else’s disobedience. Therefore my guilt is their pride.

I don’t know. Pass the butter.