Last night my conscience appeared before me in the form of E, a good friend of hers, and someone I’d never met before, to interrogate me in the inquisition of the thing I’m most ashamed of. Judge, jury and executioner, relentlessly coming at me for hour after hour. And the verdict? Guilty. My greatest fears about myself have been realized – they’re all true and I am scum, slime, a despicable human being; a monster.
As painful as it is – and I assure you it’s painful – they have probably done me a service. They have shown me how much my conscience hates me, the lengths it will go to to drag me down and hold me there. They have exposed my guilt and let me stew in its festering stench. I am glad it is out in the open, where the fresh air can cleanse it until there is nothing left for the shame to attach to.
What scares me most is everybody discovering this thought that most shames me, but it is too late now – if word is to spread, there is nothing I can do to stop it. And word spreads very fast in this community. And in a sense, the further and thicker my shame is spread, the faster it will disperse.
It has been living with me for long enough now. I don’t need it, don’t want it any more. Guilt is no way to live. Somewhere, suffocating under this fetid mess, the purity of innocence still shines. Once this ugly veil is discarded, maybe it will be easier to find.