On Shaming

Krispy Kreme recently announced they would give a free donut every day for the rest of the year to anyone who showed they have been vaccinated. A friend tagged me on a post on Facebook to let me know because I love donuts. I sent it to my brother and sister who have been vaccinated. I thought it was a cool promotion. Others did not. I still see articles every day where people are very angry about this because donuts can make you fat and fat people are terrible and shouldn’t exist. See Dr. Wen below.

We want to shame Krispy Kreme, a donut place, for trying to get people to eat donuts. We want to shame people who would go eat donuts, especially if they qualified for the vaccine because of their weight.

Shaming is nothing new, but it seems to be really en vogue now.

We shame others for not isolating as much as we are. Early on people on Twitter were calling anyone who didn’t do things exactly as they did “grandma killers” I unfollowed an actor on Twitter because he did this every day. Every single person he came across who he judged to be deficient in their Covid protocols were “grandma killers” and pretty much everyone but him was deficient.

We shame others for isolating instead of just living their life. They are called sheep who blindly follow the government and don’t think for themselves.

The government tries to use shame and judging to get people to follow their rules. If we were better people and did the right thing everything would be fine. They’ve done everything right and the only reason cases are up is because we aren’t good enough.

I’ve seen instances of people posting about their vaccine on Facebook only to be barraged with questions about how they qualified for the vaccine. Most with the implication that they didn’t think they should have been able to get vaccinated so they obviously cheated. We are out there yelling for everyone to get the shot, but then we question people when they get the shot because we assume they did something wrong to get their shot. This is why even though I share every random thought in my head I will not post my vaccination on social media.

There was a letter to one of the advice columns in the paper today where someone complained that friends of theirs “cheated” to get vaccinated as teachers. They do teach, but online only at the moment so she thought they should be ashamed of themselves for getting vaccinated. She was also eligible like them, but she was a “good person” who was saving that shot for someone who needed it more. The sad thing – the advice person agreed with her and said they used a “loophole” and it were being deceptive and unethical. I don’t know their exact situation. All I know is that even if I think it is dumb for a certain group to be eligible, I think everyone in that group should jump at the chance to be vaccinated. We aren’t doing anyone any good of we shame people about the vaccine enough that we slow down the process of getting everyone vaccinated.

Shaming is nothing new. I write this post, You Are the Biggest Loser, in 2014 after everyone had opinions about a woman who won The Biggest Loser. The news was full of doctors who had an opinion about her losing so much weight and how it was unhealthy. So, we have Dr. Wen saying giving people donuts is bad because fat people are bad but also doctors saying losing too much weight is bad. You can’t win.

Judging and shaming is always bad. I think it is worse when we add it on top of the stress and anxiety of a pandemic.

On Guilt

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.com

This is the topic I planned to write about when life interrupted on Thursday. I should have written it later that day anyway and scheduled it for today while it was fresh in my mind.

If you read my blog regularly you would know that I scheduled a vaccine appointment thinking the appointments were available because the governor was going to announce a new phase of eligibility that afternoon. He did not and still has not. We might be the last state that opens eligibility for “non-essential” under 65 year olds. I considered keeping the appointment. I didn’t think they would ask questions. They would just give me the shot and move along. Others told me I should keep it. I canceled it because I was already losing sleep over the thought of keeping it when I was not eligible. I knew I would lose even more sleep if I got the shot. I would be consumed with guilt to the point that I would make myself sick.

Guilt is a topic that has come up in my therapy sessions so I thought I would talk through it here.

Guilt is not always a bad thing. You need to feel guilt if you do something wrong. If you do something wrong and feel no guilt about it, is there anything that will stop you from doing it again? Or even escalating the bad acts? I’ve always been amazed at the people who seem to feel no guilt about things. The people who lie and cheat their way through life and don’t feel bad about it at all. The type of people who probably have lied about their job to jump the vaccination line(tempting since Hogan seems to have no plans to ever expand eligibility) The type of people who cheat on their spouses regularly. How do they live with themselves? Even if I felt like I wanted to do that I know that any fleeting moment of enjoyment would be overpowered by a level of guilt that would consume me for the rest of my life. Even at my lowest moments, my knowledge of my extreme levels of guilt would stop me from doing anything too bad.

Guilt, though, can also start to seep in to make you feel bad about yourself when you shouldn’t. This is what we have talked about in therapy. Now that I am not working and I am trying to write I feel guilty when I take a break or stop writing early afternoon. I feel guilty about taking time to read during the day even though we have talked about how reading actually helps with writing. I feel guilty when I wrap my day up at 2PM even though I started working on the blog and other things by 8am. I feel like some mysterious “they” is out there judging me for not being productive enough. I’ve fallen prey to the American thought that if you aren’t working to the point of exhaustion you aren’t good enough. I felt guilty when we went to visit family over Christmas even though we tested and quarantined before we left, tested again when we got there and tested again when we returned. We did everything right and still I felt the judgment of “them” I never feel like I’m good enough and the guilt creeps in whenever I do anything that feels less than perfect. Its not a good way to live.

My therapist will ask me when I feel the guilt if I would think my kids were doing something wrong if they were in my position. When I first met with her I was a few days away from going to Kentucky for the holidays and was in post-test quarantine. She noticed that I braced myself for judgment when I told her that. She pointed out that she had no negative reaction about it and asked since my kids were already there if I felt they were doing something wrong. If not, why do I feel like I’m doing something wrong for doing the same thing. That question has come up a few times. The answer is always no. I am judging myself against a standard to which I hold no one else and always finding that I come up short. I guilt myself over things that are not wrong. I project those feelings on to other people and assume they are judging me as well and finding fault.

Guilt can be a good thing in the right situation. Overwhelming guilt in situations where it is not warranted is a problem and can keep you from enjoying life.