The other day, a
family member friend said to me “I don’t ever feel guilty.” My mouth dropped open and I had to use a backhoe to shut it because it had fallen to the center of the earth. Out of all the people I know on this planet, and I know quite a few, this person should feel bucket loads of guilt. She has walked all over people, screamed obscenities at strangers, was voted the meanest girl in high school, and sees no problem with taking advantage of her family.
Long after our conversation, I thought about her statement and decided either she is trying to talk herself out of feeling guilty or she is delusional. However, this morning I realized that there is a third option. She doesn’t see herself the same way everyone else does. Let me illustrate this with a story.
A couple of years ago, my baby sister (I am one of six children), laughed at the way I man-hugged her complete with a hearty pat on the back. She said “You’re not tactile,” and my husband had the nerve to agree with her. For three days, I stewed about that comment. I was to tactile. I hugged my children. I hugged my husband and I’d done far more with him that resulted in three children. Finally, I verbally expressed my disagreement to my husband. He proceeded to list fifteen examples (yes I’m neurotic enough to count them) of times I’d backed away from non family members when they invaded my space. By the time he was done, I realized that he and my sister were right. I was not tactile. However, for thirty-four years, I’d considered myself a tactile person.
Back to my
family member friend who said she didn’t feel guilt. I think she might not have the right perspective of her actions. And as usual, it led me to wonder about my characters in my current WIP. How do they perceive themselves? Do other characters see them differently and how might I use that to my advantage? I’ll be thinking of this as I write and maybe if I’m ever published, you just might see a similar example in one of my books.
Then again maybe all of these theories are wrong and she just doesn’t care about offending/hurting other people. And you just might see this scenario too.