Missing Mom, Guilty Pleasures, and the Honey Badger

Last week marked the two year anniversary since my Mom died. And, of course, I miss her very much, and think about her every day. But I was thinking about the concept of guilt, and realized that since my mom died, I don’t really feel guilty about anything, anymore.
It’s not that my mom intentionally made me feel guilty. Well, maybe she did. We loved each other very much, never a doubt there, but we were very different people, and in spite of the fact that we were close, we clashed quite a bit. Her most frequent complaint was that I didn’t understand her. And my immediate response was that I probably didn’t, but that she didn’t understand me either. And, not every time, but too frequently, we would end our calls with her feelings hurt, and me feeling guilty.
I don’t think I really did understand her. I was disappointed in her choices for a long time, and because those choices seemed to lead her to an unhappy life, I couldn’t accept them either. I wanted her to be different, happier. I wanted her to take better care of herself. I felt that she had given up far too soon, and held onto regrets far too long, to the point where they stopped her from living a full and happy life.
I try very hard to be a “live and let live” kind of person, but with my mother, I couldn’t be. I loved her so much that her unhappiness was unbearable to me, and so I fought her with her because she couldn’t or wouldn’t change. I have a better understanding of that now. She wasn’t everything I wanted her to be, but she was everything she could be. Sometimes, loving someone has to be enough. I wish I could tell her that now, but I never spoke to her, even while we were quarreling, without telling her I loved her. And because she loved me so much, I know she would have forgiven me for wanting her to be someone else. So I can forgive myself, and with that, the guilt is gone.
So the idea of guilty pleasure is sort of bullshit to me, because unless what you’re doing is hurting someone, why should there be guilt about it? But it came to me a few nights ago that television is a guilty pleasure for me. I love TV, always have! And I watch quite a bit of it. But because I can’t stand the reality TV that seems to make up the most of programming these days, and I haven’t yet accomplished streaming all the hot “must see” shows, I have to fill in my TV hours with odd things, like random documentaries. This week I watched two of them.
The first one was called “Las Marthas” and was about this small Texas town, Laredo, that for the last hundred years or so, has had an annual celebration honoring the birthday of George Washington, where selected debutantes dress up in Martha Washington-style, extremely elaborate, gowns and are presented to the town. What makes it so fascinating is that the participants are young Latinas, who in spite of a struggling town economy spend thousands of dollars on their gowns to honor a colonial heritage that may not even have recognized them. It was a really interesting film, and presented a lot of different viewpoints about what the celebration meant to the various participants. I recommend it!
The other documentary I saw, as part of the Nova series, was about the Honey Badger. Remember a couple of years back, the hilarious viral video by a guy named Randall? “Honey Badger don’t care!” If you don’t, just google “Randall Honey Badger” and you’ll find it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Anyway, I had no idea that the Honey Badger was actually one of the fiercest animals of all! These cute little badger-looking like animals are actually more closely related to the weasel, and they are smart, ferocious and tough as nails. They will take on hyenas and lions without hesitation. They have some strange natural ability to eat poisonous snakes and sleep off the poison. As their name implies, they are crazy for honey and will suck it straight from the hive even as they are being attacked by hordes of angry bees. And, they can emit a foul odor out of their butts at will, kind of like a skunk. No wonder the Honey Badger don’t care! If you like to know about weird things like I do, try to find this Nova on rerun. I promise you, you will be educated and amused.
This feels like a sort of random post, going from my mom to guilt to the Honey Badger with a short stop at Las Marthas. But here’s where I’ll pull it all together. Honey Badger doesn’t feel any guilt either. And even though she always went by Marti, my Mom’s real name was Martha. And she liked really fancy clothes. And enjoyed a good pageant. And I loved her, and I miss her, and that’s all I can say.
The end, for now


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