(I wasn't trying to go) On a Bear Hunt

A couple of weeks ago, someone who works with Sam hit a bear on the way into work.  Warner Robins isn't a particularly rural area.  We've got enough "civilization" going on that this is kind of weird.  Granted, it was way the heck outside of the city limits...but still.  A bear?  Really?  (Isn't it too hot in Georgia for those things anyway?)  So this was on my mind.  I discussed it with my boss who informed me that the DNR trapped a bear in his brother's backyard a couple of years ago.  He *does* live in the city limits.  That had me a little on edge.

Flash forward to my weekend in Sylvania over the 4th:

It was hot, but I'm on an exercising kick (it was kind of a New Year's Resolution, but I hesitate to call it that because that means it'll fizzle as soon as I utter the words).  It's been my goal to do *some* sort of physical activity every day...no matter how small.  So, I decided to take a walk.  My in-laws have a meandering dirt road for a driveway and it's about a half a mile (give or take) from their house to the paved road.  I was going to walk to the end, past the pond (it really is beautiful there), through the pine trees.  I got about 3/4 of the way down the driveway when I heard a noise...a moan, if you will...coming from the trees. 

Here's where I have to pause the story for a second and explain how crazy I am.  Whenever I jog in the neighborhood at home, I'm constantly on the lookout for dogs.  I was attacked by a stupid, little dog when I was a little girl and I've been afraid of them ever since.  So while I'm running, any little noise triggers this survival instinct in me and I start looking for a place to climb...like the bed of a neighbors truck, on top of a mailbox, what have you...

Back to the moaning...

As soon as I heard it, I start eyeing up the pine trees.  "Yeah, that one looks good, I can probably climb up that one."  Then I start thinking...there aren't any dogs in the woods in Sylvania.  This is weird.  Then I thought it...what if it was a bear?!?!  I wouldn't know what to do, other than climb a tree...and can't bears climb trees better than humans?  I probably couldn't outrun a bear...and that's probably not what you're supposed to do anyway.  Do you play dead?  (I think my suburban roots are really showing in this.)  So, I stopped in my tracks, imagination running wild...and slowly turned back around towards the house (which, by the way is completely out of sight...if I was attacked by a bear, my body wouldn't exactly be noticeable from their front porch).

I started walking...slowly...then faster...then I was practically jogging in my flip-flops back to the house.  I cut across the field, trying to distance myself from the pine trees and that mysterious noise (that I'd only heard that one time).  I was breathing a little easier, probably because my body would be noticeable from the front porch now...and they might even be able to hear me scream for help!

Then I made it...back into the safety of the house (and the a/c...thank God for that!).  Sam just kind of looked at me.  And then all at once, it hit me. 

How ridiculous was it that I had just run from an imaginary bear?

Maybe now would be the time to figure out what I should do in case I ever were to encounter a bear, which, I've been informed, are not particularly prevalent in Screven County, Georgia.  I have also been informed that it was probably just a bird.  Color me embarrassed.

And this is what happens to adults with overactive imaginations...

The G Word

I think I should probably blame it on my parents.  Surely, it's their fault.
I'm guilty.  Not of a crime.  I'm guilty of feeling guilt.  Over EVERYTHING.
I think guilt really set in when I became a mom.  Mommy guilt is the worst and most prevalent.  However, the guilt always been there.  It stems from my intense, and often excessive, desire not to inconvenience other people at the cost of my own convenience.
Here's an absurd/embarrassing list of non-child related things I've let myself feel guilty about:

1.  Getting in front of a car in the right lane, only to be stopped at a redlight and the person behind me wanted to turn right (which they could have done if I hadn't gotten in front of them)

2.  Standing in front of a display at the grocery store that someone else wants to look at.

3.  (also at the grocery store) Needing to get by someone who has blocked the entire aisle with their cart (buggy for the southerners).  Instead of simply saying, "Excuse me" like a normal person, I just wait awkwardly until they move.  I feel guilty for asking them to let me by.

4.  Having important work emails returned to me as undeliverable through no fault of my own.

5.  Lending my van to my mother-in-law with an empty gas tank (to alleviate the guilt I got up extra early that morning and drove to get gas at the nearest gas station).

6.  Forgetting to send a note of encouragement (nope, not sympathy, get well, happy birthday...one of those normal things) to a friend when she needed a pick-me-up.  It's not like it was expected.  It was just an idea I had that I didn't get around to...and then I felt guilty.

So, by now...you're probably all thinking...man, this chick is a WEIRDO.  I probably should have started with the things that are normal to feel guilt about...like missing my best friend's father's funeral in high school.  And failing to say "I love you" enough.  Seeing my family so infrequently.  Falling out of touch with my friends from "home" who still mean the world to me, and they probably don't even know it anymore. 

Then there's the mommy guilt.  And it's unrelenting.  I feel guilt over being a working mother.  That my children spend more time during the day with a teacher than they do with me.  Then I think about if I were a stay at home mom, how I'd feel guilty about not helping to pay the bills.  I feel guilt over leaving my kids with their grandparents from time to time even though everyone involved LOVES it.  If I raise my voice, I feel guilty.  If they eat too many hot dogs, I feel guilty.  Too much tv...well...you get the picture.

I read an interesting snippet the other day about Mommy guilt.  Considering the source, I was [mostly] able to blow it off, but it still kind of chafed me a bit.  The comment was that working moms feel guilt because they *should*.

I don't play the girl card much.  In fact, I hate it.  I hate the dang girl card.  I hate that people think I accomplished anything strictly because I am female.  But when it comes to a "traditional" womanly role, I simply can't do it.  In fact, in my house, Sam does most of the cooking.  I cut the grass.  We have things we trade off on and it works for us.  So for some extremist to tell me that my guilt is justified, that's ridiculous.  I think that was good for me.  It was a step in the right direction.  I've been beating myself up since birth over things that are just plain stupid.  And it took an ignorant person to teach me that.

I think I'm that much closer to taking Lucas's wisdom from Empire Records in that "we mustn't dwell". 

Here's to not dwelling.  And in the words of my favorite working moms, here's to not doing anything out of fear, obligation, or *guilt*.
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