My name is Kristen Hennessy Pixler; I was born into a large Irish Catholic Family. In every fiber of my being I am a Hennessy. My oldest brother was born on St. Patrick’s Day and his son was born on that special day as well. I have two uncles that are Catholic priests and my father was in the seminary until his junior year in college. I am not an acting Catholic but the traditions, morals, ethics, and personality traits trace as a thread throughout my cells that runs the lineage of my family.
I wonder where Catholic Guilt comes from but it is there in most of us who were raised in this religion. It is not always a bad thing; it keeps us a considerate, conscientious group of folks. I try to think of what my parents did to instill this guilt in us and I really cannot think of anything. My parents taught us to work hard, to love even when it is hard to, to think of others, to put other’s needs above our own and to appreciate our beauty and talents and of those around us. As I have watched my children grow I know that there are certain traits that we are just born with and perhaps this is one that is passed down from generation to generation.
I fight with the balance between being sensitive and thinking of other’s and letting the guilt take over my life. As I ran today, I realized that much of what has held me back in life revolves around this trait. I am so worried about others I don’t take the time to prioritize my needs. This came to the surface when I had children. There is a time period in every parent’s life that you have to dig deep, drop your past and embrace the present. The present is beautiful it is full of moments that fill your soul. Even in a state of blind exhaustion you plug on to take care of the greatest love of you life. They need you and there is nothing in the world you would not do for them. It is not easy but you get used to the schedule, you become immune to lack of sleep and nourishment. You get so used to this state you forget any other way of life.
I have always prioritized other people’s needs before my own. Now with my two little girls I have a very hard time breaking that mold. I felt guilty leaving the house to workout or to drag them to a location to take pictures or work on my art rather than play with them. I still figured out ways to get some of my needs taken care of but it was sporadic and inconsistent. Art and fitness take consistent daily training so my progress was limited and my frustration grew. I know deep down that I can accomplish a lot as I work hard and have sacrificed but I never have made the stand to be a tad bit selfish. Just writing it down gives me a surge of uncontrollable guilt.
Last year I started to take small steps to force myself to make my art and fitness a priority. This year with the blog, it has helped solidify my plight. I am realizing that my goals don’t have to be a conflict that my girls are proud of who and what I am. They want me to do well and they like seeing me embrace my life and goals. I have always known that modeling or showing good behaviors is more important than telling a child what they should do but sometimes it is hard to sift through what you are modeling. It some cases you think you are modeling good behaviors of consideration and discipline when you are showing them your needs mean little. Will they grow to be women that believe their needs mean nothing?
So, to my Catholic guilt, I have fought with you long enough. I have beaten you down and you may pop back up in my life when I don’t expect it but I will beat you back down. You are not good for my girls or me. I want to rush into spring and celebrate Easter with love in my heart and share my joy with my friends and family. I want to model love, acceptance and peace with my girls as I was taught from my parents but I want them to know their self worth and cut the thread of guilt. Happy Easter!