Don’t Ever Guilt Me

I’m sorry, not.

I’ll never … not ever … apologize for who I am … for what I have … or for how my life’s unfolded.

I’m white, a middle-class success … and I worked for what I have. And I’m a man.

Don’t bother trying to guilt me … about anything … ’cause I’m not some rubber-spined fop. Go find some sap who won’t fight back. You have the wrong guy. The wrong man.

And this is true of my sons, too.

They’re white, middle-class successes, too. Young men who’ve made their career and family dreams come true. They’ve worked for what they have. And they’re men, too … successful men. And they’ll never apologize for any of that.

And if that sort of heritage … that sort of family line … chews at you, well, guess who has the problem?

I’m straight. Married a long long time. I’m conservative and liberal, patriotic and critical. I’m generous, but protective of the life I’ve made.  I’m compassionate. And I’m private. 

I loathe cruelty and unfairness … and I’ll walk right up to that sort of moment. But mostly, I mind my life … and my own business … and don’t much care about the business of others. I leave judgements to those who have a right to judge. 

I practice the values that count for me.  And I’ve never believed that my life choices should be universal.

I don’t preach or push my views on anyone. Personal privacy is important to me. I push back on anyone who tries to get into my space … or who makes far-away judgements about me … or my life … or the people who circle me.

I lead by my example. Not always perfect, for sure. I’ve shown my sons how to fail gloriously … and then how to be the phoenix.  I’ve demonstrated that certain successes take time … and that perseverance is slow to reveal its rewards.

I’ve been married forever … because that was the commitment I made … not just to my wife, but to the children who dropped into our lives.


I promised never to disadvantage them … and to always stand at the back of the line. To see to their stuff first. And I learned to just “be there” … on stand-by … for whenever I was needed. Even after they had flown away.

I’ve never expected any back-slaps for what was expected of me. I’m proud of our sons … my men … and hope they’re proud of me.

And I’m not alone … because I’m nothing very special at all. And I’ll bet my story is pretty much your story.

But some think my life is too … too advantaged. That I must’ve stomped on others to get where I am. That I was too privileged from the jump. And that it all came my way with ease.

And so I should mea culpa myself. Apologize for the good fortune I worked to create. Beg pardon for what I have. Feel guilted for having comforted my life.

I should pull on a horsehair shirt of regret and remorse … and shame. And I should confess to my privilege … in gender … and color … and parentage … and whatever other nonsense they can whip up.

Kiss off.

I have no remorse at all. 

And I have zero sympathy for folks who flubbed it. People who blew off their chances … again and again … and didn’t make the effort to get it right.

My conscience doesn’t hurt at all … because there’s no nation on earth who sets out more opportunities than America. And deep down … everyone knows this. Even the failures. Yes … even the failures.

Life is hard. It’s always been hard. And it’ll always be hard. Hard ain’t goin’ away … no matter how much some folks wish it. 

But for some to make success the new symbol of inequality … well … that’s extra-foul  stuff. It means they’ve given up. Surrendered. Quit.

I don’t speak that language.

Life has pretty permanent rules. Some folks pretend it doesn’t … and act as if those rules don’t matter.

They do. They’ll always matter.

And in the end … everyone does understand the rules. Everyone.

This nonsense won’t last forever.

Denis Ian

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