FREE VERSE: I Feel Guilty All the Time

Sitting in the Sentry office is particularly difficult tonight knowing that my favorite musician is on stage at Lost Lake right about now. It might seem odd, but I feel a sort of sisterhood with the artist Jessica Lea Mayfield. The two of us share a striking amount of guilt in our past endeavors, and by expressing her own feelings of immense regret, Mayfield helped me begin to overcome my own.

I found Mayfield’s music when I was particularly low in morals. I drank too much and my insecurities brought me to justify being a generally horrible person. I felt terrible about my actions, and Mayfield seemed to understand.

“I broke a little cup and a boy’s heart/To let you fondle me in the dark/One of those seedy outdoor motels/In your bed, swore I never would tell,” Mayfield states in the song “Sometimes At Night” off of her 2011 album Tell Me.

I had identified as a ‘bad girl’, a horrible person.

The song spoke to my own experiences in feeling massive, immobilizing guilt after having broken trust in really awful ways like this.

She sings, with striking specificity, about another moment of regret in the song “Trouble” saying, “I know I left you alone in New Orleans./You overheard us doing blow in the bathroom./I was kissing, holding hands with some other girl’s grown man./ You should run far from the wrong I am doing.”

Mayfield’s feeling of remorse in the track is immeasurable, but rather than feeling hopeless listening to her words, I found a sense of growth hearing them. I had identified as a “bad girl,” a horrible person, because of the things I had done in the past, and for years I couldn’t fathom forgiving myself for having done them.

I couldn’t forgive myself, but I could easily forgive Mayfield of her actions. I saw her doing cocaine in bathrooms and cheating on loved ones as a result of her grief and insecurity and I felt an overwhelming desire to hold her close and tell her she was a great person in the end.

If I could forgive Mayfield, then maybe I could start forgiving myself.

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