Photo by Shoaib SR on Unsplash

Never Feel Guilty About Your Pleasures

After a long day of job searching and battling bouts of low self-esteem, I finally turn off my computer, letting all the chattering thoughts shut down as well. No more hunting, no more crafting perfect cover letters and no more wondering if someone will take a chance on me. It’s time to take a break and rest easy.

I climb onto my comfy, red, corduroy couch, put the decor pillow under my head, settle in and turn on my phone to one of my favorite shows: The Real Housewives of Atlanta. The sounds of the women’s taglines are music to my ears, making me feel like I’m finally able to destress and escape. The truth is I adore The Real Housewives franchises (specifically Potomac, Beverly Hills, and Orange County.) The constant flexing, the shade, the arguing, and the fabulous clothing all make me so very happy.

This is just one of my guilty pleasures. Why is this show about women trying to outdo each other a guilty pleasure? Well, first let’s define guilty pleasure. Urban Dictionary defines it as: “something that you shouldn’t like, but like anyway.”

As a woman who advocates for people to sit and listen to another person’s perspective, not to name call or demean in any way, I really shouldn’t like this show. Especially the franchises with black women because it pushes the “angry, black woman” stereotype. Even so…I love it. The show is a wonderful way for me to turn off my brain when I’m stressed, anxious, scared, or going through a depressive episode set off by seemingly nothing.

Unlike the raging thoughts in my mind of not feeling good enough or thinking I’m ruining my whole future, this show doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s what I like to call glittery trash. It’s nice to look at but has no real meaning or value. It’s just something I love to watch. Nothing that happens in the show is real. Nothing the women argue about is real. And even if it is, it’s inconsequential to me. That’s what makes it so great!

Even though I love the show so much, I’m not exactly eager to tell anyone I like the show. One of my friends straight up sighed and rolled her eyes when I told her I like the franchise and she asked, “How can you like that?” My brother has also told me in the past that he doesn’t like the shows I watch because they’re too trashy or some variation of that. So RHOA and its sister shows have receded into the background of fun fact trivia. You know the kind they make you say about yourself when you start a new class.

And RHOA is not the only thing. In no particular order, I adore: Five Nights At Freddy’s and all of its demented lore (even though its fan bases seems to consist primarily of young boys); almost any reality TV show including but not limited to Love Island and Married at First Sight; really trashy music on occasion; watching reactionary YouTubers like Jontron, Danny Gonzalez, Ralphthemoviemaker, and Cody Ko; reading sappy love stories on the Episode app; and eating lavender honey macaroons from Casey’s Cupcakes. And there are so many more!

But here’s the thing, I don’t actually feel guilty or ashamed of any of them. I know they’re silly and I know they’re just indulgences but who really cares, right? If I wouldn’t have just told you this, you wouldn’t have known. And I bet now that you know, you don’t really care. So if that’s the case, why do we even call them “guilty pleasures” in the first place? What exactly is there to feel guilty about? Anyone could lecture me over and over again about why watching RHOA or any of the other form of glittery trash I partake in is bad for me and it wouldn’t change my mind about it.

Maybe your pleasures are a little more bold than mine. Maybe they’re a little more mild. If so, good. You should be able to enjoy them regardless of their severity. Generally speaking, nobody cares about what another person is into. Most people are mainly concerned with themselves so being afraid of what anyone else thinks about what makes you happy is pointless. Not only is it pointless, it’s wasted energy.

As long as what you delight in is legal, doesn’t hurt you or anyone else, and is done in moderation, I think we can stop calling them guilty. Guilt feeds into the idea that what you’re doing is wrong somehow, but I think most things people call guilty pleasures aren’t wrong at all. Do you know what are some of the most common guilty pleasures people have? Eating too much, reality TV, sleeping in, and celebrity gossip. I don’t know about you, but that’s some of the tamest stuff I’ve ever heard of.

Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for what you like. You could buy too much makeup, play too many video games, be obsessed with haircare or whatever else and it is okay. Never feel guilty for your pleasures because we all have them and in the end, nobody really cares.

Life lessons as they come and other things. Email me johanie.cools@gmail.com or tip me on Venmo @Jojo-MC

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