All of us, whether or not we care to admit them, have guilty pleasures. According to a quick Google search, a guilty pleasure is described as “Something, such as a film, television program of piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not held in high regard.”
I would add that in some cases a guilty pleasure can be something which we may find embarrassing. Just as I have in many previous pieces, I am going to lay it all bare and really embarrass myself here, as some of my guilty pleasures only occur when nobody else is around. One thing most of them have in common is music.
It has recently come to my attention that when I am surrounded by music and especially if I am more merrier than not, I do this thing where I throw my arms in the air and cheer aloud. I took time to go through various videos on my phone and it became quite evident! Now when alone, I like to throw a little routine out in front of a mirror and dance my socks off.
I also am a Disney/Pixar fan, a big one at that, and I love to blast out some of the Disney classics and really go for it, singing them word for word at the top of my voice, sometimes in the character’s voices (if you have ever sung “Under The Sea” from The Little Mermaid and not mimicked Sebastian the crab you are lying to yourself and us!).
Music was my escape when I was seeing my therapist and to this day I use it as a channel of release. The generation before me, those who lived (and in many cases, died) through the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s and early 90’s, lived through a time when music was a remedy. It’s very clear that when tragedy strikes, the arts spur up and help heal some wounds.
Many artists wrote songs to vent their frustration at the government or as a way of dealing with a loss. I won’t divulge much further on this point as I have mentioned this before in a previous piece that I wrote a couple of years ago.
But bringing it back to my guilty pleasure of dancing and throwing a routine alone in front of a mirror... it is better to do that than throw a punch, as an old me would once have done.
"Guilt does not necessarily have a cause; I believe that it is very much like fear – it’s a feeling that may or may not have anything to do with the facts."
My second guilty pleasure, which I really do abuse, is my love for food. Those who have ever had a meal with me will know that I firstly, have a huge appetite. I will eat very large portions and lots of them throughout the day. Secondly, due to a fast metabolism I can eat whatever I want and never have to worry about putting on weight. I also have a really sweet tooth and am known to constantly have a supply of crisps, chocolates or sweets within arm’s reach at work, home or wherever.
As much as there is the joy of being able to eat whatever and not gain the weight, there is the fact that I probably eat junk food far too often and neglect to give my body the healthy food it needs as regularly as it needs. The knock-on effect of this could be quite serious in the long term. I know I should probably go to the dentist and should definitely cut out the amount of sugary foods I eat. I am a hypocrite about this in one sense as I know I need to cut back, but I don’t. And who knows what the effects could be in the long term or what’s going on inside my body right now.
Maybe that was a little dramatic. Take it as you will, but thinking about it, we are all just as guilty of knowing we shouldn’t do things… and doing them anyway. This is where moderation comes into play.
Good nutrition is important for everyone, but especially for those living with HIV. Our immune systems are already shot to shit, let us not encourage it! Thankfully, living with HIV doesn’t mean a dramatic change to your diet and thankfully antiretroviral therapy (ART) is becoming easier to take and combinations no longer require any specific dietary requirements except the odd combination which require you to take them on an empty stomach or to take with food. NAM have some further information on this should you want to read into this some more.
So the question remains: should we feel guilty about our guilty pleasures? Quite simply – No. That is why they are called guilty pleasures, as we find them pleasurable and enjoy doing as such. Should we feel guilty for having HIV? Definitely not. People can try to make us feel like we have done wrong, that we were at fault, that we deserve this. Guilt does not necessarily have a cause; I believe that it is very much like fear – it’s a feeling that may or may not have anything to do with the facts. It is a natural human feeling. This can be balanced by knowing your own worth and the process of guilt should soon fade away.
Right, on that note… where are those chocolate biscuits I can eat whilst watching Aladdin the sing-a-long version on DVD?