Shame - noun
1. 1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
I have recently had some deep, thought provoking, revealing conversations with a few wonderful women, ones that I am thankful to have in my life.
I interacted with these women in, what seems to me, the sequence required, the time for me to awaken and open up enough to receive the wisdom they were going to share. The first came at the EXACT moment of “impact”, the time when everything came to a breaking point for me, slamming into the second interaction, when I was simmering, stewing away in my realizations. The third was as the calm began to take over, I had reached a point where light was beginning to shine through again and my breathing was finally slowing to a manageable pace. It was then that it hit me, and hard.
What began from feelings brought up when I took Makiya to her first Music Class, progressed into a struggle to write out my emotions, which then also became something much more. A perceived difference between people, women, mothers, and a worry about being judged for past mistakes, became the catalyst for a much bigger discovery within myself; like it or not.
I had been thinking back over my life, looking at, digging through and trying to understand the giant leaps I have taken back and forth; between being a social butterfly and something more resembling the caterpillar, tucked away safe and warm while awaiting its transformation. I was trying to decipher whether I was in one of those states as a response TO my surroundings and circumstances, or was I dictating the surroundings and circumstances by CHOOSING to be in that state. What I began to realize was, at least in that moment, that I was being the caterpillar in response to circumstances and situations I had lived, in the PAST. I began to accept and admit to this to myself as I acknowledged it to be a truth about who I have become.
I brought up this realization in conversation with one of these women, who was quick to point out how damaging “shame” could be. I hadn’t thought, yet, to put “shame” into the equation, I hadn’t put my finger on it as the force that it really was, and yet as strongly as I began to feel this addition to my truth, I still hadn’t really gotten the complete picture.
A few weeks later, I was chatting with a friend, who has been discovering some hard self-truths of her own for some time. We spoke of ignoring signs and/or clues that sit boldly before us, the ones that are finally “noticed” later on, of being tired of pretending and not being heard, and as we shared our thoughts, insights and feelings on it all, I began to see more cracks in this truth I was coming to terms with.
A week later, I spoke to the other woman (that wonderful friend who has the ability to see clearly, and between the lines, when I can’t, and vice versa, at times, thank god!). I admitted what I was beginning to see as the whole truth, and with a deep breath, she responded “That is huge.” As I heard her utter those words, the entirety and enormity of it truly and fully slapped me in the face, with a WHOOSH; it WAS huge, especially in saying it aloud to someone else. I was really putting it out there.
What I realized opened my eyes to so many things, and is still continuing to do so, which I suppose, was my biggest fear. This was NEVER what I wanted it, and yet, I went ahead and created it anyways.
I realized that for all of the pride I carry in not regretting, hiding or “feeling shame” in things that I have already shared about my past, I hold on tightly to the truth about the present and the little left over bits of recent past. Those are kept close, without the warmth of sunlight or the ability to take in fresh air, they are hidden away, left to bend and twist, morphing into an ugly form of “shame”.
There are these “things” that I let slide out of control in my life, and the feelings of guilt in not tending to them have transformed into something darker and uglier. Instead of staying truly strong and continuing to speak clearly and loudly, I became comfortable in a place of denial, falsely labelling it as hopeful.
These things have caused me to feel shame, and I am finally able to admit it to myself.