Friday, March 22, 2013

Of Things Unseen

I've recently started participating in a women's group devoted to overcoming shame.  The idea of shame is new to me.  Not that I didn't know what shame was, I simply didn't think I had any.  I don't have conscious thoughts of self-loathing, self-questioning, feeling incompetent (not overly anyway), feeling worthless, etc.  I don't look in the mirror and hate myself.  I don't often get embarrassed or worry about what others think.  Very little in my conscious thought process suggests shamefulness.  However, I have come to discover that a lot of my behavior suggests that I don't value myself as I should and that, in fact, I do suffer from a shame-based identity.

I am working, really hard I might add, to do a 180 and obtain a worthiness-identity.  I want an identity that says, "I am good.  I am enough.  I am worthy of love and belonging.  I matter."  I want everything I think, say, do to emphasize that.  I want the way I connect and interact with other to emphasize that because I matter, you matter too.  And we, together, as a unit matter.  Our relationship, our connections matter.  I want to be have the courage to be vulnerable and present and really connected... especially with the ones I love the most.

I've realized that the first step I have to take is to acknowledge shame.  That dark, festering secret that I love to ignore.  That I like to pretend doesn't exist.  How can I ever clean it out of my soul if I refuse to admit it's there?  This is my acknowledgement.

The Box
I’m trapped inside, 
that shameful thing, me
I feel it pushing, pulling on my soul,
this box that hides me here.
Here I’m safe from prying eyes,
but here I sit and slowly die.
I sit and cry, I sit and fade
to nothing more than empty space.
I close it off, this oozing shame,
Sealed within this toxic place.
It festers on my skin,
It worms into my heart and mind.
I thought I’d sealed it off,
but it clings to me, this slime,
this tar, this pitch of stench.
Better inside than outside.
Better here than there.
Better unseen than seen.
Better. For here I am safe.
Lock it all in.
The only thing that can hurt me here is me.

I wrote this two days ago after I begrudgingly went to the first meeting of the aforementioned women's group... I really, really didn't want to go.  So much so that I woke up that day with a migraine, went back to bed, overslept and walked into a shame group fifteen minutes late.  Who was I kidding?  No one.  So my commitment for the week was to acknowledge the box, that dark, dirty place where I hide my shame.  I came home and decided to look shame right in the face and really feel it, get tangled in it, put it on and walk around in it for a few hours.  I climbed in the box and closed the lid, I let it take me over for a while.  And I cried... and went back to bed.

And after a few hours, I couldn't take it anymore.  I flew out of that box and beat it with a hammer.... almost.  I was so emotionally overwhelmed I stayed up until 3 a.m. writing and praying and just lost in thought.  Slowly, I began to feel a bit better.  Feel a little less out of control and a little more distant from the shame, in a positive way, in an objective way, not in an "I'm going to ignore you" way.  And here I am now, putting it out there for the world see because it's time I say, "I see you hiding down there in all those shadowy places and I'm calling you out. You don't belong here and it's time you left the building.  I don't have time for your negative voice anymore.  Move along.  I'm taking my life back."  And I will.  Take it back.  One day at a time.  One connection.  One courageous moment of vulnerability.  One admission of poor behavior.  One acceptance of weakness.  One embrace of imperfection at a time; I will eradicate shame from my identity.

1 comment:

Jared and Aletia said...

What a perfect post for this Easter season! I am so grateful for the knowledge the gospel gives us that we can overcome every bit of shame or imperfection we have through our Lord and Savior! May you find peace and strength in His Atonement! Thank you for being so bold and so honest in your posts. You make me want to do better!! :)