|Winged Sumac, October|
I was at a circle the other night and during the opening meditation, a couple of cell phones buzzed loudly. I felt a flash of annoyance. When the meditation was over, the hostess laughed and said how awesome it was that you could feel the vibrations through the floor. She asked whose they were, and no one spoke up. She laughed and said, 'There's no shame here. Those phones made the funnest sounds, didn't they!'
There's no shame here.
That phrase echoed in my head for the rest of the night.
A place with no shame.
I had never considered such a thing before. And that's when I realized that I carry shame with me Every. Where. I. Go.
Shame is something I learned early. It was used as a weapon in many places in my life. Somewhere along the line, I got really good at it. I could shame myself better than anyone could shame me. I knew every single tiny error that I made every single second of the day and I shamed myself for every single one. I knew that if I admitted to myself where I screwed up and felt remorse for it, then I couldn't be surprised or manipulated by anyone else trying to use my mistakes against me.
This strategy successfully allowed me to dissociate from certain types of controlling personalities in a way that prevented me from be victimized.
However, it undermined my confidence in every area of my life. In situations where the person was not shaming me, I doubled down my self-shaming efforts. I could never enjoy any relationship, interaction, achievement or success, no matter how small, because I was so very aware of every error and I felt remorse for it. Shame was my constant companion. I took Shame everywhere.
It's time for me to let that go. I'm sending Shame to live in a beautiful house on a beach somewhere where she can spend her time criticizing the grains of sand for not being perfect, the beach water for being smelly, the weather for being unruly. When she takes her proper place as Conscience instead of Shame, I may call her occasionally to check in about big things, but she is not coming with me everywhere anymore.
I will spend more time enjoying my achievements. With my new endeavors, I will celebrate every single baby step in the right direction and all of the fun field trips along the way. I will love more fully in all my relationships and that will compensate well for the inevitable missteps that happen between people.
And in time, I will be able to say, 'There's no shame here.'