P.S.hame. Day 21, “The Me Project”

I’m hurting today. Everything is making me feel hot red shame. To me, shame is that wicked little shitbrick voice in your head telling you you suck. Our egos are delicate, and we’re pelted by stones from the inside and out, making us flounder for something that feels like we’re winning at something; money, looks, prestige, dominance over others. We need to dominate or what are we? We’re proven to be, in fact, the weak fool inside our head, the ugly little nobody that we worry is the truthiest truthful version of us.

I think the core of so much of our stumbles, our pain, our addictions, our mental illnesses, our toxic relationships, our violence, is shame. As Brené Brown, the leading researcher on shame/guilt, puts it, “Shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

Mighty successful, apparently confident people I know have admitted to me that they feel like tiny nothings in their hearts. I’m pretty sure this is standard human stuff. It sucks.

For me, I have always felt like too much and not enough. Too much- it’s gross that I’m trying to stand out, to be different, I’m seeking too much attention/applause. It’s embarrassing and careless and too vulnerable. I should sit down and be polite and quiet and not make a scene. Not try to be extra of anything. Let someone else shine, back them up, do a great job backing them up, but don’t get caught in the spotlight. Mortifying if you do. This interferes with my writing. It’s why I can barely admit I’m a writer, and meekly word it as a wistful longing that I know sounds naive and silly and stupid. Wanting to make art is a selfish dirty little secret. Something for someone else. Well, especially since it’s mostly essays about….me! I’m doing this whole year of blogging about….me! How horrifying. What an overinflated sense of self, wanting to examine myself and practice making pretty words. Too much. I’m a monster.

Then, you know, not enough. I’m never enough of any of the things I’m certain I’m supposed to be. I’m always failing someone, never who I need to be in the right moment in time. Easy to mud slide on the bad days into thinking not enough, not much, not anything, nothing.

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Frida Kahlo focused her art on herself, and it was spectacular, and often dirty, course, painful, cruel. I think she worked out a lot of internal things on the page. She said about it, “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”

SO. These are my cheery thoughts today. Don’t feel like you need to try to help me, I’m in a fair place, actually. These are sort of the static villains in my mind. I’m sharing, as always, because if there’s anyone out there who feels this, too, I need you to know you’re not alone in it. Also, the voices try to silence my sharing about myelf, mute me as unworthy, as an imposter, a fool. I don’t want to let them.

And, I’ve been through enough personal journeys (gross, who says that shit) to know that it always gets messier before it starts to find some order and growth, so I’m in the destruction phase right now.

Also, today some of this darkness comes from the actual miserable dark weather. I live in the midwest and February started in November this year and it’s a LOT right now. That, and, although I have a progesterone IUD and so do not menstruate or really know where I am with the rapidly shifting hormones of a monthly cycle, sometimes, when I’m glaring rage bullets at my family, I suspect I’m in the pre-menstrual phase. This week might be that.

So, I went from revealing my inner pain to brushing it off to PMS. How’s that for some lady flex?

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Find me on Ravishly, The Belladonna Comedy, Pregnant Chicken, & more. Being a human is hard- maybe the kids can help. bigtroubleblog.com, Twitter: @sarahzimzam

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