I am proud to announce that I have an essay published in a third anthology, Dancing at the Shame Prom, Sharing Stories That Kept Us Small, edited by Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter which hit the bookstore shelves yesterday. One time, years ago, my brother told me about someone who admonished him for something he did by saying "Shame on you!" My brothers was incensed.
"Shame on me? Really? Why would anyone wish shame on me? I don't think my actions warrant shame." It was then that I started looking at shame, what it is and how easily we can throw the word around. Shame is one of the most debilitating emotions and keeps us from being the people we truly can be. Why would anyone wish that on another without very good reason?
Shame can be insidious. For many years, shame was the backdrop to my self-esteem, but I didn't necessarily know that. By inconspicuously hanging out in the background of my psyche, shame informed my decisions and choices. It took years to identify and let go of the shame I held around being a disabled woman.
I even felt ashamed that I have cancer. I was a smoker. My diet isn't strictly organic. Did I bring this on myself? Am I to blame? I spent a couple of weeks beating myself up about it. And then I remembered: being ashamed of myself doesn't allow me to live into my fullness. If cancer has taught me anything, it's that my time here is limited. There's no time for shame.
If you're intrigued by the notion of shame and the myriad ways it can creep into our psyches, then get yourself a copy of this book and see how these women transcend shame.