I am feeling a tad uncomfortable about the personal nature of some things I posted yesterday. The irony is that on the one hand, the act of writing about my own experience seems easier than synthesizing all this research, as I’m trying to do. However, the sharing of deeply personal stories triggers a lot of fear alarms. There are only a handful of people – that’s a literal ‘under ten (fingers)’ – who are occasionally reading this blog, so it seems somewhat absurd to worry about exposing myself…but for today, this moment, that’s the truth.
I said yesterday that ‘I’m not going to share all those unpleasant details here…’ and I won’t. I chose the word ‘unpleasant’, but what I really wanted to call them was ‘gory details’, a phrase from my childhood. My mother was a big fan of Charles Addams (an American cartoonist known for his darkly humorous and macabre characters.) Perhaps that is where the expression came from. (If you don’t know Addams work, here is a link to check it out. Be forewarned that it’s a little dated, some cartoons are quite misogynistic and some rely on racist stereotypes, but there’s also some very dry wit there.)
But I digress. Hmm, avoidance?
Fact is, because of feeling so discomfited by my small revelations yesterday, I’ve realized that I actually need to write down all those miserable, shaming memories from my early life. I carry them with me and, particularly when I am doing this work, they rerun daily in my head/home theater. Just getting them down in writing, for myself, not for the blog, may serve as a way of putting them to rest, by vomiting, purging, detoxing.
Here are some more words from Brene Brown that are comforting, challenging and encouraging me in this work.
‘Shame keeps worthiness away by convincing us that owning our stories will lead to people thinking less of us… We’re afraid that people won’t like us if they know the truth about who we are, where we come from, what we believe, how much we are struggling… if we’ve worked hard to make sure everything looks “just right” on the outside, the stakes are high when it comes to truth-telling. This is why shame loves perfectionists – it’s so easy to keep us quiet.’ (pp. 39)
So, I’m going to push on here. My ambivalence about the Internet – the risk of behaving like a Kardashian, as if I am the center of the uni-verse – is in conflict with a drive to “own my stories” on this blog. At least some of them. I’m ready to risk saying something that scares me, in case another woman thinks/feels the same way, but can’t say it yet. Others have been courageous; they have done that for me.
Shame, addiction, causation, de-construction.
‘The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of it’s earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”’ (pp. 13)