Trying to stay upbeat here, folks. Been spending a lot of time with that visitor I mentioned last Wednesday. I did what Mr. Iyengar suggested and invited the nasty Doubt creature to join me here and go about its work while I do mine. Well, Doubt has not quit, but neither have I. I’ve mentioned before that I’m stubborn and if I commit to posting twice a week, then that’s what I need to do. Underlying that is the commitment to work everyday, to write and attempt to explain what I am beginning to understand about shame.
It has been distressing to relive some of the events of my youth that shaped my shame-based self-image. I experience wild emotional swings: anger one moment and sickening embarrassment the next. Some of the characters in my life-dramas pop up with such clarity; it can be startling. Names, voices and places from long ago. They have clearly held some power all these years. It feels like I am practicing a sort of incantation: bring them to life and then crack them open. I find myself grinning a bit as I write this, because when I look inside these people who inflicted such hurt, they seem very small and insignificant.
So, I gave them major roles, which they didn’t even know they were playing. I’m fairly certain that they don’t have the slightest memory of what they said or did. And in the case of my junior high classmates, I don’t think there was any malice. (This is not true for the adults, who should have known better than to shame a child!) I’ve considered contacting a friend from those days who could provide a reality check. Maybe I will. Risky business to open Pandora’s door, but it is a tempting thought. I’ll let you know if I do.