all the words you know, have life because you breathe life into them. if a word causes you to feel something, it’s because you give the word a meaning to feel. i want to tell you three stories about three words i’ve had this experience with: shame, hickory and mallard.
I’m using these 3 stories as a way to share with you what i’ve been learning and experiencing over the last year and to make my way back to sharing with you, to connecting with you and to honor the deepest desires of my own heart—to live my human life boldly, out loud, and unapologetically as a perfectly, imperfect human doing the best she can while she’s still here.
all 3 stories end with the same note. this is the first of the three stories…
last year, i started feeling really frustrated, unsettled and uneasy in my relationship with my partner. we both knew it was happening, but neither of us knew how to make a move, make a shift, make a change, we just knew individually that we weren’t happy and thus we sat in the pile of our own mess we didn’t know how to clean up or move out of.
after months of this, i (subconsciously) came up with a way to move things that ended up sweeping our feet out from under us. i went against everything i’ve ever practiced, believed in, or stood for and for an entire month, I engaged in infidelity.
at the time, i truly and selfishly believed that what i was doing was exactly what i needed, exactly what i wanted, and it was pretty much inevitable with the way my relationship was going — but my feeling that way, was me convincing myself that I was owning my behavior and therefore OK with it. the more i convinced myself i deserved this time, the more at ease with it i became.
but underneath it all, i was never ok with it, i just wanted to be ok with it so that’s how i behaved.
when the month was over the storm began. NOTHING was ok. my partner wasn’t ok, i wasn’t ok, and our world was turned upside-down by my actions. i was upside-down with my head neck deep in shame, in disgust and in disbelief of what i had done and how much i had destroyed.
i had shattered his trust in me. i’ve never done anything like that with someone. I’m an honest person. i don’t hurt people. i don’t give people a reason not to trust me. i preach the importance of listening to and living through the truth of our own hearts — but my month of behavior turned against all of this.
i turned against myself — and this is how i gave shame a strong and powerful presence in my life for the months to come. this is how i gave life to the word “shame”.
in case you are unfamiliar with an experience like this (and god i hope you are), when partners decide to stay together and attempt to “work things out” after something like this, there is A LOT of talking.
talking means owning things and at this point, owning even the smallest true bit of my behavior brought on the biggest shame storm cloud. so, every single conversation (and there were waaaay too many to count), every single time i had the courage to own even a spec of this story, i would sit in the downpour of my own shame for days or sometimes weeks at a time.
i’ve never been that sad in all of my life. i was shocked to realize that the person that could make me feel the worst, was me, and me alone.
my extreme sadness and shame was a direct result of the pain i caused my partner. it felt impossible to bare the truth that I — as the honest & authentic person i thought myself to be — made conscious decisions that caused my partner to be unable to trust me. conscious decisions that caused the loss of my own integrity.
living in my own pit of despair, this was a regular conversation i had with myself
“why are you here? what’s keeping you here?”
“ugh, i’m just so, so, so fucking sad, i can’t shake it.”
“shame. i am absolutely disgusted with myself. i’ve never felt this ashamed in all my life”
“alright. shame then. if this is me now, what can i learn from all of this shame and sadness?”
AND THE LEARNING BEGAN…
– breaking the trust someone has in me is how my shame is conceived.
– the dishonesty that comes from lying to myself or someone else is shame’s life force.
– shame can arrive the size of a pea, and grow to the size of a boulder.
– shame is a reaction to myself when my behavior doesn’t align with my heart and soul.
– shame cannot coexist with acceptance, understanding and forgiveness.
– if i hide from shame, it attaches to my back and the weight drags me down but if i own my shame, if i pick it up and choose to carry it, it becomes lighter as i become stronger.
– acting out of alignment with my heart & soul causes me physical illness
After about 6 months of apprenticing shame, I had learned all that shame was able to teach me—this time. And after those six months, i had a better understanding of the life of shame. in that time, i actually befriended shame like an imaginary friend. i gave shame life by experiencing it, by feeling it and living it.
But in the end, i also took life away from shame. i became so familiar with how shame lives, all it’s habits, all it’s fears and i began to put myself face-to-face with all the little nuances that gave shame life. Through this process, I began to evict shame from my temple.
Today, shame is just a memory. It’s no longer a living, breathing entity in my life. I breathed life into shame, and then i sucked the life right out of it.
Shame, just like ‘love’, and just like ‘god’, is a word only you can breathe life into. And when you don’t need shame in your life any longer, it’s a word you can suck the life right back out of.
THE END NOTE
i’ve come to realize my life is not for getting better and better and better until i am the best i can be. it’s about learning, it’s about growing, and it’s about perpetuating the process. as i rise to higher levels of consciousness, of awareness, of understanding, no matter how seemingly ugly the experiences that got me there are, i must share what it’s like to be this human.
when i open up and share the truth about my struggles, my challenges, my failures, and my shame accompanied by my lessons, my understanding, my influence, my successes and my aim — those who see me, see themselves in me, see what’s possible in their own lives or come to a better understanding of how it may be for other people they know.
Either way, every single time i connect with you, learn about you, understand or support you, WE become stronger. my life isn’t about ME becoming stronger, my life is about US all rising together.
…and so is yours…
with so much love, and so much truth, i appreciate you being here with me, Veazey