Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Shame feels like heat.
And tension.
And an uncomfortably long tickle.
Until it hurts.
And things get real.
Real fast.
Like the whoosh of a heat wave.
A boiling sensation in my chest.
Coming up my throat.
Impossible to shake.

I felt it coming around dinner time.
Unable to avoid by bedtime.
While lying together.

Vulnerability feels like fear.
And release.
And an uncomfortably long waiting room.
Until it bubbles over.
And things get real.
Real fast.
Like that thing you've been dreading
that doesn't turn out to be that bad after all.
Coming from my soul.
Terrifying but freeing.

Shame and vulnerability came to me in the darkness last night.
Shame came first. Feeling less than. Feeling unwanted. Unworthy.
But vulnerability came second. Feeling fragile. Feeling fearful.
Fighting, yes, "fighting" for worthiness.

Last night, vulnerability meant reaching a hand through the covers 
and saying, "Can I tell you something?"
And, of course, his answer is always, "Yes."
And I spoke my shame. 
I put a name to it.
A label.
It took a few minutes.
It didn't come out clearly at first.
It came confusingly through tears and...slow...and...deliberate...speech.
Navigating my way through the shame to get to the lie.
To call it into the light.
To diffuse its power.

And then it all made sense.
Why I felt the way I did.
Why I thought the thing I thought.
Why I believed the lie that brought me to this sense of shame.
And then it was over.

What would've kept me up all night.
What might've eaten my alive by morning.
Was gone as soon as it was articulated.

Brene Brown writes about 
the four elements of shame resilience:
1. Recognize and understand shame and its triggers
2. Practice critical awareness
3. Reach out, share, and own it
4. Speak your shame, talk about your needs

What we don't want to do with shame we MUST do with shame.

Brown writesDaring Greatly, p.34)
, "Vulnerability is the birth place of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. . . I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. . . " (

Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.