Deciding to start…

A friend of mine started a blog on working through trauma. If you’re just taking steps to uncover your own trauma or speaking out for the first time, I suggest checking out her blog.

Peeling Away the Trauma

This is my 39th year. I said I was going to spend this year getting my shit together. I am unhealthy and unhappy; and yet more healthy and happy than I have ever been.

It’s confusing, but I am making progress.

My therapist recently described my life as “remarkably unfucked” for the background I have. I have worked hard for this “unfucked” life. Sometimes that has meant starting my life over (never again), and sometimes that means dragging the skeletons out of the closet to find out they aren’t so bad after all. Or that they were awful, but maybe not my fault? I don’t know. This blog is just for me to work things out. I could do it in a private journal, but, I suspect I need to not be secret about this stuff anymore. And, I need support. I know I am not alone, but I feel…

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Darkness is Beautiful


This week has been one of the hardest weeks in a long time. I didn’t realize until recently that I hadn’t dealt with some memories. I’d dealt with the memories leading up to the events, but not the events themselves. So, I decided to tackle those. I knew it’d be rough but I didn’t anticipate just how rough.

I’ve been in a deeply dark place and oddly, I’m okay with it.

I used to avoid this place of darkness. It’s full of grief and depression and loss. I couldn’t handle it before and that would take me down a path of suicidal thoughts. Those thoughts prevented me from having to face this darkness. The darkness would get shoved down because going to a place of suicidal thoughts wasn’t healthy. Wasn’t safe. But I’m not suicidal anymore. I can feel without fear of action. Which changed everything.

Today, I allowed myself to dive headfirst into this place of darkness. I knew it was safe to. So I did it. I allowed it to consume me. I thought it’d last for days, weeks, maybe months… After all, my depression used to last for months at a time, so how could allowing myself this dive into the dark be anything less?

A funny thing has happened though. By allowing myself to feel this stuff, I’m moving through it faster than I thought possible. And for the first time, I see that it wasn’t these things I’m remembering and feeling that kept me afraid and sad, it was the avoidance of these things. I’d avoided them so much that I’d actually consider death over feeling and facing them. That gave them more power.

So here I am—feeling—embracing the darkness, and what I see is that it’s not even scary. It’s not a bad place. It’s a place of truth. It’s a place of power. Because in my embracing that which I’d avoided, I’ve also embraced truth. And truth is power.

The longer I gave in to the fear of feeling what I’d been avoiding, the more power I’d given it.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”          –  Eleanor Roosevelt

I did. I looked this fear in the face. I felt it. I felt all the horrible things that came with it. And it’s lost its power.

This has taught me so much and the main lesson is that my fear is bigger than the thing itself. I’m not saying we can’t be afraid of things. Especially when our life is in direct threat by the hungry tigress heading straight for us. But let’s face it, that sort of threat isn’t very common. The most common and debilitating fears are the ones we feed. Regardless of how threatening they actually are.

Today, I asked myself what the worst thing was—feeling or avoiding? I knew before I even finished asking myself what that answer was, so I stopped avoiding and felt. I’m already feeling better. I did the thing I thought I could not do.

The darkness is much more beautiful than I ever knew.

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Powerful Yet Humble

When I began writing, I was often told to write what I know. It made sense at the time. Still does in many ways. But the issue with that is that I often write to learn. I’ve done it with this post even. I’ve been trying to write it for days now and I keep deleting it or starting a different post. And it’s because I’ve needed to ‘learn’ something.

Today, I learned a couple of things. I’m going to mention this one first since I literally just said this to someone and it’s got me smiling and nodding with joy. Because I’ve finally learned!

For a while now, I’ve been working on asking for my needs to be met. It’s taken years for me to be comfortable asking for things and sometimes I still struggle. But I’ve gotten sooo much better about it and now, most of the time, it feels easy. I’d not thought about why though until I said this to a friend tonight, “I don’t really find it hard anymore, asking for my needs to be met. The biggest issue with asking for my needs to be met was dropping my pride enough to acknowledge that they weren’t being met. I was always ‘I don’t need anyone, I can take care of myself…’ and that’s not really true. We all need things. To know what needs aren’t being met we have to admit that we feel like someone we love is dropping the ball. It’s hard.”

And that was that.

I had a hard time asking for my needs to be met for two reasons. One, I didn’t want to admit that I needed something I couldn’t provide myself. And two, I didn’t want to admit that people I loved—I thought—were dropping the ball. They weren’t, of course. No one can read minds. But I was so damn prideful about it that I couldn’t see that. My assumption was ‘they should just know’ and that meant that no one really had a chance. They weren’t dropping the ball, I was.

I’m so happy to have learned this lesson!

The other thing I learned today has to do with my writing. Tonight, I was sharing some ideas regarding a new project that has been driving me bonkers. It’s in my head so strongly that I had to stop throughout the day and write down new pieces to the puzzle that seemed to be unfolding in a hurry. I don’t want to get into all the details here but I will say that it involves images of the storyboarding sort.

While I was explaining this, I kept thinking comic or some sort of graphic novel and I was told that writing for that type of thing can be hard for people that are used to writing short stories and novels. Which made perfect sense! Right? Novelists use words to paint pictures. That’s what we do! But… that isn’t really how my brain works. It never has. That’s why writing has been so hard for me. I love it, but it’s hard. Because in my mind, I see things in pictures. I see storyboards.

When I’ve written novels, I’ve seen them first as a movie in my head. The whole movie. This is why I’ve gotten stuck if I don’t know how a story ends. It’s because, in order for me to write something, I have to see it in my mind first. I don’t paint worlds with my words, I use words to paint the worlds in my head. But I don’t have to use words for that. I can use images too. So this has shifted my way of seeing how I write and what processes are best for me. This is exciting news!

I also know that this project that has been buzzing around my head all day will be healing. In fact, that may be all it is. Right now, I see it as a way to release anger and express myself in ways I struggle with in real life. Because my mind works best in pictures, I can process things so much faster in this manner. So maybe this will be all it is. Not something I take to print, but just more steps in my healing. Which will be part of a book one day regardless, so I’d better do a good job.

All of this has me excited, even as I close some doors and move through newer, open ones, into unknown territory. I used to stress such things and I’m not. I haven’t felt anxiety about any of the difficult things I needed to do today. That is such huge progress.

I’m feeling like a Goddess. Powerful but still humble. More excited than afraid. Curious rather than hesitant. This feels wonderful. I’ve been listening to Ariana Grande’s God is a Woman video a lot today. It’s the perfect song to go with how I’m feeling. ❤

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Novels, Writing, and Happiness


What is my happy ending? It’s a good question and one I don’t have an answer to and that’s affected my writing. There’s a story in me—one that is fiction but based off of my life and unique relationships—and that story isn’t coming out no matter how hard I try. And this is the story I need to tell. I’ve tried others but keep going back to this one. I don’t just want to tell it, I need to tell it. So this struggle is a problem. I am stuck. I can write blogs, for websites, short stories and novellas, but the novel has me stopped dead in my tracks.

After a good conversation yesterday, I realized it’s because I have always known the ending of my stories and this time, I don’t. Because I haven’t reached the end. I don’t know what my happy ending is. While this is a problem for the story, it’s not in life. Because happiness isn’t the end game for me. The way we word that so often leads to this notion that once happiness is achieved, it’s the end. But I’m happy now. And I’m not ready for anything to end. Not life, not my happiness, not my continued growth or abilities, not my relationships… Being happy is what makes living this life worth the effort.

But this is why I’m struggling with the novel. I don’t know where to end it. Even the starting point has shifted over the last two years. Where is the right starting point? I’ve never had so much trouble with a novel. And while I fully intend on writing the same thing in a nonfiction sense, I also want the fiction. I want the fun of taking my experiences as a base and building another world around that. I’ve been denying this to myself because I’ve not known where to start or where to end, therefore, I don’t know what the guts of the story are either. Does it need to be women’s fiction? From more than one POV? Or an erotica novel with a heavy focus on D/s? I just don’t know. I want to do the story justice. I want to do myself justice.

I’ve worked hard to overcome my trauma responses and triggers. I keep working hard. As I’ve grown and learned, I’ve taken on more and thrived. I want to honor these aspects of my life in story too. This is a struggle I never thought I’d have.

I’ve also realized that my novel writing served as therapy for many years. I wasn’t in therapy back then and my only way to cope was to create fantasy worlds where I could live through my characters and accomplish things I never thought possible in the real world. But D changed all that for me. My relationship and submission to D changed all that. Because he gave me the structure and foundation I needed to start living the life I’d only ever imagined before. So now, I don’t need to write stories to fulfill the side of my life that I never thought possible, because I’m living that life now. Each day. My need for writing fiction is different because of that. Now, I want to write because I want to honor my life story, not live vicariously through a fictional one.

So where do I start? Where do I end? I don’t have these answers and that’s stifled me.

If there’s one thing about myself that I know, without doubt, it’s that I do what I set out to do. So I know this will be no different. I’ll tell my story. I’ll do it justice. I won’t give in to fear of failure or fear of facing the harsh realities of why I’m struggling so much. Hard work doesn’t scare me. In fact, it’s a turn on. Succeeding turns me on. I will accomplish what I’m setting out to do.

I know all the tricks—starting the story at the most interesting part of the character’s day, let the reader know what genre they’re in right away, grab their attention, and so forth—but these things don’t tell me where I need to start.

Mostly, I want to break down the walls around trauma with my story. I want to talk about the things that people don’t want to talk about. I want to show that a survivor is not a victim and the latter creates the illusion of forever being broken. Changed and broken aren’t the same things. Forever changed, yes. But not forever broken. So I will tell this story. I will tell my story, with a fictional twist, and I will figure out how by talking to others and working through it one step at a time. Yesterday’s conversation has already helped.

If one thing is clear in my mind; my story isn’t a romance or love story. Not this one. Though love is very much at the core. My story is about finding my power. Finding my voice. Finding my inner Goddess that once felt so oppressed (and suppressed) and allowing her to illuminate those around her.

I will tell my story.

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Habits for Successful People


I’ve never been able to see myself as a successful person. I’ve seen others potential and that turned into success, but not my own. And when I say success, I don’t mean that they’re making 500k a year or that they discovered the cure for cancer. While the latter of those would be great, what I really mean by successful is that these people went after what they wanted and achieved it. They set goals, they met those goals, they worked hard, and yes—some have had a great deal of privilege and that has absolutely played a role in what they’ve been able to accomplish—but they still saw a potential in themselves that I didn’t see in myself. At most, I saw myself a stay-at-mom, not living much past my kids getting out of school. And as with all those that had visions for themselves and made those things happen, I’d been doing the same. I was making my vision for myself come true.

When I began working on myself, this vision slowly changed. It’s taken years, though. And even now, I don’t always—or even often—see myself positively in some future sense of myself. It’s like a brick wall. I see nothing past this barrier.

I have goals, sure… I’m still happily running my small press and working toward shifting rape culture. I’m still in college, was accepted to the UW and into my competitive program, and I even got A’s (like all A’s!) this last year—and these were hard fucking classes! I have my writing, which I’m still seeing improvement with. I’m still working through PTSD triggers when they arise, and I work through them so much faster than my prior ‘shut down for months on end’ that I used to experience. My house is in good running order, my health is ever-improving, so why can’t I see myself beyond this brick wall?

One of the things I’ve read is that successful people can see themselves as successes in some future image of themselves. I hear it often. I do get concerned sometimes that my inability to see myself in such a sense means that I’ll never make it to where I want to be. If I can’t see it for myself, then how do I get there?

Maybe being unable to see beyond this wall in front of me isn’t bad. It’s possible that this is my safety to keep moving forward because if I can’t see the end results, then I can’t scare myself out of doing what I’m doing. True success—doing what I want, what I’m good at, and being able to take care of myself and loved ones with the financial stability that comes with this sort of success—has scared me in the past. I didn’t want to be too visible, make too much money, be too loud, essentially, because that attention felt dangerous. It made me feel like a target and feel like if something bad came my way, it was because I’d been too loud, made too much, or been too visible.

This, of course, is complete and utter bullshit and stems from victim blaming. But it’s still something I’ve battled and occasionally, still do. So maybe not seeing myself beyond this brick wall is keeping me from psyching myself out and running the other way. But it also serves as a limitation as I then don’t know what all I’m capable of and I hold back.

My natural instinct in life is to flee when things scare me. I don’t fight. I don’t usually freeze (though I have). And I do occasionally fawn when all other methods have failed. But my instinct is to flee. To run far away and never look back. This fleeing mentality means that I haven’t often looked at other options when hard situations arise. This fleeing mentality means I always have a plan B. And until a few days ago, I didn’t see how this was affecting me in a negative way. It just seemed smart. And it has been in the past in certain circumstances. But now it mostly serves as a hindrance. It keeps me from reaching where I want to be because the moment it gets too hard emotionally, I want to run. Or the moment it feels like I’m going to fail, I want to run. I would say it’s all about pride and not wanting to fail, but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels more like being terrified of repercussion because I’ve failed.

Failure happens. And I do have pride. There is no doubt there. When my pride gets in the way it’s problematic. I don’t particularly like failing, but I don’t know anyone that does. Even when it’s used as a learning step toward the next attempt. But this feeling is different and I can’t describe how. And this brick wall I see in my mind is related. It might be related in a good way, to keep me from pre-emptively running away from things, but I do worry that if I can’t see myself in this place of success, that I can’t achieve that success.

Of those that gain the sort of success I’m looking for, there is one common thread among them—the never, ever, make excuses for failure. Not achieving something means they look at what went wrong or sideways, then they take steps to prevent that from happening in the future. But I don’t see many people like this. Most make excuses, then never try again. Or they keep making excuses for every failure, never finding their way out of that failure loop.

Maybe this is the key… no excuses. Either do it or don’t, but don’t make excuses for not doing it.

I know this is somehow all related for me. I know this brick wall I see in my mind is there for a reason and I am ready to see beyond the wall. I’m ready to move forward. And I know there will be hurdles and things that I need to work around and on, and that’s okay. But those things aren’t an excuse for not completing my goals, and this is a new understanding for me.

Self-care means that sometimes I need to set things aside and work on me. Other times it means putting a family member or someone close to me a priority over my career goals. But these things should be brief. They should be temporary. They shouldn’t be a permanent block, which is what these things have been for me in the past. But people I see as successful take care of what needs taking care of, then they get right back to their career tasks. They don’t stop, make excuses, or use a circumstance as a reason to keep staying off task. These are the habits that I need…

Today I heard Brendon Burchard discuss three habits of ‘high performers’ (aka, successful people). They were 1. Seek clarity, ask what we want out of something we’re doing. 2. Generate energy, as in, take part in things that generate the happiness you want, the joy you want, rather than wait for those things to fall on you—because they won’t. And 3. Raise your performance necessity, ask yourself ‘why’ you need to succeed at something. Why is it so important that you do?

I don’t know what all this means for me yet or why I’m even writing about this right now, but it needed to come out. So here it is. I hope others can gain from this too.

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Summer Fair – Presale Now!

Announcing the cover release and presale of Summer Fair!

As many of you know, I’m passionate about mental health and shifting rape culture. For years, I’ve taken part in fundraising efforts that donate proceeds to charities supporting my passions. The latest collection–Summer Fair–is the third provided by the StoryPenners. Melt and Haunt were the first two collections with their proceeds going to the homeless in Chicago and to charities supporting mental health research and aide throughout the US.

This time, the StoryPenners decided to donate all their proceeds to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Since it was first created in 1994, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and has helped more than 2 million people affected by sexual violence. ** This project is not being backed by RAINN, the StoryPenners are just using the proceeds to donate to their efforts.


A bit about Summer Fair

Summer festivals bring the aroma of popcorn, the excitement of rides, and the promise of real-life enchantment. Seven authors bring you original love stories, each set at a different summer celebration. You’ll experience the thrill of the Chicago World’s fair through the eyes of a plucky girl reporter and the quiet desperation of a teen working a summer job at a traveling carnival. Get whisked away on romantic journeys around the world from a sweet Texas Dewberry Festival to a lantern-filled temple celebration to a surprisingly rowdy New England Founders Day. Whether it’s the magic of a Renaissance Fair, the excitement of a Theater Retreat, or the pulse of a Music Festival, you’re sure to get geared up for all things summer with this delightful new collection.

Riding the Wave by Annabeth Leong
Amaryllis and New Lace by Gregory L. Norris
Salty and Sweet by R.L. Merrill
Dewberry Kisses by CM Peters
All the World by Marie Piper
Carnie by Sienna Saint-Cyr
The Storyteller’s Side by Harley Easton
With Stars in His Eyes by Arden de Winter

Find on Amazon Presale available now!

Find on Goodreads

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Shame and Empathy

I wrote recently how a lot has changed for me, for the better, and those changes mean that I have a clearer path to achieve my goals. Some of those goals are lengthy. Like career goals and being physically healthy. But no matter what it is that I desire, I’m working toward it. What this means is that I have to let things go when they arise. I can’t hold onto things anymore. Whether that be fear, anger, sadness, shame… I need to let them surface and face things and work through them. I’ve been doing this but it was different before a month ago. It often took me many months, sometimes years, to work through bigger things. But that’s changed.

Now, when I become aware of something standing in my way, I deal that day. Period. I don’t have time to spend on spinning or holding onto things that keep me from the joy I experience so often now.

One area that I’m struggling to deal with right now is with shame. I didn’t realize how toxic it was. I knew some, as that’s a big reason why I’m getting into the field I am, but there’s so much I didn’t know until recently. Like how shame and guilt aren’t the same. How shame is responsible for feelings of worthlessness, depression, feeling powerless, unsafe, and people that are shamed are far more likely to develop PTSD.

When I was taking psych, I was so upset when we learned that the reason some folks develop PTSD is that they aren’t as resilient as others. At the time, I took offense to that. I felt I was very resilient, as well as a lot of others I knew with PTSD, but it was just an intro. We didn’t dive into the deeper aspects of this. Like when people are shamed, they become less resilient. It’s not that they aren’t resilient by nature, but instead, something that people break away. Some might do it with intent, others might not even realize what they’re doing. Shaming can come in small digs at others. Passive aggressive comments. Even looks of disgust. And these are at the lower levels. When children are shamed by their elders, it not only breaks away what little protective shield they’ve developed, but it prevents this shield from getting any stronger as they grow.

People aren’t less resilient by nature, they’re made to be less resilient through shaming.

When I began studying shame, I came across the differences between guilt and shame. Guilt, for example, isn’t bad at all. When we screw up, we feel guilty so we learn and don’t do that thing again. Guilt isn’t generally long-lasting. We feel it for a while, hopefully learn, and move on. Our actions might have cost us something or someone, and that still needs grieving, but shame is vastly different. Shame isn’t something we feel when we’ve messed up, it’s something others make us feel.

When I say ‘make us feel’, I know we are responsible for what we feel for the most part. One area I’ve never believed this applies is when it comes to abusers. It’s too easy for them to shirk responsibility by saying, “I didn’t make you feel that way” when their behavior was clearly the source. When we’re children and our parents shame us for something we do, that does damage. If teachers, neighbors, grandparents, whomever, say things like, “Toughen up, don’t cry,” “What are you thinking? You’re just too sensitive.” “Should you be eating that?” “Why can’t you be more like x sibling?” These things are all damaging and as humans, we have a surplus of these toxic statements. So when I say that being told these things by our elders creates this shame inside us, it’s because it does. And as we grow and learn this fact, that’s when it’s on us–as adults–to undo that damage and heal from that shame.

I’ve also learned that shame causes increased cortisol levels and proinflammatory cytokine. While I’ve discussed cortisol many times, I’ve not proinflammatory cytokine. Mostly because I didn’t know what that was until tonight. But shame causes increased levels and when that happens, our receptors can become damaged. This causes us inflammatory issues. Too many to name here. And it hangs out in adipose tissue. That’s right, fat cells. The fat cells constantly release proinflammatory cytokine and it causes inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Something I battle.

So getting rid of shame is pretty important.

While I was thinking of all of this, I was also thinking about how we lack empathy as a species. Sure there are those of us that understand and possess empathy, but so many do not. As an example, I watched a video that enraged me today. Several officers handcuffed a ten year old black boy playing in his grandmother’s yard over a case of mistaken identity. The little boy was so scared he peed his pants.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the video has gone viral. It’s all over the place. Guess whose face isn’t blurred out in the video? You’d think it’d be the cops, right? You know, those adults with all the power? But no, their faces were conveniently blurred out. But not the ten year old’s. He was left to be seen by everyone in his humiliation and terror as the cops questioned him. They tried to claim he ran away and that’s why they felt he was the person they were looking for, but really??? If these officers can’t tell the difference between a terrorized child and a criminal, they have no place in their positions. And every single place that played the video and blurred the officers’ faces and not the boys, fuck you.

What angered me most was that people were defending the cops being blurred and not the child, claiming that we couldn’t have empathy for the little boy if we weren’t able to see his face. You know what my thoughts are? If it takes you seeing a little boy’s eyes full of terror for you to see him as a human being, then you’re the problem. It should not take seeing his face for you to feel empathy for him.

This was one of many instances today that caused me this rage at our species. Why is it so hard for us to feel empathy for one another?

So I bounced back and forth on what to write tonight. About shame? Or empathy?

But as I was looking up shame and the toxic ways in which it slowly kills us, what I found was that people that are shamed tend to lack empathy. Not those of us working on and healing our shame, but those of us in denial about it. Those are the folks that can’t hold space for empathy because they’re so caught up in their own distress and need to live in denial all the time.

Now, this is not a catchall by any means. We are individuals and are capable of feeling shame and empathy. The thing is, when I really thought about all the people that I know personally that lack empathy, those are the same people that are drowning in shame. And most of them are completely unaware of just how much shame they possess. They’re people that think they’ve dealt with things when really all they’ve done was push it down and suppress the issues to the point that they are in complete denial. But that shame is still there, seeping out of their fat cells and wreaking havoc in their bodies and minds. It’s slowly killing them. Sucking their joy out of them. Creating zombies that can no longer feel because they’ve shut it all off and pushed it down.

For this reason, I’m going to share about the specific area of shame I’m still dealing with. I don’t know how to get past it either. Usually, D can help. But this isn’t really an area he can help with. This is on me to figure out. Becuase it’s about feeling dirty.

It’s no secret that victims of sexual abuse feel dirty. They feel deep shame around what happened to them even when they know it wasn’t their fault. And this is where I’m at. Even with my limited exposure, I still feel so dirty. I feel used. I’ve been working on the worthless part of that and I don’t feel worthless anymore, but this feeling of being dirty still lingers.

There are so many things that go into this feeling of dirtiness and shame around that. And others certainly don’t help. The moment someone looks at me differently, or is suddenly not interested in me anymore, that adds to this feeling. When those that claim to love me find out and rather than say, “I’m so sorry this happened, how can I support you in healing from this?” they say, “You have a sickness,” that adds to this feeling of shame. Of being marked, used, and dirty.

But I’m not dirty. I was used, yes, but I’m not now. And I can’t keep giving people that hurt me this power over me. I don’t want them having that power. If someone wants power over me, they’d better have earned that power.

Researching shame helped me to see that when people try to shame me, it’s their own shame they’re projecting onto me. It’s not mine. Nor do I want it. I’ve carried shame, yes, but it’s all things that others made me feel. When I was little and one of the men that violated me taught me what it meant to experience sexual pleasure, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I wanted to experience orgasm all the time. I felt no shame in that. I felt no shame in him teaching me what my body could do. Was it still sexual abuse? Of course. But I wasn’t filled with shame about it.

When I felt shame was when I was taught that it was wrong to enjoy my body in such a way. The actual abuse was annoying. Painful physically at times. Scary at times. But it wasn’t shameful. I had no feelings about it. Those that weren’t the actual sexual abusers were the ones to inflict that shame upon me.

Understanding this has changed the way I see the shame I’ve carried. It was never my shame. And this goes for the feeling of being dirty too. I didn’t feel dirty on my own. Hurt yes, scared yes, but not dirty. That too came from people other than the ones doing the actual sexual abuse.

I don’t need to hold onto things that don’t belong to me. So now, I can let go of this shame and feeling of being dirty.

When we don’t face our shame and work to heal it, we pass it on to our kids, our friends, our coworkers, even complete strangers. But that shame we project is ours to deal with. Just as the shame I felt was projected onto me, I then projected onto others. And this is how this cycle continues. It’s the gift that keeps on giving that NO ONE actually wants. And it’s hard to see often times because while I was doing great in most areas, this is one area where I wasn’t. So it was easy to bypass it and not face these feelings.

But our shame, even if inflicted upon us by others, still is ours to heal and deal with.

The next time I feel ashamed, not guilty of wrongdoing, but shame, I’m going to ask myself why. I can’t think of a single time that I’ve felt ashamed because I–myself–thought something I was doing was shameful or wrong. It’s always others’ projections of shame, telling me I should be ashamed or something akin. And that means it’s not about me. I don’t need to do anything more with it aside from letting it roll right over my shoulder and plummet to the ground.

This has been a hard piece to write. It’s difficult to talk about these things. Just writing this will get me attacked by some, but that’s not going to stop me. Because this is an important topic. No matter who we are, at some point, we’ve carried shame. Even if it’s as simple as ‘I’m not good enough in bed’ or ‘why can’t I do that the way she does it?’. We all struggle with this subject in our own ways and this is a systemic issue. Finding ways to discuss shame without adding to it is something we can all benefit from.

Maybe the place to start is with empathy.

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