SHAME


I stared in horror at the box full of miscellaneous crap that I had shoved into the twins’ room.  My sister-in law and husband were searching it for baby Tylenol.  I was mortified at the sight of my box of shame exposed.  I failed to advocate for myself.  I didn’t voice aloud what I should have.  I’m exhausted.  I stayed up all night cleaning.  I baked two cakes this morning.  I had to give up in the eleventh hour.  I swept everything on the counter into this box.  But the shame overtook me.  How do we not have baby Tylenol?  I’m a horrible mother, and I’ve now been exposed as a slob.  Ugh.

When we’re judging others, we are experiencing shame about ourselves.  Think about it.  I have, and when I catch myself judging, it has seemed to ring true.  This awareness certainly hasn’t cured me.  But, it has caused me to think about what I’m experiencing and why, when I find myself judging others.  It truly is a wicked thing to do, yet it seems part of human nature.  In the reverse, when I experience shame, I perceive judgement from others based solely on my feelings of shame.

On the first birthday of my twins, I stared into the glossy eyes of my youngest, Max, and felt shame that I hadn’t noticed something that significant until the moment I was putting him into his high chair to receive his first birthday cake.  How had I missed it? Looking at the entire picture, including all events leading up to that moment, I understand why I hadn’t noticed, and then I let go of that shame a little bit each time.

Of course, someone ran and got baby Tylenol.  Max completed his photo-op, after which, I scooped him up and comforted him.  Shame persisted through years of mothering five children.  I became depressed, and then was diagnosed with clinical depression.  Prozac was the answer, right?  Everything would get better.  I would be better.  At times I was better, and then that overwhelming despair would envelop me.  And then I would feel that shame all over again.  When I was better, I was spot on…

There was a little girl

BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

…or so it seemed.  I ditched the Prozac and things seemed to level off.  Other than writing, all I ever wanted was to be was mother, wife, and homemaker. It was that trailer house.  It had to be.  I was making the best of it but, still, it was falling apart.  It’s difficult to recount the substandard living environment that we were occupying.  The floors were weak in places.  There were bugs and tiny worms beneath the carpet in the closets.  This was no way to live.  How?  How could I continue to make the best of this?  I wrote to Percy Ross.  I wrote to Oprah.  And then, I saw something on the six o’clock news…

2 thoughts on “SHAME

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  1. Ha! I forgot all about Percy Ross! I wrote to him myself but for far more selfish reasons than you. Where is page 2??

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