Surviving shame

I got in my car and rolled down my windows. I blasted Placebo through the speakers, feeling a tingle so sharp at having found the perfect song for my angst. I wanted everyone to know I was angry.

I was stopped at a traffic light. I stared at the red like a frenzied bull, ready to go at the change of light. I turned sideways at the driver next to me and glared. I didn’t care if he caught me — he was a man, after all, and men deserved to feel some hate.

Okay, rewind.

I should clarify that I am not a raging man-hater. Nor am I angry all the time.

I get angry when I’m reminded of the injustices and dirty deeds done to girls and young women by men — and not just men… but men they know. I listened to a friend today talk about her experiences with one family member as a girl… potentially two. And as I listened to her shaking voice, I knew that this grown woman has carried damage inside ever since… and shame. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at her. She is calm, composed, upright… and strong. She survives.

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Why does this happen? Why is my friend the one that carries the shame, when this happened to her as an innocent? Why is she the one whose sense of self-worth deflates because of someone else’s crime? She is a beautiful, intelligent, educated, loving woman who deserves a partner who makes her feel like a goddamn queen.

Listening to her words, I could relate. I feel shame, like a fine glaze on my person, every damn day. It won’t rub off. I feel dirty. It makes me feel like I have to overcompensate, be extra nice, be extra apologetic, be something more than I’m not. I can never feel completely whole ever again, and I haven’t, not since the age of seven.

Why are women treated like this?

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8 thoughts on “Surviving shame

  1. Hey, thank you for sharing these illuminating thoughts on shame.
    I was wondering if you’d like to share this post for a book I’m working on about sexual assault. It will hopefully be a resource for people to be more informed, know they’re not alone, and to help others understand what survivors go through.
    People have shared their experiences, the impact it’s had on their lives, how they’ve healed, or how they’re struggling, advice for others, etc.
    Copyright stays with you and you can be anonymous. So far about 10 people are contributing stories/blog posts.
    Here’s a post with more info: https://sapphirelifewriter.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/sharing-my-experience-of-shame-fear-and-confusion/
    Feel free to email me: wordslikesilk@gmail.com
    Thanks heaps,
    JD

    Like

    1. I read your first post, and I feel like you speak my heart as well. Sometimes, I feel like this blog is a trap, too — I had started this as a means of expression, but now sometimes I feel trapped by feeling like I have to tone down the rawness and pain. I also feel like my ability to be loved and liked depends on constant awareness of my outside self and how I come across, and that being loved truly for who I am is impossible. This is partly a result of things that have happened to me early on.
      At the very beginning, your post touched on the crux of isolation due to a painful life. I love that about your post. Please keep writing even though your blog may not feel like a form of solace now. Not just your content is meaningful, but your style of writing is truly lovely and authentic. I encourage you to write, and I am following. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

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