The Shame Game

I’m about halfway through Brené Brown’s Gifts of Imperfections. It’s a short book, but I’m taking it chapter by chapter, averaging one every two weeks to really unpack this. It’s like my Voice of Reason and I have our own little book club (although, mostly one-sided), where I draw parallels between other things I’ve read and learned. Brené’s theories on Wholehearted Living had me all in from Day One.

And then there is this whole shame thing.

When I began reading the book, I realized I never connected with that word: Shame. I still find myself pouring over dusty memories in an attempt to discover the start of shame; the root of my disordered eating.

I remember in 3rd grade, my teacher called me (at the time: a tall-for-my-age, big-boned, brunette girl) and a super-tall-for-his-age, athletic blonde boy up to the front of the room. We stood there as the class was instructed to compare and contrast us. (Why? I have asked myself this 1000 times and still can’t come up with a reasonable answer.) To this day, I remember the names of my teacher and my comparison counterpart. I remember how isolating that felt. And I certainly remember that inner voice saying, “Pretend you didn’t hear it. You feel nothing. Don’t let anyone see you sweat.”

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As I grew older and my body changed, I shielded snide comments and insults. Someone even told me how pretty I would be if I lost weight. (Making me a million times more grateful for my gem of a husband who would never say such garbage.)

It turns out my memories are not unique. When I started having body image conversations with other women, it was shocking (with weird solidarity) to discover how many times we’ve all experienced the same thing. I could write a hundred of these stories, maybe more, but none that I would point to saying, “Yep. That’s the one. We can all go home now.”

Even though the word shame didn’t resonate with me, there was a question that did: “What has your shame kept you from?”

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How many opportunities have I turned down to because I was scared I wasn’t enough? How many times have I sat in the back of the room, not sharing my ideas because I was worried what others would think? How many times did I tell myself no for fear of sticking out?

Countless.

This realization directly impacted choosing BRAVE as my word for this year.

Scared. Worried. Fear. I am done.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Joy Wyler says:

    ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dad says:

    Just this morning as I was reading I Corinthians 1:8, it was pointed out to me that Paul tells the church (which includes you and me) that Christ “will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Keeping in mind that is “blameless” and not faultless. Someone will always find fault with us. But we are without blame or we are innocent of wrongdoing “in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” when He will come and take His church out of the world to be in heaven at home with Him. Amen, so may it be.

    Love your courage and strength in this journey. Thank you for sharing this view of your path.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Dad! I’ve come to realize that circumstances create people’s perceptions. I always use this example: if someone grew up learning to hate fat people, then someone like me might never have a chance – no matter how hard I try. My new goal is just to show up and be authentic. If someone doesn’t like me after that, who cares? That’s their perception and I can’t change that… but at least I was authentically me. ❤️

      Like

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