Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Shame Game

Shame, shame, shame. It’s a larger part of my life than I would like to admit. But while most people put certain events in a shroud of shame, I put pretty much my whole life in a shroud of shame. I’m sure you’re wondering what that means…honestly, how could someone incorporate shame into almost every aspect of their life? And frankly, I don’t know, but I do it and do it all too well.

I play the shame game all the time. I shame myself about the way that I look, the way that I eat, how much I exercise (or don’t), what I wear, how much weight I lose (or don’t), how well I do yoga (or don’t), and a huge number of other things that I just can’t think of right now. Hell, I even put some shame on this blog, and I’m not talking about good shame, like the getting it all out and in the open shame. I’m talking about the shame I feel about my writing or the shame I feel about not having all the right answers on my blog, when frankly I can’t possibly have all the answers, let alone the right answers.

Shame is also a huge part of every romantic relationship that I have ever had. Either I’m ashamed to be with them (which doesn’t happen super often), or I feel like that they’re ashamed to be with me (this one happens WAY more often). Now here’s the thing, I have my various reasons for feeling the second way, but the bigger question here is why in the heck do I stay with someone that I feel is ashamed to be with me? Why do I stay with someone who actually makes me feel as if they’re ashamed to be with me? Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

And if that weren’t enough, you know the feeling as if they’re ashamed of me thing, I don’t talk to them about it because I don’t want to face that reality. I don’t want to face the reality that I’m selling myself out just so I won’t have to be “alone,” which in turn leads to more shame. I don’t talk to them because I’m usually in relationships that are on such thin ice that any tiny conflict could cause that oh so thin ice to cave in on me until I’m drowning. And, though I have never drowned, any sort of drowning just doesn’t sound like it would be a very good time. But the problem is, despite my attempts to avoid drowning, I do anyway, in my own denial and shame. But I do this to avoid that sinking feeling in my stomach, that sinking, sickening feeling that’s like, “newsflash, you’ve made the wrong decision again, or you’re alone again, or you’ve failed… again.” So I stick it out and shame, shame, shame and lie, lie, lie myself into oblivion. Because it’s ok if they hurt me if it doesn’t bother me or I’m too oblivious to see it.

But the thing is that it’s not ok. It’s not ok to stay with someone who hurts me or makes me cry every day. It’s not ok (or healthy by any means) to stay with someone who capitalizes on the shame that I feel about myself. Yet, I continually date people whom I feel that way with, and I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why. I mean, you would think that I would learn my lesson, wouldn’t you?

And I suppose that’s what this year is about, reflecting upon those things and essentially “learning” that lesson. Because I can’t say that I wouldn’t be in the same sort of situation right now if I were dating, and that’s what I want to overcome. I want to STOP selling myself out on males who aren’t healthy for me, and I want to be strong enough to face that they aren’t, even when it means that I don’t have a romantic backup, even when it means that I will have to be alone for a while.

And I wish that I could say that I will stop playing the shame game all together, but I can’t. It’s difficult to completely eradicate something from your life that, until just a few minutes ago, you hadn’t even realized was such a large part. I think that it will definitely have to be a work in progress. I feel that getting back into running will help me with that because I can’t do as much as I once could, and honestly there’s no shame in that. I also feel that yoga will help because there’s no shame (despite my trying to put some in there) in trying your hardest and not being able to touch your face to your knees or your ears to your knees while doing a crazy/awesome shoulder stand or whatever. Progress takes time, and honestly…there’s no shame in that.  

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