Shame

Untangled

My mom has a particular story about me that she likes to tell: As she was doing dishes in our kitchen, she looked out the window and saw me in the backyard trying to catch frogs and kiss them. While it’s rather cute to think of a porcelain-white toddler with black curls and thick baby […]

Shame on Me

I think I’ve been brainwashed.  The unexpected thought pierced my sleepy fog. Although after midnight, we girls were dragged from our sleeping bags for a special lecture. Clumped together on a couple of couches, we yawned and tried to listen. I was sadly aware that my alarm was going off in less than six hours. […]

In Bed with Shame

Confession: Sometimes I watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” just so I feel better about my own life. I can’t always tell them apart, but there’s something satisfying about seeing Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall, Kylie, Kris, Caitlyn and Rob weave in and out of drama. (Thank goodness for Rob, as all good alliteration must come […]

Learning the Language of Hope

Shame was a language I learned early, right along with how to say “please” and “thank you.” There was an unspoken etiquette we learned growing up in the Southern United States. The tea should be sweet. You should address people older than you as “ma’am” and “sir.” I knew the taste of collard greens and […]

Breaking

I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]

The Stories We Make Up

Mutual friends said we’d get along, this new friend of mine and I. They recognized our common interests and desire to go deep. Plus, we were both mired in the mess of transition, looking for new connections, longing for rootedness here. We chatted over coffee and discovered our mutual friends were right—we did hit it […]

It’s Back. Period.

I used to curl up on the bathroom floor the day my period started. I wanted the cool hardness to counter my writhing body, and I’d lay there for hours, uninterested in books or television, until the pain calmed. The blood and the discomfort seemed unjust then, and now, for me, and especially for women […]

Muddy-Handed Hope

He’s seven now. But I often remember him as the two-year-old who looked into my catatonic eyes. I have a hard time forgetting what this little one must have felt when I went crazy. Because Grace is real and memory imperfect, his little mind has no recollection of when I had to enter the mental […]

Hello, I’m Weak

 “You may want to consider going on antidepressants,” my counselor says at the end of session. My eyes widen in shock and fear. And shame. Lots of shame. This bomb continues to reverberate in me as I leave. I have no problems with people taking antidepressants. I have many family members who do and I’ve […]

How Truth-Telling Overcomes Shame

In my mid-twenties, a fabulously handsome and wealthy man pursued me. He picked me up in his Jaguar, took me to expensive restaurants, and always called the next day to express how much he enjoyed our time together. While I appreciated the attention and affirmation, I felt somewhat ambivalent because I knew I was working overtime […]