Tuesday, 11 October 2011

My heavy overcoat of shame.

"Gonna rise up
... find my direction magnetically."
- Eddie Vedder

I sat listening to a panel at BlogHer in August, called "Your Perfect Imperfections: Blogging Your Way to Self-Acceptance." (Full transcript HERE.) After Brene Brown, Mr Lady and Gluten Free Girl spoke, there was a call for questions from the audience. I asked Brene about not shielding the truth about my story to my children. When she answered, to my horror I started to cry.

"WHY ARE YOU CRYING YOU IDIOT? STOP IT!!" (I have very caring self-talk.) Sitting across from my esteemed work colleague Mrs Woog, I wiped my hot tears away and silently thanked her for not looking up and giving me one of those bullshit sympathy looks. This is why we are friends.

Brene saw me cry, though. Her answer was as beautiful as she is, and I haven't forgotten something she said:

"We cannot love our children any more than we love ourselves."

I thought wow, if this is true? My kids are screwed.


Last week I was looking for something on the internet, but found myself instead accidentally on Brene's personal blog, Ordinary Courage. BAM I was met with an invitation to join her in doing an e-course in ".. the power of owning our story and the path that unfolds when we decide to cultivate shame-resilience instead of allowing shame to send us into hiding, numbing, perfectionism, or lashing out."

I clicked away and thought - sounds nice, but pffffft. Then clicked straight back five seconds later, signed up, registered, paid, bought a DVD and two books.

I do not do shit like this on the internet, have never done an e-course in my life. Never believed in them.

Like every other human on the planet, I have deeply entrenched core issues that could do with a big cleanout every once in a while. I carry around a lot of shame, like rocks in my pocket. It gets really heavy, and stops me from doing a lot.

I suspect a lot of this shame was never really mine to begin with.

Dr Brene Brown is a research professor who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She's like, a Shame Professor. I started her course today. Last night I cracked open her book "The Gifts of Imperfection." Rocco was still awake at 9.15pm and running into our bedroom and I just gave up and let him sleep there. Dave was talking to me, so I had to re-read the same paragraph six times.

"Courage originally meant 'to speak one's mind by telling one's whole heart' .. over time, courage has become synonymous with being heroic. Heroics is often about putting our life on the line.

Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerablilty on the line. In todays' world, that's pretty extraordinary."

So, I'm doing an e-course. Bono says he always wants to remain teachable, and goddamit so do I.

I don't feel any different yet. Especially today after a particularly spectacular text-fight with my husband, then getting cranky at the mess in my house, walking around in circles and feeling useless because the social media job I was offered a few weeks ago is now withdrawn because I don't have a university degree.

As if I could ever get a university degree ... I'll be battling to see if I can actually finish this e-course, because I find life tricky. It's hard to do things.

I still have Hope, though. That has to count for something.


If you want to make a cup of tea one night and have a spare fifteen minutes, check out Brene talking here on the "Price of Invulnerability." Anything that cuts through my jaded heart like this is pretty cool.

This is October's Year of Turning Forty entry, but not the one I was planning on. Every time I have an idea for one, it gets pushed aside by something else.

Like a fucking e-course that I know is going to have a profound effect on the rest of my life and will cause a ripple effect to all those within close proximity.

Life is weird.

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