I learned a few really helpful things today, so all those jelly beans I ate were actually earned.
First of all, I have been feeling “weird” about my unease with this COVID-19, shelter in place, on the brink of unknown sickness, wear a mask outside, and don’t report to office life. And by “weird” I mean shame. Insert sad face. I feel ashamed that this is hard. I feel ashamed that I am having a hard time, am stressed by it, and am not acting or feeling ok. I am not comfortable, and I am very uncomfortable admitting my uncomfortableness. So I feel ashamed that I am stressed. And, to make matters worse, I am embarrassed that I am ashamed.
It is like looking into a tri-fold mirror in a fun house that multiplies myself so my shame is made exponential until I can only see myself as dripping with it, my teeth have turned long and black, my hair is all stringy and snarled, and my clothes are all torn from the shame of not feeling ok.
I can barely type the word “shame”, my visceral hand-blocking of the term is that strong. I just started listening to Anne Lamott’s book Hallelujah Anyway on Audible. In Chapter 4 she describes how messed up we got with our messed up parents who messed up our childhoods. I think in Chapter 5 she may talk about how we are messing up our kids next. I am hopeful I am deranging my kids to a little lesser degree than mine did me.
So I am deep breathing through this shame topic now. Trying to get comfortable with my shame about the shame about the stress. “Many people are stressed, Anne. You aren’t weak and unworthy just because you are not OK with all of this crazy world’s crisis. ” I heard a phrase today from my friend Nancy at work –Name it, Claim It, Tame it.
This phrase means if we can put a name to our feelings, then claim those feelings as ours by saying them out loud, we will be bringing the secrets to the light of day and they will not have so much power over us. It worked a little bit so far (which means I can type the S-word, and am working on saying the S-word aloud… Baby Steps!!!).
I like to feel brave, courageous, like a woman who is Capable. Hello Kitty is NOT my thing. I want to be a she-lion with enormous muscles, strong teeth and a gorgeously intimidating mane, or atleast a luxurious coat. I want to be leading my children single-handedly towards meaningful and wonderful, not wallowing with jagged breath. So Brave Woman- you must:
- Say the words out loud in the dark. “This is scary and I don’t like it, and I really don’t even feel comfortable voicing my fears.”
- Find a person to bring the words to daylight.
- And finally, be willing to say it to many others. They will appreciate knowing that someone else is scared; someone else wants to be strong, but just isn’t feeling it. See if it helps me tame those long snarly jagged views of myself into something new.
See you on the other side~
P.S. Just to be clear, we aren’t taming the wild lion. We are taming the snaggle-tooth scraggly hair shame filled woman into a brave woman who has confidence and wisdom to offer the world. The brave lioness is our talisman.