Recently it occurred to me that I have been experiencing shame.
I couldn’t identify this feeling at first, it was like an ugly little nugget of something eating at me from the inside, telling me I was a bad girl.
I internalized these thoughts, of being bad, and tried very hard to bury them. “I’m not bad” I thought to myself. Certainly this is partially what drove my post a few days back about judgment … my mind was trying to make sense of what was making me feel not so great about myself lately.
Then it hit me. I was (or thought I was) feeling ashamed. And, lo and behold, when I thought about the source of that feeling, it derived from Bobby. I’ve thought about it before but have obviously done a pretty good job at burying any thought of it. It was time to address it.
I’m not positive I got to the bottom of it, but I am glad I have properly identified it and started to take control back from this feeling because its a waste of an emotion.
I am not ashamed.
I am not ashamed of anything I have done or who I am.
I realize that, perhaps, Bobby’s addiction made me feel shameful – but it’s not shame, it’s disappointment. I am sad that he can now write me off as part of his addiction rather than addressing the real feelings we experienced together. I know I have no control over what does, but I do have control over how I think about that relationship and I choose to remain in love with him and grateful to him. I refuse to look back in shame.
As Bennett and I continue to date, I question if I (once again) should be ashamed I am with a married man. The answer is a resolute “no” I shouldn’t be with a married man, but not because I feel ashamed. Bennett is a man making his own choices, I can’t be ashamed of choices he makes.
Both Bennett and Ayden are not as sexually adventurous as I am and sometimes this generates thoughts of shame. But, fuck, I’m actually proud of my exploration, not ashamed. It’s society that has issues with my open-mind. Why should I feel shame for sexually enjoying myself the way I have? Further, the fact that I still sexually desire more partners, more adventure and *just* more than straight sex is perfectly acceptable to me. I have nothing to be ashamed of. (But this opens up another train-of-thought…..Bennett and Ayden would not be happy, maybe not understand, my proclivities, so how do I manage that? If at all…)
So when I look at the triggers, and I think of each of them independently, I realize I am not ashamed of being who I am. All of this stuff, this is me, and I’m not so bad just as I am.
I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m more like a shot of cinnamon whiskey…and I have discovered, just recently, that’s ok with me. I like myself. I like my life and my friends and what I have accomplished. All the dirty little secrets (well, you know them all don’t you!) they are a part of me too, for better or worse.
As the lights came on in my head I made two decisions. I went back to the Woman Invisible blog and reopened some 200+ posts that I had hidden away. I had a lot to say over the period of two years and I shuttered my voice, in shame. Because I was worried Bobby, his wife or her friends would come across my blog. I don’t care. They can judge me, as I am sure they will, if I was her friend I would judge me too. They can, if they ever read and find it. But then, they need to see all of me, not just a small sliver of fun antics I left behind. I couldn’t open *most* of the Bobby posts, they are too painful, but not because of shame. Simply because I want to shutter those feelings within myself and not read about my pain in heartbreak. I don’t want to share that piece with anyone anymore. It’s mine alone, my cross to bear.
But the rest of that blog has some pretty fantastic and ridiculous stories and shows my path from separation til post-Bobby. You know how far I have come?! I am proud, not ashamed, of my progress. I am human, and a very flawed human at that, and I make lots of mistakes. I plan to make lots more and become an even better human than I am today. There is no shame in growth, love or even immaturity.
The second choice was to tell my oldest, nearest and dearest girlfriend the truth about my (dating) life since separation. This is a woman who lost her husband (and my best friend) two years ago and is *just* coming out of that depression. She is humble, kind, asexual and god-fearing. Yet, she has been my north star and voice of reason most of my adult life. We are polar opposites but sisters through love. I have been hiding most of my antics from her for 2 years for fear of her judgment and the terror I felt at the potential of losing her friendship because I thought she would be ashamed of me.
I came clean today with several of the Bobby stories….and while I made her blush through to her toes, she remained engaged, excited and interested….but most of all, she still loves me for who I am. She asked me why I thought my sexual behavior should be a reason for her to judge me (or anyone for that matter) and couldn’t believe that while she was sitting home grieving that I wasn’t letting in on all my juicy adventures! Go figure. This woman is the purest and kindest woman I know, and if my stories don’t make her ashamed of me, then I am certain I have nothing to be ashamed of because she lives a life free of any sin (if there could be such a thing). If there was anything to feel shame about, it would be the one secret I keep from her…the secret that I knew what her husband was doing and confided in me. I have never found what the right balance was between telling the truth and saving the pain, the right and wrong of holding this secret. I think it’s back there in the blog so I chose not to tell her about the blog, unless I pull those posts down. Even that thought – am I ashamed that I kept his secrets? I don’t think so, but I can never fully decide. Therein lies a question for eternity: do I unburden myself of his secret to come clean with her, when he is dead and buried and knowing these secrets (she knows of some of them now, but not through me) could destroy our friendship. I do not think I can unburden the secrets just to feel better about telling the truth, because it will create more hurt.
I feel about 10 pounds lighter today. I lost an unidentified feeling that has been weighing me down for some time. A useless, wasted emotion. When I had spoken to Libido Bootcamp about feeling this way, she gave me the quote from Anais Nin (our favorite author) that hit home and really opened up my mind to what I had been feeling….
“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.”
I’m going to stop believing those lies.
I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud of what I am, where I am going and who I have become. I plan on growing and learning more every day. And while I fully admit I am flawed, I realize I am not at all ashamed of who I am.