Raw. Exposed. Vulnerable. Festering. Infectious.
I am a big believer in band-aids. I love the Barbie and Power Ranger ones specifically. Any time I get the smallest gash or paper cut, I have an overwhelming urge to cover the wound. I even put band-aids on my bug bites, sometimes pimples. A part of me thinks that once I can’t see it that it won’t hurt anymore. Out of sight, out of mind. Another wonderful benefit of a band-aid is that it covers up the ugly. I see it as a common courtesy to the human race. No one likes ugly.
In the past, I treated shame the same way I would treat an open wound. If I could bury my weaknesses or imperfections deep enough perhaps they would go away. The trouble with hiding shame is that it festers and grows. Soon my shame was no longer a part of me, it became all of me. I was shame. Broken. Defective. Worthless. Fat. I lost Brittney and became the things I was ashamed of. I became what I feared most. When you become your shame, then hope is lost. Unlovable. Hopeless. Done.
At my suicide treatment facility they taught me something that will forever change the way I deal with shame- Say it. Share it. Scream it. My instinct has always been to cover up shame, to pretend it doesn’t exist. I was encouraged to do just the opposite. I was encouraged to share my “ugly” (as I used to call it)…
I wanted to die. I am insecure about my body. Sometimes I still want to die. I get anxiety doing things that most people view as easy or routine. I lash out and say hateful things when I am hurt. I got myself into a lot of debt and have terrible credit.Sometimes I don’t get out of bed all day. I am not perfect.
When I share those things, they do not gain power, as I imagined they would. Being open about my shame took its power away and gave it back to me. Rather than feeling pressure to be perfect and ashamed of what I’m hiding, I feel empowered and connected. My shame is not who I am. It is just one small part of me. I am not alone in my shame. Over 80% of women are reported to have body image issues and the percentage of people suffering from depression and anxiety is at an all time high.
You are not alone in your shame. You don’t have to hide it anymore. I found power in sharing my shame and connecting with others who suffer like me. I hope this blog helps you share your shame and takes its power away. I encourage you to share, if not here then with someone you feel safe being vulnerable with. I know it is scary to share your “ugly” but I hope with this blog to create a safe place, a place we can all grow and connect and learn to love ourselves.
Take away the power of shame, give it a name.
Tune in next Tuesday for- Bodies Behaving Badly ( a peak inside the horror of my juice cleanse)