My Shame Journey, Part 1

I have a secret.  And it’s pretty embarrassing, too.  It’s something I’ve kept hidden for a very long time.  Something I never quite grew out of, though I always hoped I would.

But I’ve decided it’s time.  Time to come clean, to let it out, to let go of the shame that clings to me like a sticky summer day.  In Texas.  In July.


So here goes…

I have this “condition.”  I don’t know what else to call it, really.  It sure feels like an affliction to me.  I’ve tried everything I can think of to get rid of it, but it just won’t go away.

It’s been this way as long as I can remember.  I find myself unable to fall asleep without creating a story in my mind.  Often it’s the same story, the same scene, played over and over again each night.  But in this story, I am the main character.

I am the hero.

I am the victim.

Growing up, the more books I read and TV shows I watched, the more these stories changed in shape and form.  A new novel or program was only as useful as its ability to become a playground for my mind.  I injected myself into the stories, I created brand new adventures…never fully satisfied, always wanting more.

All of this was done in secret, of course.  What other option did I have?  No one talks about these things.  For all I know, I’m the only person in the world with this particular addiction.

I used to cringe in horror at the thought of what would happen if someone were to find out.  And so I kept hidden this lurid affair.  Imagination and I, we reveled in our nighttime intimacies…and I awoke in the morning to the shame of regret.

But here’s the thing:  I no longer believe that my imagination is a problem.  I may indeed be the only person in the world who plays these mental games.  But why should I associate that with shame?

Maybe you’ve done this too.  You felt you did something wrong, but you couldn’t quite place what was so terrible about it.  You hated yourself for being different, strange, unusual.  You wished more than anything that you could untangle yourself from the soggy mess that is guilt.  Maybe you’re just like me, suffering from shame.

A shame that, in my opinion, is terribly misplaced.

I’ve got more to say about this.  Quite a bit more, in fact.  And so I begin a series of posts about my shame journey.  I invite you to come along, to comment, to join in the discussion.  There’s just one rule:  don’t be a part of the problem.  Don’t shame others, or yourself, as you are confronted with things that make you feel uneasy.  And I’d appreciate it if you don’t reflect your inner shame back on me either.

Though I’ll be honest…even if you do, I won’t really give a crap.

(Cue motivational girl power music.  Flash to me exiting the building all macho style.)

Yeah, that’s right.  I went there.  Done.

Until next time…

4 thoughts on “My Shame Journey, Part 1

  1. SO DO I!!!! wow, it really puts me out too.. I have for as long as I can remember. I have two that I use but they are intermingled to a degree that would make it hard to explain. The story line is so convoluted at this point hahaha. I thought I was alone!

  2. This certainly doesn’t sound odd to me. I never fell asleep at night as a child without making up stories in which I was either hero or victim. But it’s also been a very long time since I felt shame over it–maybe roughly since I learned that I could write stories down and make them better and more interesting and beautiful.

    I look forward to reading more about this!

  3. I love this take on storytelling – the shame of our inner tale-weaving and literary narcissism! You have empowered me to lay bare my desire to share a story and I am forever indebted to you 🙂

  4. Oh wow, I’m so glad I’m not the only one to do this! And yes, I’m not sure why I always felt the need to keep it “hidden”. I think part of the shame came from feeling guilty for being the central, most important character. I look forward to reading more of your posts, thank you for writing!

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