There was a time in my life when I was consumed with shame. I didn’t know what to call it but the was constantly there. It emulated a wall around my life and at times prevented me from moving forward or deeper in relationships.
I never wanted people to find out about my secret. My secret had nothing to do with me but represented things that were done to me. And because I could not separate myself from my shame, I appeared shy and quiet. Shame had indeed silenced me.
I often felt like I lived in three worlds. My public life, my home life, and the life inside of my head. Public life was filled with great adventures, creating opportunities, and traveling the world. I life I presented everyone, while true, was just part of the story. It became my refuge and a place of solitude. As odd as it sounds, my workaholic nature was the place I could replace the hard realities of home.
It wasn’t beyond me to have at least three projects or jobs going at a time. When people read my bio, it reads like a pick your adventure book. From working in the music industry, the fields of cosmetology to the publishing industry. Yes, I have a curious nature but some of my motivation was not wanting to go home in different parts of my life. Homelife was where the silence was. I was where my childhood haunted me and the gremlins in my head siked me out of any success that was being had in public life.
Some call it imposter syndrome, but I call it shame. Because the monsters I was fighting off were incredibly real. Memories of abuse, death, and sadness lead me to the belief that nothing I was accomplished in Public Life was deserved. And one day I would be found out. Not that I was a fraud and didn’t belong there but that truth of my whole life would be exposed.
Back in the day, “Tell your Truth’, was not a thing. My other always told me to ‘keep home at home. So anything that went on inside of our home was a secret to the outside world. And that meant to everyone including family.
That’s when I learned how to hide in plain sight. I learned how to maneuver my conversation away from me and engage a person while never speaking about myself. It was a narcissist dream.
Reconciling my life was a great challenge. I desperately wanted to be able to give my full self to my friends and companions. It was a great challenge that continues.
At 33, I began a great spiritual sojourn after traditional therapy failed. I’ll save that for a whole other post. It consisted of a series of teachers, gurus, experimental learning, coaching, and sister circles. After a year of examination of my life, I can honestly say that shame is no longer my shield. Though he lingers here and there, I have begun sharing more chapters of my life with great vulnerability and openness.
This also came from putting in the work to heal years of abuse and trauma. Not only healing but sharing my story with those I loved most. Just the other day, I told a friend who I’ve known for almost 30 years about my life as a preteen. It is apart of my life I am still grappling with. But it is indeed my truth. I also shared with him my journey of release and forgiveness which is important in the process of accepting yourself.
It seems the more I tell my story, the more my heart heals and shame continues to dissipate. This is why I do not subscribe to the ideas of imposter syndrome because my life is indeed real.
It was the decision to take the time to discover myself that allowed me to shed my shame and share myself completely. Though I am still a private person, I feel enriched being able to be myself no matter where I am. That is freedom.
Founder, Black Women Amplified
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