Why have I spent a lifetime being deeply, at times debilitatingly, ashamed of the most trivial and ridiculous things? Of pimples, of peeing (yes peeing…and of course every other bodily function), of eating (yes of eating too), of being fat, of not having big enough boobs, of talking at the wrong time, or saying the wrong words, of innocent mistakes (in words, in spelling, in grammar and etiquette).
Why have I spent a lifetime being afraid of my flawed body, of my imperfections, of my perceived faults in personality or behavior?
Yes, there are things I have done, and will do, for which I should feel shame. Knowingly harmful acts— like the countless times I have chosen personal convenience over the good of others. Perfect example, the times I have purchased products without doing the necessary research as to their supply chain, simply because I didn’t want to be bothered at that moment— bothered, as in taking 5 minutes to look something up, perhaps purchase a pricier product, though I was obviously fine with the “bother” which took years off a child’s life while they slaved in making this item (an item I will likely disregard when it no longer serves me).
Actually as I write these words I do begin to see things as they are, to see the unflattering truth behind these insane errors in my calculus. Despite all that I have done to prove otherwise to myself, I still quite desperately desire the approval, the love, of others. So ingrained in my calculations is this need for approval that it colors the way I judge myself in every way. If something might jeopardize said approval I perceive it as bad, shameful, something to be avoided (even if it is in fact an act that would do profound good). And should others excuse and accept me despite doing something horribly harmful (as in the supply chain scenario), well then I don’t pay that transgression too much mind.
So how have I continued to let this ruling principle of approval hold dominion for so long? I excuse it, I rationalize it. Oh boy have I rationalized it, with countless “intelligent” reasons… “I can do more good and help more people if they accept me”, “I can function better in life with someone to love me” etc., etc.
Well I call bull sh*t on myself and anyone else who buys in to this skewed logic, because what actually does some real good, what creates profound change is when we stand up for our ideals, when we reveal our truest selves, when we by our own actions make others less afraid to demonstrate their true humanity too, to see the world through honest eyes. And, as for love, we can never feel truly loved unless we are being our complete and pure self, a self which we can be proud of because it is in agreement with our most noble desires.
So no longer will I let these ridiculous shames stop me from focusing on what I really wish to be, I will merely be this self who is trying to do as much good in the world as she can, and who doesn’t always (or perhaps often) look, sound or behave beautifully, eloquently or acceptably in the process. My hope is that in being my glaringly imperfect self I will help free others to be their truest selves as well.