Some Moxie posts flow easily. They slip and slide their way via the inspirational portal and plop themselves right onto the page.
Others, like this one, can feel torturous, laborious, like birthing a 12 pound baby.
Why is that?
I don’t always have the answer. This time, I sat and sat and sat with the question. What came forward was SHAME. Because I’ve been feeling it.
What also came forward was, is it ever possible to be SHAME-Less, or without those sucky feelings of shame?
I believe it is. Although, I’m not there yet.
Thank God for one of my Shame SHE-ro’s, Brene Brown, for helping us begin to normalize the conversation around shame or, more truthfully, to admit we have some shame – maybe a little. Maybe a lot.
I have a new Shame SHE-ro to add to my Wall of Shame-less Superstars, Paulina Porizkova. I find myself glued to her Instagram lately, transfixed by the depth of her vulnerability. I find myself reading her posts over and over, rarely leaving a comment, as I’m literally left speechless by her words. They compel me to search inside myself for more, to dive deeper within my own dark crevasses to peer into corners I’ve been perpetually avoiding.
Brene Brown, introduced many of us to the concept of a Shame Storm which is basically enduring a temporary bout of feelings of shame that can feel God awful.
What it feels like I’ve been witnessing on Paulina’s page is a Shame Storm.
What I’ve been experiencing myself lately is also a Shame Storm or, possibly, a Grief Storm. Perhaps, an emotional concoction, involving a healthy dose of each.
You may be left wondering, how can this be a Moxie-ful post? How can a conversation on shame be uplifting?
Well, it can’t. That is, until it can.
There is only one way out of Shame and into being Shame-less. Healing shame requires heading dead straight on, right into the Shame Storm.
Reading deeper into Paulina’s latest series of posts says it all:
“I’m ashamed of my vulnerabilities. So, I share them. Sharing them is making them less shameful, and in return, I gain acceptance of who I am. The authentic me.”
To be a Force of Character, a woman with Moxie, requires us to be authentic. To be authentic requires us to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable oftentimes means sharing parts of ourselves that don’t feel so good. You know, those icky, sticky parts that make us human.
The only way I know how to heal Shame, to live a Shame-Less Midlife, is to look directly at those shadowy parts tucked away inside, the parts that make us want to look away, the parts we’re afraid to share. The parts that feel too shameful to share.
What gives me comfort lies in the words of the ancient mystic, Khalil Gibran, that the depth of our sorrow simply carves a well into our being, one that is equal to the amount of joy our being can hold.
Perhaps the well carved by Shame is also equal to the potential we have to be Shame-Less.
What also gives me comfort is Paulina. Her page feels like a respite from most of the BS and inescapable perfection on Instagram. Her page feels real. Her page helps me to feel like I’m not alone, as though there’s another human suffering like me, just doing the best she can, while sharing her shame helping women like me share mine.
Shame serves a purpose. So does grief.
Grief and Joy, two sides of the same coin.
Shame and Shame-Lessness, also two sides of the same coin.
The years at Midlife & Beyond are some of the most powerful ones in a woman’s life. This is the time for letting go of things like shame. Feeling shame is natural. So is letting it go.
Holding onto shame doesn’t serve us. Letting go does.
It happens bit by bit, story by story, one forgiveness of ourselves at a time.
Thank you, Paulina, for being even more exquisite on the inside than you are on the outside.
We all have our shame stories. Acknowledge the feeling. Embrace it. Let it go. It does not define you.