I am in the fourth decade of my life. I have lived many lives as one does in the course of life. I have been incredibly successful and an almost heartbreaking failure. I have found dreams and learned to realize that there are times dreams simply won’t pay the cost of having them. I have dealt with complicated and sometimes dark emotions and I have muddled through the rosy, smelly and oftentimes destructive emotions that are supposed to be listed in a category of greatness. I have laughed until tears rolled down my face and then cried so deeply no one saw a thing.
I have watched a sunset over a field of marshes that would take your breath away. I have listened to the music of all ages, closing my eyes and literally flying far away from the earth in which I stood. I have had love so deep that the ability to understand my own ability to defy death in order to protect it has become a part of the very blood that flows through me. I have watched in wonder as fairy tales come true for those who don’t know the truth of this life and I have literally cried watching my children become more than I could ever help them to be.
There is a large dichotomy in life. On one hand there is happiness and on the other there is simple sadness. There are rainbows in the sky and rain on the best day of the year. There are dreams meant to breathe and dreams that are meant to be let go. There is a reality that makes sure one is protected and there are lies that are meant to make sure one is giving a way to all that amass devastation. There is loneliness in the middle of love and love in the middle of the complete darkness of solitude. There are flowers that grow hardy and full and there are flowers that never bloom no matter how much we may cherish them.
There are two sides of the coin. Many believe that this world can only exist in balance. Even the notion that the magic number in math, science, and philosophy is three shows a symmetrical balance that proves the idea that this world balances. With the good, you have the bad. With the light, you have the dark. With the happiness, you have the sadness. With the love, you have the heartbreak. Everything balances. Air, wind, fire, earth and water balance in a way that allows life to thrive. You must have birth to have death.
The problem lies when the balance, even the dichotomy, is skewed. When the image in the mirror is not real, is not worthy of the person staring at it. It becomes skewed when the gift one has is traded, in the desperate desire to move away from that which we were born to do. It happens when we can look at a perfect sunset and see beauty unparalleled and yet can’t see our own goodness. It happens when we learn that God made us, the whole piece of us, and yet we can’t find any forgiveness in our hearts when we come to terms with who and what he made. It happens when the lessen is less important than the truth that is solely yours.
I have been asked to think and work on the idea of shame. The shame people feel about their body despite the fact that they work out everyday. The shame people feel when they see how far their parents once dreamed for them, despite the fact that they work each and everyday. The shame people feel when they look in the mirror and see a truth not based on a magazine picture, or even their girlfriend’s comments, but rather the shame they feel deep in their soul made from their soul. Because sometimes the shame doesn’t come from expectations but rather a darker place that is extremely hard to confront.
Could shame come from another person? Yes. Could shame come from a memory? Could shame come from the unspoken word of anticipation? Could shame come from somewhere deeper than the surface answers that every self-help book in the world promises to cure you from? Could it be more complicated than that?
Shame is the idea that no matter the truth presented, there is in fact something about your own self that does not live up to the image you have carried for most of your waking life. Some believe that image is created by our own parents expectations. Some believe that shame is created because a person has done something wrong when it would be so much more difficult to be right. Some believe that it is based on outside forces. I believe differently.
I believe that shame comes from deep within us. It comes from our own inability to see beauty in the simple and mundane. It comes from our own inability to look within ourselves and see exactly what is there. It comes from our own inability to forgive ourselves for sins that committed are of no consequence in the now. It comes from our own inability to believe that deep inside of us, where no one is looking, there is a incredible reserve of purpose; purpose to live, purpose to understand, purpose to be.
Everyone deserves to believe of themselves a strength, a light, even a wind that will blow in the goodness that has been there all along. Everyone deserves a mirror that is not distorted by our own souls but reflects the good and the bad in the balance that life requires there to be. Everyone deserves, not forgiveness, but the ability to see a truth not contorted by lies.
Everyone deserves the right to close their eyes and see not the beauty of this world, but the beauty inside of themselves. Beauty not cataloged by magazines. Beauty not determined by friends or parents; not even beauty defined by God himself. But beauty defined by our own shame and our own realizations that shame is just one half of a life required to be balanced by something so much greater.
I have little choice but to try and come to terms with my own shame. And in that lesson try to understand where that shame comes from and what in my life has destroyed me so that shame became tangible enough to actually study. I have to come to terms with a being that made me this way and a truth that is not shown easily in the mirror I carry with me. I must do this for one simple reason; my own soul is crying in pain, a pain that I created with the very real shame I have suffered my whole life.