I feel a lot of shame surrounding my project. I feel a lot of shame surrounding imperfection in general. I don’t want to address it, and so instead, I walked into my family history presentation prepared to let out an ounce of vulnerability. I was so ashamed about my family’s history and the way I handled my project that I had shoved my shame so far inside of me that I didn’t even know it was there. And then, when I tried to let out an ounce, there was a flood.
I was teaching yoga with youth who have been incarcerated at a juvenile detention center last weekend. We were using yoga pretzel cards. Something interesting happened during airplane pose. “Where will you fly your plane?” read my co-teacher, who is a woman of color.
“I’m going to Africa” declared a female identified youth, a woman of color. My co-teacher agreed.
“I’m going to Japan to find my siblings” said another young woman of color.
I was silent.
I worried that if I told them I would go to Italy I would be judged as privileged and, obviously, white. That I would be JUDGED for wanting to go to a beautiful place that was once the homeland of my family.
I’m surprised that I didn’t fall out of my airplane as I contemplated telling them I would go to Germany to see family. I thought about how they might instantly think that my german ancestors were possibly involved in Adolf Hitler’s work. And I was ashamed that I never had such a thought.
My shame tells me a lot about myself. I know that when I am feeling shame that I don’t want to speak about, I need to find more time to process it. I can recognize afterwards when I have had large moments of shame that I try to cover up by being busy, pretending I can do everything, pretending that I have it all together.
It’s been difficult for me to admit that I have deep and kinda dark feelings about this. It’s been hard for me to admit that I need my life to be more conducive to my healing. I have for such a long time seen myself as a type of healer. Someone who was always there to help others. Now that I need to help myself I feel guilty that I can’t give more of my energy to helping others.
I realize that helping makes me feel whole when I am covering up being broken. Focusing on others allows me to escape and ignore my internal pain.
I look at others and what they need instead of looking at myself. This is a pattern that I have learned from my family and then tried to use to help certain members of my family, only to find resentment when all is said and done. I resent that I spent so much time on other people’s happiness. I resent that this pattern has created a large secret
I resent that we’re not perfect, that we pretended to be perfect, that I believed we were nearly perfect, and now that I know that we’re not, I feel betrayed.