I posted this Wednesday (below in italics along with image of butterflies) this week on my Facebook page. I am trying to be braver and more honest by allowing my true voice to emerge. It has emerged — always been there — I just have not allowed myself to share the voice openly. I like to write live so social media and blogging really works for me. I do work on books at home, that are safe from the shadow and sight of eyes, but being a fire sign, Aries — I like the live–put-it-out-there-in-the-moment kind of writing). I felt like I had come out of the closet when I posted that on my Facebook page (do know that I was in no way brave enough to share it on my Facebook page where I have 600+ friends and frenemies), as a recovering co-dependent, worrier, obsessive, control-freak, fixer, rescuer, etc…you get the drift. I am not an addict or alcoholic, but I do follow the 12 steps. Alanon has helped me find my voice and my people. I grew up in an alcoholic home. Although my father was not actively drinking, there was a history that was not talked about (I do hope I am brave enough to tell that story). He was also bi-polar so there was that too. Already, I am feeling shame for outing my father, whom I have so much love, respect, and compassion for. I feel shame in even acknowledging there was a problem. I do believe there is nothing wrong with sharing my story. That is the most important thing I have learned in Alanon — keep the focus on me. Which works just fine for me as I love to talk about myself. 🙂 Still, I am petrified of posting this. Thinking it will prevent me from getting jobs, making friends, being vulnerable. There it is — vulnerable. Gives me shivers. I worked my whole life to create a facade that there was nothing wrong with me. Not a damn thing is wrong. I am FINE.
But the more I read about success, the more I read about failure. The more I read about joy, the more I read about pain. It’s the human condition. We are flawed. So, I am going to emerge from my cocoon of shame and fly free of fear. Here’s to it. My voice has become too strong for me to suppress it. And you know what they say… “I don’t want to die with the music in me.” (Who said that? I googled it without any luck. Will require further research. Post in comments if you know.)
I feel like I have changed so slowly…healed from thick wounds that almost made me bleed out. My program has helped me in my recovery. I am an Alanoner. There. I am released, like the butterfly from the cocoon.
It’s funny how I hold this secret with some shame. Not as strong as it once was. My father was an alcoholic, although he did not drink. He quit when I was born — what you call a dry drunk. Now because of my butterfly wings, I have compassion for his disease. I have compassion for his struggle. The Korean War destroyed his dreams — his poetry. He was a kind man when he was not possessed by shame and self-hatred.
It’s sad, you know, that too often that not — we do not get to tell our parents how much we understand them and love them. Time overlaps for some, the generations touching, but for so many like me, our parents are gone. We are left with corpses filled with poetry.
Then I wrote this on Instagram. Like I said, the voice is getting too strong to ignore. My father told my best friend, Heidi, on his deathbed — “Don’t let Megan ever stop writing. You have to make sure of that. She is a writer. She is a journalist. She is related to Agatha Christie and Percy Bryce Shelley. Promise me, you will.” My friend, who is a beautiful Wyoming cowgirl, assured him she wouldn’t. It was years after his death when she told me that. I got mad at her at first for not telling me he said that, as my father was King of the Third Person Compliment. He rarely told me he was proud of me directly. Emotions were so damn hard for him (although he was pretty good at anger). Bless his heart. Anyway, like I was saying, the voice is too strong to resist. I’ve hidden behind a facade of perfect for too long. I am far from perfect. Nobody is perfect.
So, I started writing this on Instagram and decided to continue the post here. The Instagram post is below in italics. You can also access it by clicking on link.
Instagram photo post: “Dishes in the Sink”
Last night I scrubbed a caked on pan that had made homemade pasta sauce, cooking on the stove all day. After a lively dinner party filled with good friends, loving in-laws, and wild four year old boys, I did the piles of dishes. The pans were piled high. The pasta sauce pan was last in the sink. Its gunk gathered in thick crusts I had to scrap off. My guests had left. My husband and son slept on the couch.
I scraped the thick pasta sauce crust from the bottom of the pan with a spoon and thought about my own gunk at the bottom of my heart…my habits, my health, my hearth. I felt good knowing I am doing the work needed to heal. I told a friend over after dinner candlelight that grief was easy to share for me. It was shame that was difficult. “I don’t do shame,” I said out-loud. But yes I do, I thought. I’m working on finding its crusty cause and I’m doing those dishes by hand. For the dishwasher (#metaphor) can only rinse so much.
I’ll have to continue this on my blog as I am afraid I won’t be able to post this as Instagram has a character limit. Go to live link at top of profile: Memomuse.wordpress.com for rest of post.
What’s funny is, after coming out of the shame closet, it really isn’t that big a deal. I feel liberated. I shared this story at my Alanon meeting this week. I told the group (it was a 4th step meeting — Fearless Moral Inventory) that I posted my come-out-of-the-shame-closet post on Facebook on Wednesday night and felt so liberated when I woke Thursday morning. Then I looked on the Facebook page and saw the stats — “0 people reached.” That caused a great chuckle in the group. Anyway, it’s good to be out of the shame closet and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. As a good friend always says (love you Lizzie), “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”
I love this Ted talk by Brene Brown about shame.
P.S. – The Lame Blame Shame Game is a chapter in my memoir. So, no stealing that great title. I have it copyrighted. Ha ha. Feel free to reference it, but I want credit.