Escaping the shame
I am in my hotel room, hiding away because I screwed up once again and got shamed in front of a crowd of people I care about. It’s a stupid, childish way to handle a screw up and I know it. And yet I am doing it again.
I could just scream at me. Scream at the fact that I tried to do my best (but apparently didn’t) and then someone noticed and called me on it, so I cried in front of them. Scream because I couldn’t pull myself back together enough to sit there afterwards and be supportive of other people’s presentations but instead sank down into self pity and wanted nothing more than to escape and cry even more. Scream because that is exactly what I did — ran from the room and curled up on the floor of the handicapped bathroom stall and sobbed and sobbed like a little child. Scream because I then ran to my room to avoid the looks and the pity… and despite my SELF pity, the last thing I want from anyone is pity. Those condescending looks of “Oh, don’t treat her too roughly, she’s fragile.”
I am not fragile, but I am tender. My sensitive side gets put on the shelf most of the time. Who can live being bruised all the time by careless comments and cruel jokes that I don’t think are funny? I protect that most of the time, but I get blindsided occasionally, despite my best efforts.
I am tired of trying to make nice with the world. I want to be me and not worry about what people think. But dammit I do. My little heart breaks when I screw up like this and I know I have to go back there (I left my computer and purse and phone). I just want to fall into the floor and disappear forever and never, never, never face them again,
I don’t have to. I could quit. Walk away. Put this behind me and “be right” that it was all their fault. But it wasn’t about THEM. It was all about me. My history, my dad telling me in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that I was never gonna be good enough. And here I am proving him right again. I hate that.
I wish I could be light and airy about this and provide some quick tips to pull out of it, so I went on the internet to see what other people said about dealing with adversity and these were some of the “helpful” tips:
1. Learn to find peace within yourself
2.Be deliberate in your actions.
3. Starve anxiety by dealing with it
4. Practice self control …
The list goes on like this…and I have to wonder – what are they talking about?? If I could do all those things I wouldn’t be reacting this way in the first place. “Learn to find peace within yourself?” Are you serious??? Just click that switch and ta-da – instant peace?
I always thought that adversity strengthened our peace of mind by challenging it and shifting it. But where is the shift in my peace of mind and self control now? Now that the tears are finally dry and my face is swollen and my eyes are red and oh-so-attractive for public appearances, I can grudgingly accept that peace of mind would have helped in this circumstance. But it didn’t come into play until later, much later than needed.
I do not want to go back there. I do not want to face them. I want to stay hidden. And I know that staying here, escaping the shame, will only deepen it. And besides, I do need my stuff.
It’s been a pretty bad day. I thought I could get through it without getting weepy. I guess not. And I wish I could ask for some solace, but I won’t because the last thing I need right now is some chirpy little sentiments like “chin up” and “brighter days are ahead.”
It’s quite possible that what I really needed was to wail and beat pillows with my fists and scream (quietly so as not to bother other guests, of course). Because now I am calmer. I am more sane. I just lost it for an instant; that split second of breakage pushed me way past the point of sanity.
Well, wasn’t this an uplifting little blog post? It might just be the first of my “tell it like it is” posts where I am truly authentic even when I am not Ms. ADDiva with all the answers (hint: I don’t have the answers … they are inside you. I just coax them out of you).
I suspect I should go back down for a few minutes and collect my stuff. And I’ll even paste on a smile; that’s socially acceptable thing to do. Actually, I do feel better. I think I can keep it together for a little while longer, as long as no one else challenges me today. Please god, don’t let me do anything else that will shame me. Not today.
My real fear is that I am not the caliber of woman that can actually do what I keep saying I want to do. Perhaps I truly am not up for the challenge. Why do I fold instead of fight? It makes me nuts and I want to change it. Maybe why isn’t the question. Maybe it’s “just get over yourself, Linda and “just do it.” Maybe…
Update four days later: I had every intention of deleting this post, but during last night’s ADDiva webinar, I mentioned my plans. Of course, that made reading the post more tantalizing (and more urgent) so it was read and now people have made comments. It feels wrong to take them down (they took time to think through and write a comment, after all). So I will leave it, slightly edited for grammar and syntax (I love that word). But it is still raw. And the shame was difficult. And I still don’t have good alternatives for the next time it happens. But I’m working on it.