Why sharing those things that embarrass us, can heal us….
“Chris, I liked the article you wrote for the paper,” my neighbor and friend Rob Anderson said.
“Yeah, but just as I figured, they took out the mention of ‘herpes.'”
(I was doing a volunteer gig reading to elementary school kids and was extremely nervous my first time out, for a lot of reasons … and what made it worse is that I had a gigantic cold sore on my lip. I knew for sure they’d be grossed out).
“Chris, the world doesn’t need to know about your herpes. Not everyone talks about herpes and sex like we do,” Rob said.
Well, Mister Anderson, I do believe you are wrong and here’s why.
And I’m not talking about being crude or bringing up sex for shock and awe purposes (although I have found the word “sex” in my headlines gets me more page hits).
There is something so powerful about being transparent. And instead of feeling weak –I
feel liberated sharing the fact that I fucking hate absolutely everything about growing up fat and into a fat adult; that I’ve felt my darkest about my only remaining family member; and that every day I feel so much pressure that life is going to end too soon, that I might never realize my full potential.
It is pretty amazing, once you put something out into the universe, what you get back. That when folks know of your struggle, they are much more open to sharing their journey and support.
I can tell you that it makes us accountable as well; you betcha’ when I am gone from my dojo for a few days, Lynette or Judith will ask, “where were you?” Meaning, were you hurt or just being a lazy-ass? They saw me in the back of the room 70 pounds heavier, they know my fear.
Without those honest discussions, about those things we feel shame about, that make us feel weak or “less of” a woman or man, embarrassed or fearful about, we cannot overcome them or truly get close to other people. Hiding what we really feel, won’t make us happy or give us resolution.
C’mon, we all want to be thought of as successful, together, happy people, right? No one wants to admit that they are so depressed that even going to the store seems pointless and too physically exhausting; that because they’re not making love with their spouses enough that last business trip almost turned into something that couldn’t be undone. No one wants to admit that they may have a problem in the bedroom and need a little blue pill, or that they’re failing the people they love the most; that they are desperately lonely and would do almost anything for a relationship; or that they’re scared that drinking is making them feel too shitty, too often, and it might be a problem.
I am past due having a discussion with Jim to tell him that sex hurts my hip so much afterwards, that we need to, uh, get more creative. Even with him, my best friend, I’m so embarrassed to admit that I’m only 40 something-something and have what I perceive as an “old person” issue. That I’m somehow “less than” and less desirable.
But I will. (Well, I guess I just did as he reads my blogs).
And here’s the kicker.
This is what happens after you say to the people in your world, “Hey, this is who I am, this is what I believe in, these are my hang-ups, and I’m not embarrassed anymore to tell you.”
1. You realize, with such freedom, that you don’t give a shit about what people whom you don’t respect or hold close to your heart, think.
2. You don’t waste your energy on someone who doesn’t like you on Facebook, or an associate or stranger that disapproves of your beliefs on homosexuality or abortion, or that drains you with their negativity.
3. You surround yourself with those people who accept you for who you are and stick with you through your successes and your failures. Life’s too short, right?
And by being honest, by being transparent, we are able to confront, manage and free ourselves of all those issues that have made us feel somewhat less-deserving, or broken.
PS – Jim got home early from work and read the blog. The first thing he said was, “What you need the blog to tell me you don’t want to have sex anymore?” and “Now everyone is going to think THAT I need the blue pill.” Oh well.
Amen, sister! Very empowering article…I loved it! Poor Jim…made me laugh out loud!
Yeah, I told him that the blue pill section was just examples of what people go through … ha, ha. Then he managed to tell me about creative positions. So he got over his hurt feelings pretty quickly.
I LOVE you, i love you I LOVE YOU! It’s so awesome to witness a part of your journey through how you express yourself now via this blog! And me too at that last line, I totally guffawed out loud!
Well, I really enjoyed that! I’ve always been a person who talks about all my personal failings and feelings and goings-on, especially when I listen to people who need to talk about theirs. My mom, my ex-husband, and even my partner, often criticized me for that … “Can’t you be more private? Does everyone have to know everything? A little mystery isn’t a bad thing!”
But my way has always enabled me to be closer to people (even if some have found me a little strange or embarrassing). Release the inner you and during the short time you have on earth, you can be so much better connected to the people close to you.
I still have trouble sharing my honest thoughts when I’m upset with someone (at least with THEM), but I have learned that doing it is the only thing that makes it possible to fix what’s wrong. To heal. To change.
And to Jim, I say, “I don’t think Chris wants to STOP having sex (do you?)…she just may need to try some new positions. Take advantage of the freedom!” (And nobody cares if you DID need the little blue pill. Men who do what needs to be done and those who wear pink shirts are TRUE men!)
Very refreshing view point. Every day I have patients mention the real problem they are concerned about as I have my hand on the door knob ready to leave because they are ashamed to talk about sex, STDs, lack of libido, alcohol problems, etc. My advice is to bring up your questions early in the visit and you may be pleasantly surprised that most doctors are not embarrassed or shocked by your problem. We can usually help and take the fear factor away. Oh and don’t tell me that you took at survey of all your coworkers/people in line at Walmart/Wiki what to do so you don’t need real medical advice. *sigh Thanks Chris Did I tell you about my dry va jay jay?
I was thinking of you when I wrote this. Remember you said you couldn’t read Fifty Shades as the character could only refer to her privates as “down there.” Hopefully she was able to be more honeest and direct in books two and three. I could not read them either.