"Who knew shame could ruin your life?" she asked. I raised my hand.

Brittany Shelton and I talked about book writing motivation excitement and appreciation for the unexpected drama speaking up invites. We've both been in this place for years, where awareness of responsibility to our truth and fear of all the things has kept us silent. We're both done being silent. It's an amazing gift to be invited to the passenger's seat of another trauma survivor's journey through the muck. Brittany (Discovering Beautiful, Life After Trauma) and I have many times shared in the glory of each other's struggles and reminded each other that God is there. She's someone I don't speak to nearly enough, but whenever I do, I leave the chat renewed in my purpose and power.

Writing is an art form where many find strength and freedom, but it is also like an emotional armageddon. The past meets the present and often there is war between the realities that ground our sanity. Writing shakes me and I don't always know what's going to fall out. That's both liberating and terrifying beyond what words can describe.

I write my heart and truth, and trust them to the universe with full understanding that they may be met with judgement and defense. Trauma survivors recognize this anger, because it is what keeps us quiet. It's what hides behind the doors we all know better than to open. It is the anger that stands over us while we lick our wounds, begging us to remember how this feels -- how powerless we are, and will always be, against it. That anger depends on our powerlessness, because it is fueled by its own fear of exposure. And so we dance. 

We learn to fear this anger and embrace it as a part of our lives. It becomes a mute button with no captions, and plays into our inability to communicate honestly with anyone and everyone. It stifles the voice inside us and drains the well of hope. We will never escape. No one will care. They won't believe us anyway. We deserved or unknowingly asked for it. These voices become our baseline and paper the walls of who we think we are. We crawl into the holes selflessly hollowed out by those who wish to bury us along with the secrets we keep for them. The dirt they pile atop is laced with shame and guilt just heavy enough to weigh us down, but not so heavy we can't take responsibility for not fighting through it. 

"Who knew shame could ruin your life?" she asked. I raised my hand. 

"That's its job," I responded. "Luckily for us, we know better." 

At some point in our journeys, if we're lucky, we realize the dirt is not ours to keep. We don't have to claim it, and it becomes a choice to hold onto. If we can find our balance, we can start rejecting the shame and guilt being thrown and climb out of the hole. While this sounds liberating, it in itself can suffocate us. When the only air we've ever dared to breathe was gifted in the soil, the climb out can feel like a death. Escaping life as we've known, however diseased and oppressive, leaves us feeling a sense of weightlessness we've never been allowed. The unknowns of which have often led us to jump back down into the dreadful hole, for the safety of knowing exactly where we are -- even if that means we remain invisible -- because it has walls we can see.

Writing is an art form where many find strength and freedom, but it is also like an emotional armageddon.

This journey is not an easy one. It was never meant to be easy. It will be exhausting to sort each brick and build a solid foundation where love and self-acceptance can grow. It's okay to rest and lean on each other during those moments, and recharge. We are all worthy of whatever road we wish to travel and deserving of care while we reconstruct our clipped wings.

"...healing from it doesn't mean it won't dampen your mood when you're drenched in it." Brittany called the walk, "shame resilience," and credited it for saving her life. It was then I realized that shame had connected us. It is not the enemy of joy. Shame is the vessel. We all have it, and together we can climb out. Shame is a pre-paid ticket to defeat. I have come to understand that defeat is where God waits patiently for me. I can sit there as long as I wish, but there is way out...and I don't have to do it alone. 

Shame brings us to the ledge, and, if we are weightless, we can take flight. 

Caring Means Sharing

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