How Shame Follows Us Part 2

The Origin of Shame in My Life

I was taught from a very early age to consider other people’s feelings over my own. I didn’t understand the significance of this until I was well into adulthood. I didn’t understand how traumatic this would become for me.

I loved my family and friends and wanted them to think highly of me. I did what my parents told me to do 80% of the time. Haha. I wasn’t a terrible kid. I acted out at times like most kids. I had different ideas about life and I expressed myself often. I had parents who loved me but didn’t always understand me. I had family who loved me but didn’t always understand me. I had friends who cared but didn’t always understand me. Therefore, I learned to be small to make others more comfortable. I didn’t understand the significance of this until I was well into adulthood.

How Shame Followed Me into Adulthood

I was shamed for wanting to separate myself from the herd mentality of some people around me. I don’t understand shaming people for wanting to be different, wanting to have different ideas, for thinking outside the box, etc. I never enjoyed the herd mentality. I was never a person who wanted to do what everyone else was doing. I was a child and still understood the importance of BEING YOURSELF. Therefore, when people shamed me or wanted to quiet me I got angry. I was angry a lot as a kid. I didn’t know how to process my frustration with being ‘shamed’ for so many things and came out as anger. I was angry often in childhood.

Anger is not an emotion I like expressing often at all. I grew to hate myself when I got angry. I eventually learned why I was expressing that emotion. I was TIRED. I grew tired of shifting and adjusting to other people’s needs and addressing their comfort over my own. The more I distanced myself from the toxicity, the better I felt about everything.

The types of things people would shame me over was about how I dressed, my hair, and my attitude. My hair was always an issue for me. The reality is that I grew up around a lot of girls that didn’t look like me and I bought into the European standard of beauty. I didn’t appreciate my natural afro or natural curls until I was in my late 20s. I didn’t appreciate the length of my hair or how my hair naturally grows out of my scalp (it sprouts out) like most people who are of African heritage vs down straight like most who have European ancestry. I didn’t appreciate my skin tone until I got older either.

I was shamed because I liked to dress classy but I also like the fun stylish clothes too. Whenever I tried to express myself through my clothing I was told I was “doing too much”. I was always told that “classy is better”. Who was it “better” for though? Why couldn’t I do both? It isn’t like I didn’t understand the difference between work clothes and club clothes. I knew how to dress appropriate for the appropriate occasions. My parents taught me well. I just needed people to respect me more as I grew as a young adult. I needed them to understand my choices were my choices and it wasn’t about shaming them.

It has been a HUGE lesson for all of us.

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