What the Voice of Shame Says

This is your small life. This is what your decisions have created and this is all that you get.

You see other people’s lives and they look full. But those other people haven’t made the decisions you’ve made.

Those other people also are too good to be in your life.

Some of them are supposed to love you. Family. Church people. They try to love you at times. They really try to love you.

But they eventually won’t. You are too much work. Too much disappointment.

It’s one wrong text message.

One tone you didn’t mean to speak in.

One decision you made for yourself but that person gave you a look.

One conversation you wonder if you said too much.

It’s a text unanswered that sends your mind wandering.

Why can’t an unanswered text be an unanswered text because the one is busy? Or sleeping? Or on a 24-hour break from his smartphone? Why does the unanswered text have to be about what’s wrong with me?

That person who gave you the look maybe it wasn’t directed at me. Maybe they had an itch. Or stomach discomfort. Why can’t I even be able to discern what that look is? Why does any odd look at me trigger the shame I feel pressing against my chest?

Why does everything in my life feel so hard for me?

Self-doubt. Questioning. Analyzing. Overthinking.

It’s the waiting for people to leave me.

It’s sabotaging something before it even begins.

It’s living without expectations.

Why would anything good happen to me?

It’s having something good happen to me. But I believe I don’t deserve it so I end it. I create a fight to sever the relationship. I don’t finish the job assignment so I get myself fired.

Better I wreck it before life wrecks it.

Because life is always wrecking things for me.

Is life really doing that? I cannot get my bad decisions out of my head to give life that much credit.

I have ruined my life. This is all that I get.

It’s the nights that keep me up tossing and turning.  Wondering why I can’t have love. Wondering why I can’t have success. Wondering why God is so far away and is not personal to me as I’ve heard in so many stories from the people in my life.

It’s in those night moments when I feel the possibility of what my life could be. It haunts me because at that moment I want to believe that I can have that life. That I am worthy of who say they love me. That maybe tomorrow could be the first day of a normal life.

But then I wake up and I already know that I am a failure. The hole I got myself into is so large that I don’t want to try today.

So I keep my expectations low. I do my best to not be seen.

If someone sees me, I will only disappoint them eventually.

When I haven’t heard from someone in a while, I know why. They found out who I am. I have disappointed them. Even though realistically they have no reason to be. But surely they are. I have the list inside my head.

I apologize often. For things I don’t need to apologize for. I just do. But maybe now this person won’t leave me.

But they still will. They can see the fraud that I am. Eventually they will get tired of the fraud that I am.

I am so tired performing all of the time just to keep these people in my life.

I have people who say they love me but I doubt them. These just aren’t random people. They are people who have visited me while I was incarcerated. They can’t really love me.

So I push people away who I really want to stay. Are desperate to have stay.

A good person like that really can’t like a bad person like me. I’m not good for them anyway. I’ll stain them. I’ll drag them away. So it is best that I push them away.

Even though I don’t want to. I want these people to love me and say to me, “You are okay.”

I want to believe that if I could hear those words everything will shift for me. If only… 

Then I realize I have heard those words and I don’t believe them to be true. Even if someone tells me those words with tears in her eyes. Those words aren’t true for me and they aren’t going to change my life.

Because I know the truth of me and I am not okay.

I feel more shame for even wanting to hear those words. Why can’t my small world be enough? Why can’t the protective world I created be enough for me?

Why do I think I might get to live some sort of normal life?

For two weeks I try. I try to live normal. I try to meet expectations. I try to believe that people really want me around. That maybe these people really do like me. That maybe their words are true about me.

I perform again for two weeks. Really really really trying.

Then something random happens and I know this life I tried to live will never be mine.

It is better for everyone that I not be seen.

. . . . . . .

Shame is your story stealer lying to you that you are all these small things.

Shame is what you know. Shame is your comfort.

Because to believe the truth about you is scary. Risky. Vulnerable.

Shame keeps you comfortable in your misery.

Shame tells you that this is all you get out of your life.

Shame tells you that you are unloveable.

But if you dare to see your life you’ll realize the people who matter haven’t gone anywhere.

And that God is personal.

(photo credit: Misho Gugulashvili, Pexels.com)