[Editorial note: I wrote this several months back and wanted to share it here because it still rings true to me. I have not dealt with this topic much here but this is about the pain that comes from carrying the burden of shame, day after day. This lyrical prose is my attempt to address shame's influence on me.]
You are the prickly pear companion of my youth. You are the one I have held so close to me on hollow nights and gray mornings. You’ve been allowed access to the hidden corners of my soul, the tender places, the soft underbelly. And you have embedded yourself deep in my heart, willing me to stay away, out of the light—alone, afraid, embarrassed, angry, worthless and unhappy. You are my dark companion.
In your eyes, I am a fool. You make me cringe daily at my weakness, my incompetence, my mistakes, my humanity. And I have let you in, welcomed you with open arms, hugged you tight to my chest and been surprised that over and over again your pricks sting, fester and poison what is good and lovely inside my soul. You hurt me. And I let you—again and again and again.
Each day you tell me a story that is my whispered secret: I am not enough. That is your siren song, your dark delight. And with those words you bludgeon me into submission. I cower in fear that this may be truth. I hold you and your secret tight to me. Hide it, keep it safe. Do not let the world know.
But I have harbored you for so long. My soul is wasted by your chains and terrorized from your torture. My heart grown weary from your harsh slavery and the fetid stench of your power. You, dark friend, have shut out light and goodness, halted compassion and forgiveness, and made war at the very root of my truth.
This is our goodbye. You are not welcome here any longer. This is not your home and I am not your people. Your violence and greed may not be planted in my soul’s fortune any longer. Your words may not echo in the chambers of my heart. I want you out. Forever. Your stay here may have been long but it is now over and you may not darken my door again. For your ways are not my ways and my God is not yours.
Take with you your companion characteristics--doubt, fear, anger, embarrassment, hopelessness, worthlessness, isolation and depression. They do not thrive without you and I am doing a full house cleaning. I refuse to shelter them any longer as well. They want to be with you. You are all so tightly wound, so powerfully compacted to fit neatly into the tiniest crack in any defense. I am not safe where any of you linger and I will not hold to you any longer. You are not my treasure.
I have a work to do here and it is time to air out my soul, shake loose your clinging cobwebs and open my heart as I plant my face towards the sun and welcome the Light.