Down The Rabbit Hole: My Journey With Shame


‘Alright, Seema. Are you ready? You’ve got your armour on right? You’ve got a checklist, you’ve been prepping for days. You are bullet proof, nothing can touch you, nothing can hurt you and you aren’t scared anymore. It’s taken you a long time to get here, God you’re delayed in everything aren’t you? Have you seen your sister lately? She’s killing it. She’s getting married before you too! And she’s in grad school, did you ever even try to go to grad school? Okay, that doesn’t matter anymore. Oh no. We have no time for you to be emotional over him. He left you because you’re insane, and I’ve worked WAY too hard and long to get you out of that place so let’s not go down that road okay? Listen, we just have to realize that you’re not like other girls and maybe if you just did things that didn’t scare him all the time, he’d be around right now. Don’t start crying now, I can’t handle these tears, we are over these tears. Are you ready now? Do you remember what we talked about? Stop thinking about your dad, he’s dead and he can’t help you anymore. And he probably wouldn’t be too thrilled at you if he could see you now. Let’s toughen up and get out there. The world is a scary and cold place that has no time for you to be vulnerable and express your feelings. Just get out there. GO!’

This is what I sound like drugged up on shame and overdosed on self hatred. I think of everything as a battle and I tear myself apart even before the bloodshed starts. I think shame sounds different for everyone but for me, it’s going over people, places and things in my mind and holding myself solely responsible for why they didn’t work out or why I failed or what I could’ve changed/done for things to be different. Each thought is like a knife, cutting my self worth into a million pieces until I am left with nothing but skin and a soul, lost in limbo.

Heartbreak. My God, heartbreak. It kills me everytime and I’m always left thinking about why I wasn’t enough. Was it because I talked too much or maybe too little? Was it because I listened to the wrong type of music or was it because I was too different or maybe too much of the same? Thoughts that bleed into other facets of my life and before I realize, I’m back to square one; a scared little girl, desperately wanting the approval of less than perfect human beings and standing on her hind legs trying so bad to stitch her self worth back together with their words. It’s a disgusting feeling of falling down a rabbit hole of crazy and I all I want to do is escape the person that could probably save me. Myself.

My shame tells me to move on by putting on more stuff. Subtracting myself from life and armour-ing up with hate and bitterness. To feel nothing and to take no prisoners. My shame is a monster that feeds itself off of not speaking honestly about the experiences I’ve been through and hides behind walls of fear and self doubt. My shame grows everyday knowing that if I just tweak or tinker things in my personality and physical appearance, maybe he’ll come back and realize that I’m completely ready for the way he needs me to be. Or my co worker will like me or that I’ll be a better writer, daughter, sister, friend.

I am to be silent about how I feel because my shame doesn’t have the patience for my emotions. My shame is the gremlin that tells me I’m not good enough so I need to seem like I have it altogether by buying more things, laughing at that guy at the bar’s bad jokes or saying ‘I’m GREAT’, even when I’m not, when someone asks me how I’m doing. My shame breaks me down, watches me fall and then yells and screams at me to get back up while cutting me off at the knees and handing me a bandaid.

‘I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry. I can’t be who you want me to be because it hurts too much. I know he left and I know that he had his reasons and I don’t give a fuck about them. I am not who I thought I was and more importantly, he’s not who I thought. I am me. I need to be free to fucking be that because if I am constantly putting on armour to protect myself from things I cannot change, I am failing already. So I need to be naked right now. And for a long time. I need to feel everything because that is how I am. The cuts of heartbreak are deep but they aren’t as dangerous as trying to cover up the fact that I’m not okay. I can’t hide my tears and my feelings anymore. I feel less than, but I’m living and I know that those feelings aren’t real, regardless of what you tell me. You are not real, you are just a monster, the great and not so powerful Oz that lives in my brain, waiting for me to fall so you can kick me and say that you love me. You are the not real.’

That is me getting up.