The Problem With Shame

I feel like I have lived half my life living in shame. Shame that my mom, who was supposed to love me, chose to beat me instead, shame over not being as good in school as the next guy, and over course, the shame I felt over not being good enough for my children, shame of falling into depression and shame of not being able to pull myself out of that depression on my own.

I can look back on all of those times now and realize how useless that shame was. And worse how paralyzing it is. But even with that knowledge I find it hard to step out of the shame when it begins to descend on me. Ridiculously, I have been struggling with a new shame lately. Shame of my weight. Shame of my body.

Last month Zane ran his first 5K. I was so proud of him. I loved every minute of that race. But the next day my friend sent me a photo of me and my two sons at the starting line. Since that day I have walked around paralyzed to move forward in my struggle with weight. Seeing myself in that photo, realizing that not only am I truly overweight but on some level I am completely ashamed of it, ashamed enough to pull my youngest in front of me to block my body, was a blow to my self esteem.

Since that day I have thought about this photo over and over again. I have looked at it and cursed myself for being here. Cursed myself for letting myself fall so deep into this hole. And yes, I know what I would say to someone else in the same position. Take it one bite at a time, the weight will come off. You are more than the number on the scale. Think of how other people see you, not your weight but you. You are kind. You are generous. You are creative. And you give back to so many people in so many ways.

I know that’s what I would say and I try to say it to myself but I am paralyzed by this shame. Embarrassed to be in this position after a year of really struggling to pull myself out of it. So many things are going right in my life right now. Our walk is coming up in just three weeks. Meg and I are opening so many people’s eyes to the struggle with depression. Megan has graduated high school and though she has not won the battle with depression she is doing so much better than before. Life is good, but I am fat. And fat is all that I can see.

I would love to wrap this up with a solution but I don’t know if there is one. Truthfully I am just hopeful that putting it down on paper will be cathartic. I am hopeful that going back and reading this will push me through the shame and into loving myself for all of the other things that I am. And as always I am hoping that by writing this, other people will see they are not alone in their struggle. Hell, maybe I will realize I am not alone. Who knows. Let’s see what happens.