Shame and Mocking

For some of us, it can be so hard to be a human being. (I actually think it’s hard for all of us to be a human being, even those with shiny hard coverings who insist that It’s All Good! all the time…..) But I can say that for me, specifically, it can be so hard to be a human being. There’s the ‘human’ part, where my baser desires are always pressing against my civilized self, urging me to lash out and be as cruel to Republicans as they are to the world (why, Lori, that serves nothing, be kind), for example, but there’s also the ‘being’ part, that life-long experience of accepting and understanding who you are, why you’re here, what your gifts are, how you’re meant to put them into the world. Both are hard for me.

I think we all really know who we are, once we reach a certain age. I believe I do. I believe I know who I really am (although I’ve been so great at deluding myself over the course of my life, so perhaps I’m the least trustworthy person to ask!). And there are so many armaments in place to keep that true self hidden. Are you like this? Maybe we all are, and it’s just a question of degree, a question of our strength in being ourselves anyway.

One layer of my armament is shame and mocking myself. I did grow up at the knee of the master, on that front, but I’m soon 59. This is on me, now, and it has been for a long time. I’m grateful that a few years ago I got the actually brilliant idea to replace the voice in my head — previously held by my cruel mother — with Dixie’s voice, a voice that loves me unconditionally and thinks I am the great thing (and happy birthday, beloved Dixie, how I love you). So I lean very heavily on that voice now, and I draw on my own courage, to wade into my life here at Heaventree and let myself be myself, to wit:

# I want to take art classes. Maybe (ooh, I could start some serious mean mocking here) especially art classes that relate to myth and deep meaning. (Mocking: classes for older women wearing handpainted scarves, their glasses hanging on clunky glass-beaded necklaces….why do I do this?)

# I want to explore, with a completely open mind and heart, the big, deep stuff I turned away from. Jung, archetypes, myth, power, wisdom. (Mocking: what a stereotype you’ll be, old woman!)

# I want to sit around fires, in the dark, and watch sparks fly up to the stars, and not language that experience.

# I want to let myself loose, finally, and write poetry and not give a shit if it’s awful at first.

# I want to hurl paint around and find my very own deep vocabulary.

# I want to create a stone labyrinth on my property based on the shape that has hypnotized me as long as I can remember, and let that be a sacred place for me (Mocking: SACRED what an idiot, what a stereotype).

SO much of my mocking and shame relates to being a stereotype, and that’s always been a thing I’ve done. I almost didn’t go to college when I was 36 because I didn’t want to be that stereotype: divorced, single mother goes to college! (Luckily — and I didn’t even yet have Dixie’s voice to guide me — I snapped out of that stupidity and went ahead on, as my country people would say.) When I moved to Austin in the wake of Gracie’s death and assuming Marc and I would divorce, I feared being that stereotype: plucky older woman wraps flamboyant scarves around her neck and has a new life! (I realized that the danger built into that stereotype was that the plucky older woman comes home one night and can’t do it anymore….)

Maybe it’s just a deep sense of pride that makes me not want to be a stereotype — I’m better than that, I’m original!! — and I feel embarrassed to write that out loud. (And on the other hand, who in the world thinks, Oh boy, please let me be a stereotype!)

So I’m going to start trying this. I’m hopeful. I’m excited. I’m scared. I want to encourage myself. I want to believe Dixie. I want to live up to the me that Dixie believes she sees. I want to be generous to myself, open to myself, and ready to flower. Several of my friends have told me that they believe there is something big here for me, and I believe that, too. So come on, let’s do this thing.

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8 thoughts on “Shame and Mocking”

  1. The voices in your head of mocking and shame are also mine. 🙁 But when I read your beautiful words, your stories of back then and now, your FB comments, your Creekside Chats, your poetry, you are the voice for me that Dixie’s is to you. Your strength inspires me: not only are you are a survivor of almost every hardship known, you have risen above it all. You have become a role model for so many of us. You are a strong warrior, you are incredibly intelligent, you LOVE so much: your children, your husband, your grandlovies, your friends, and us, your fellow warriors. You inspire me to STOP shaming myself for what I’ve seen in the past as shortfalls and to embrace & love the parts that you appreciate. If you can do that for us you must for you, too! Much love to you my friend.

    1. Oh, Gracie. That made me cry. It made my heart melt. I know what Dixie’s belief in me has done for me, and if any little thing I do or say or struggle to be does that for you, I can’t imagine anything better. I know the tyranny of that mocking and shame, and the way focusing on our own (self-judged) shortfalls cripples us — and the terriblest part of that is the way it stops us from putting good into the world! Isn’t that awful? You have given me so much in the time I’ve known you, and you inspire me always. Always. So let’s hold hands and have the courage to be ourselves. We’ll help each other. Much love back to you my dear friend. xoxox

  2. Lori, you are the MOST original person I’ve ever met in my entire life. There is not a stereotypical bone in your beautiful body. That my mousy sounding voice is in your head is the greatest compliment I could ever receive. I only call it like I see it and my love and admiration for you is point on. Anyone who knows you could only think the same. You are a sparkling jewel in this crazy world and a gift to us all. <3

    1. Mousy sounding voice????!!!! WHAT????!! You do have a distinctive voice — the same voice your sweet little mama had — but I can’t imagine a soul anywhere who would describe it as mousy. And you know what? I think one reason your voice slipped into my mind so well is that very reason — it’s so easy to hear your voice in my mind. If it were just any ordinary old voice, a plain voice, it might not have done what it has done for me. I completely love your voice. It sounds like home to me, it echoes back to Oopie’s sweet voice, and gives me a feeling of continuity of love that is rare for me.

      I would give anything to spend some of today with you. I mean, I have — you’ve been so close in my heart all day it’s like you’ve been walking around with me — but to sit across from you and smile at you and say Happy Birthday dear Dixie, and to give you a hug, that would’ve been so wonderful. I really, really, really love you. <3 <3 <3

      1. You have been with me this entire day and I have felt your arms around me. How very lucky I am. Precious you. xoxoxo

  3. Lori, I can always rely on you to burst my preconceived, rigid notions wide open to let me just be, loosen my tight-fisted grip on who I should be, over and over, through your brave and supremely honest blog!! You give me a chance to cry, and say “yes, yes, I can relate to that!!” and be “out” instead of having to pretend. And Dixie, can you lend me your voice in my head, too? I think I know what it could sound like through your posts, affirming, warm, loving and strong! You both are stunning treasures!!!

    1. Yvonne, what a perfectly wonderful thing to say — and I really loved the “being out” part! YES — let’s get out of our dark little closets! I never thought of you pretending — one thing I’ve always loved is your brilliant and luminous way of being — but then again, I actually think we all pretend. We all have beautiful, scared selves tucked away in closets. At a minimum, let’s start by decorating the closet. 🙂 (I can extend a metaphor, baby.)

      Dixie does this for almost everyone she knows, it’s just who and how she is in the world! We all are so lucky, who know her. Her mother was the same; she called it “giving flowers to the living,” and Dixie carries on that way of being in the world. If Dixie loves you, YOU ARE LOVED. It’s the most wonderful thing, I wish you could meet her because I know she’d love and adore you, too. As I do. xoxox

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