I’m ashamed of myself…
(Please don’t judge me)
I’m ashamed of myself.
I know I shouldn’t be, but I am.
When you are successful, people expect you to have it all together.
To conquer every mountain.
To be impervious to pain.
But the worst part about all of that pressure of absolutely impossible standards to uphold is this: I put it on myself.
I have PTSD and Social Anxiety Disorder. I’m also neurodivergent (look it up) dyslectic, and I am a high functioning Autistic.
Please hear me: none of that is bad.
It would be unrealistic to NOT have Special Needs considering my childhood of malicious violence, poverty, and surviving the streets.
The impact is real. I live with it daily.
Truth be told, it’s BECAUSE of my special needs that I have four degrees, including a Ph.D. from Stanford and have made over $6 million in the past 7 years. I have two best-selling books, a hit special on Amazon prime with over 8 million views, and am blessed to be loved by a Black Man who delights in as well as accepts and approves of ALL of me.
I’m prefacing my shame with my accomplishments so you don’t discredit me because I am handicapped or throw pity in my face for what I am about to share.
COVID was hard on me.
My brother transitioned from it.
My live events and tour business died.
Besides for my Service Animal, Happy, I was alone for two years.
I had planned on doing a live event this May and was thrilled.
But here is why I’m ashamed of myself.
I didn’t realize I wasn’t well.
I thought I was who I use to be in 2018, 2019–before quarantine.
Before George Floyd.
Before protests for social justice.
Before the rise of tribalism.
Before being attacked on social media by White Extremists
Before being crucified by wounded Black people
Before it ALL had tapped out my sympathetic nervous system.
But I didn’t notice.
I took my body for granted.
I thought I was stronger than this.
I thought I was healed.
I had so disappeared my disabilities from myself, I lived under the illusion of wellness.
Until last month.
Due to a series of unfortunate events I had a MAJOR PTSD episode.
I pushed myself.
And I broke.
Think Humpty Dumpty trying to put all the pieces back together.
I had to cancel EVERYTHING.
I couldn’t talk to people.
I couldn’t get out of bed.
I couldn’t bathe myself.
I couldn’t function.
Yes, I could muster the mental clarity, focus, and energy to do small things in spurts. But nothing more than an hour every few days at best.
Life became to hard to live.
I spend my LIFE talking about self-care and self-love and yet, I pushed myself to the point of collapse.
And I am ashamed.
I feel like a hypocrite.
How could I be SO out of touch with my well-being considering how I have my entire life set-up to be well?
As I sit and pray with it all, I realize that while my feelings are valid, there were factors beyond my control that caused my collapse.
I’m learning to slow down and to just stop when things get hard. I realize now that I can’t have people in my life who listen to themselves instead of what I say.
I’m also learning how to let my friends, family and my Him take care of me—especially when my PTSD is triggered and I loose the ability to cognate.
Let me be clear: I’m not ashamed of my needs.
I’m ashamed of my inability to see that I wasn’t well enough to deal with the breakdowns of people on whom I was relying. When they dropped the ball, I stepped in.
And it cost me.
I kept trying to make things work.
I kept making excuses for people.
I kept tolerating missed deadlines.
My pride was in cahoots with my ego about not being a quitter. But it was like using a tea cup to get the boat out of the water of a sinking ship.
And as the ship shank, I nearly drowned.
As I be with the shame of my self-evident self-hate, I can feel the Holy Spirit whispering in my broken heart, “you haven’t danced so badly my love.” That’s a line from one of my favorite writers, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, who wrote it in one of her books I read decades ago.
I can feel my stressed-induced aching starting to unknot.
I am able to take a deep belly inhale.
I’m starting to feel my ice cold chest starting to melt.
I’m starting to see Grace peaking around the corner of my mind.
I see Mercy waving her big beautiful heart at me wearing all smiles.
I hear Innocence giggle, like a giddy schoolgirl, behind my neck as she wraps her chubby little brown arms around my neck.
The twins, Empathy and Compassion, grab a hold of each of my legs and laugh while the absorb all the shame from my body. Each time they laugh, a dark cloud of righteous, angry, and ferocious Shame leaves their mouths and turn into rainbow colored skittles. Hearing them hit the ground tickles the twins even more!
Their laugh turns on the light in my heart. And I thank God for ALWAYS speaking to me in a way I can understand.
Perhaps I haven’t danced so badly my Lord.
Perhaps I’m not the fuckup Momma said I was.
Perhaps I didn’t bring the beatings on myself.
Or the stomping.
The tubs of hot water.
Being forced to swallow.
Perhaps my special needs born in the belly of trauma are what makes me special.
Perhaps God has a plan for my life that REQUIRES my disabilities, handicaps, and special needs.
My favorite Bible verse is “beauty for ashes.” It’s my favorite because it acknowledges the trauma: the all consuming fire of pain, unearned.
When fire consumes, the only remnants are ashes. Just the thought, “beauty for” if uttered quickly, sounds like “beautiful.” Something beautiful coming from something so spiritually ugly gives me a glimmer of hope.
Perhaps my shame is a kind of mourning.
There have been so many losses to mourn.
And from them, have bloomed the beauty of my life.
So for now, I will focus on beauty for ashes as I continue to heal.
I give my shame to God.