red spot tragedy
I am I was an ugly;
girl made raw; made beauty.
From Series ~ Brave House Secrets and To Speak Both Handed
Season after season of our lives we peel back each layer of shame and insecurity. Below I share a memory from several years ago; an important moment in time for me. I felt it important to bring it here to Crooked Little Flower.
Shame is placed.
There are many types of trauma; physical, mental, sexual abuse; injury, illness, loss. Often a consequence of trauma is shame. Shame is a worthless devaluing of ourselves. A feeling of “wrong”. Even when I did nothing, I believed I must have done something. With this shame comes fear, anxiety, insecurity, and self-hatred.
Why I chose to believe the things I believed about myself? How I thought making myself ugly was the answer to my problems? Implosion of self seemed safe. In the good and in the difficult, there are consequences. Consequences are not always negative. Are we ready? To handle the consequences both positive and negative? grief and joy? shame and letting go?
There was a time not so long ago, I was predominately housebound. Agoraphobic. I was terrified to leave my house. I looked around and saw danger. I felt raw and naked. I had no defense. In public, I made little eye-contact with you. It was painful. With help, I worked hard and I overcame much.
I reflect now as I am once again predominately housebound. This time, out of a different type of illness. Neurologically my body is struggling. Since September, slowly I progress. Slowly I adapt. I am grateful for these things. I am not able to drive. I am hindered by heat and humidity. I often am at rest; allowing my body to recharge enough to do things like dishes, or writing.
Two circumstances leading to similar ends.
One called, PTSD and the other called, Neurological Disease. I ask myself, why is one considered an invisible wound? Why does one of the above lead to feelings of shame and the other does not?
I ask these questions because I know my experience of shame, fear, and self-doubt led to unacceptable experiences in the medical community. I blame no one. A systemic problem, with a solution based in education on a deeply personal level.
Much like the below experience of cleansing myself of certain shame, today I cleanse myself of medical shame.
**autobiographical: artwork deals with difficult subject matter**
I am an ugly girl
no, but i once was.
I chose it. I chose to be ugly.
Wrapping myself in a blanket of shame; gripping so very tightly; I failed to allow myself to breathe. Have you ever experienced a single breath? as if it were the first?
I took that breath yesterday.
I heard; for the first time.
I saw; for the first time.
I smelled; for the first time,
and I felt; for the first time.
The compassion I felt for myself;
The person with me said, “Welcome! Welcome to this world.”
The shame attempted to come back. I kept repeating the word “compassion” in my head so shame could not rain upon me with lead droplets bruising my skin; permanently damaging my very being with its poison.
I call in panic!
A little girl grasps onto my legs;
And she screamed, and she screamed,
And she screamed!
And this loneliness and this sadness I spoke of was there with no one to protect me. This person showed me a way to calmness. For the screaming child, and for the feelings; we brought a cleansing rain.
The kind of rain in mountain lands; when you watch it thunder in; and the rain falls, and you stand there because it is so refreshing. Who cares if you are wet, because you watch it go, and because it is so hot, everything is dry within minutes.
So, for this child,
And for these feelings;
We brought this rain.
And she stopped.
She screamed into
The tears; and
She cried, and she cried, and she cried.
Then, the rain left, and she lay in the grass, in the still of the night; blanketed by thousands of stars. Why? Because you are lying on the road, in the dead of night; warm concrete; no city.
With this came the calm, and with the calm, we drifted off to sleep. And last night was one of the first nights in my entire life, I slept. I slept remembering nothing; no nightmares; no pictures in our head creating terror.
No pictures. No fears.
We did not reside in place;
Place of choice;
The place, where we made ourselves ugly.
These feelings I speak of came from a part of me I thought I knew well. Her strength I took for granted, never recognizing her worth.
I am sorry our shame kept us so very separate, for it was with her I gained compassion. Her compassion which is now our compassion.
I listened many times; but
never did I hear;
never did I see;
never did smell;
never did I feel.
Be not afraid, my sweet one, for you are precisely where you belong.
This, an experience of letting go; an experience without shame.
paint much Love, always,
Connie Karleta Sales
a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower