Ode to Shame


You showed up on my doorstep this morning… you …. I thought I’d left you long ago. I woke up sleepy, and I didn’t even need to hear a knock on the door. I knew you were there. I could feel you. I could feel the heaviness that precedes you wherever you are. At first I thought it was the humidity in the air … the unusual heat of November here in Louisiana … but when I opened the door, I saw you … almost saw you with my heart long before my eyes focused on your black, steely eyes. It took my breath away … I gasped a little … and squeaked … no … no … not you. You can’t touch me again.

Almost unwillingly I let you approach me. I say almost because there was a part of me that was hungry for you …. that had been longing for you … longing for your sweet, dark, paralyzing pain. You didn’t say a word. That’s not your style. You let me flounder … you let me sink into fear. You stood there with your black eyes, silently letting me know that this would not be quick. You were here to stay for awhile. “Please,” I whispered. “Don’t do this today. I can’t…” You walked past me like I had no control over who entered my house. Standing in my living room, you spread your darkness over the room. My house warmed up in your heat. I began to feel a familiar weakness, and I started to cry. The little girl inside of me started to cry. You grinned out of anticipated victory.

For a long time you’d been waiting for this. You knew the time would come. Like a panther, you watched with the patience of a hunter. You waited until you saw me stumble. Looking for the right set of circumstances, you waited. But, you’d seen me stumble before. So, you waited still. Hungry … patient … powerful …. you waited. For a long time you were with me day in and day out, and you got to know me. You knew my breath … how it quickened with fear. You knew how I moved when my energy was low. You knew my voice …. how it trembled with weakness. You learned me. I was your slave, and you helped to form me into who I became. But, I managed to leave your embrace and learn to live without your heavy touch. You knew you could take me again, didn’t you? So you waited. With every moment that passed, you became more and more relentless in your stealth. And, today, you were ready. I could see it in your eyes. I could feel it in your touch. I could smell it on your breath. The little girl in me shuddered with fear. For she was the one you were after. She was the prey. She was the tiny tasty morsel you craved.

You took me without a word. Because I remember. I remember the voices. I remembered my lines. I remember how to dance with you in your dark embrace. And, in a moment, you took me down. I began to cry. These were not tears of joy. These were not tears that cleansed. These were tears that drowned me in a river of sadness. They trickled at first and as I gurgled and spat at the words that have forever haunted me and the judgments that convict me of my unworthiness, the tears began to gush. Silently they took me away into a river of deep sadness. Deeper and deeper I was sucked into the current as it tore away at every foothold. At first I fought, grabbing branches and trying to pull myself out, but after what seemed like hours, I gave up, fatigued, empty and defeated. And, you laughed. You had me in your watery embrace. “I know you,” you said finally. “You need me.” And I cried. Because that is truth.

Somewhere along the way, the water turned dark and still. Almost swamp-like in it’s appearance, I knew this was where I had been before. I could die here. I had died here. You left me for dead. You walked out just like you walked in … quiet … black, steely eyes … grinning with hate and disgust. It was there that I rested for awhile. You were gone, and with you, your power. The wave, the storm was done. Icky, stinky, cold, tired and scared, I rose up and pulled myself along the bank until I found a gentle pasture. I slept a while, and I rested. A friend walked by and saw me. She pulled me up, held me awhile and told me a story. She told me a story of love. She told me the story of myself. She told me how beloved this story is. And, with her telling, she blew you away, and you became a bad dream. I was restored.

I know you will return. You always do. You are not evil. You are my darkness. You are my shame. You are not the enemy. You are really my friend. You teach me what I need to know. You teach me that I am stronger than you. You know nothing. Yet you know everything. You know every fiber of my being, and yet you have no idea who I am. I hate you, and I love you. You come like a cloud of darkness with your laughing eyes. You take me away to places I hate to go but I have to see. You are a magic carpet ride to a world I don’t want to see but can’t live without. You have brought me where I am, but you continue to push me beyond my boundaries. You bring old voices, old music and long forgotten songs that bring me to my knees. But, most of all, you remind me. You remind me of why I left you. I used to love you and lived in your embrace. You were my protection from the world. You kept me small. But, you lied to me. It’s okay to grow. It’s okay to shrink back. It’s okay to be wherever I am. I’ve learned to go with the flow and let you take me if you need to. You always slink back to your darkness, defeated. Good riddance.

9 Comments on “Ode to Shame

  1. OMG! That was awesome. It scared the shit out of me, and I wanted to skip ahead and make sure you would be alright….but I can relate. You have such a gift of words. Have a great day!

    • Thank you for reading… Didn’t mean to scare you but it sure scared me…. Again. It really is a gift when I can get through those times and say…woohoo!!!! I did it!!

  2. Well I am glad that you have recovered from this takeover. I understand that sometimes we have to “go there” to get better so I’m glad you’re ok now. But it did worry me. Love you.

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