The Game of Shame

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Photo Credit

Sometimes things happen, and I respond with a very quick knee-jerk reactions. Other times, I respond slower, but from a deep level of understanding and personal experience.

This week I was triggered by a parent not allowing their male child to buy a pink graphic t-shirt because he was a boy and wearing pink might offend the grandmother. Since when is a child responsible for someone else’s reaction—to a color, no less?!

I say nay nay.

Keep your oppressive shame to yourself. Don’t heap it on to a child who happens to be quite comfortable in his own skin. Don’t try to cram someone else, especially a child, into a box that you have chosen for yourself.

Thanks, but no thanks. That’s a hard pass for me.

F*** shame.

The Game of Shame

Oppressive shaming
Gotta get gaming
Passing out naming
Labeling and framing
Really just aiming
at a child’s heart.

Please tell me
you know about this—
saying to a child
he will be remiss
if he wears something
grandma won’t like.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

Generational cycles
repeating and repeating.
Don’t you know
that fashion is fleeting?
Colors don’t reflect
“manliness” or sexuality.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

It’s not ok to place
that weight upon a child
to tell him he’s responsible,
to make him feel exiled
all because he’s comfortable
inside his own skin.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

I’m sure I did it,
I know that I lived it,
but I’m breaking that cycle
because I can admit it.
I can share my story
and overcome the past.

It’s oppressive,
it’s aggressive,
it’s obsessive
and regressive.
It tears at a child’s heart.

Oppressive shaming
Gotta get gaming
Passing out naming
Labeling and framing
Really just aiming
at a child’s heart.

—Carla Picklo Jordan

Listen to Your Life

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Photo Credit by Fallen Designs Studio; Model: Remi the Lovable Lab

Frederick Buechner was the first one who ever encouraged me to listen to my life and embrace all of — the good and the bad — with open arms. He writes to “touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart” of your life.

So I am embracing all the stories of my life—the painful, the pleasant, and the phenomenal.

Because after all, each moment is vital to my story and “life itself is grace”.

Secrets

Sssh.
Hush hush.
Don’t say that.
It’s taboo.

Hush hush.
only the perfect blush
of color in our flawless
family tree. No embolus

of evil, no skeletons here
No binges of beer
Or illegitimate broods
No family feuds

Sssh.
Hush hush.
Don’t say that.
It’s taboo.

So my story begins:
I'm not allowed
to show disappointment
or speak pain into the air.

Surely
it wasn’t quite that way.
Anyway
it all happened yesterday.

Move on.
Get over it.
Suck it in.
Suck it up.

But
Don’t
You
Dare
Spit it out.

So I shut my mouth—
I suck it up
like a Hoover vacuum,
like the vortex of a tornado,
like a slurpee through a straw,

and all I'm left with is
one
colossal
brain-freeze.

-A draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What stories shape your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Listening to Your Life

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Thanks to Ravi Roshan @ravi_roshan_inc for making this photo available freely on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/_AdUs32i0jc

When I think of all the times I let the responses of others to my story guide the way I lived inside my story, I feel a kind of melancholy for the girl that lived within this kind of pressure box. Trust me when I say that I hold no one but me accountable for my response. However, I live now very mindful of how my own responses to the stories of others might affect them.

I have a colleague friend who has been such a great example to me of what this looks like in real time. Whenever someone shares something that has been difficult or a problem, his first response is one of empathy. Solutions are given only upon request, and I have never once felt judged by him even when I know he would have done things differently himself.

Letting go of what others think and embracing how I feel is important for my personal well being, but it also serves as a keen reminder to me of the needs of others around me. Most of us just would like to be heard—most of us just want a listening ear.

And listening is an art form.

I suppose it goes hand in hand with being present and mindful. Sitting with someone in their story is very different from hearing someone’s story. To me, listening and sitting are partners in the work of living mindfully in the present.

Listening is paying attention.

So today I choose to pay attention. To notice those around me carrying sadness, or sitting in grief, or rejoicing in personal victory. “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” is the exact definition of listening with your life. Jealously and envy dissipate when we truly rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Likewise, haughtiness and superiority go out the window when we sit in grief with those who are weeping.

Listening is being grateful in the moment.

When I am grateful for each moment in my own story, whether good or bad, I learn to sit with others in a kind of peaceful contentment that neither judges nor offers solutions. This is the very hardest for me. I always want to help and offer solutions, but most often less is more. Breathing in the positive of each moment isn’t just a simple-minded solution. It’s an internal game changer. Our whole outlook changes when breathe in the positive and breathe out the negative.

Listening to ourselves and others brings contentment.

The more we learn to listen, the more we encourage others to walk inside their own stories, the more content we will be inside our own. Listening to others encourages them to look the world in the eye and know that they are worthy, they are enough, and they are loved.

Are you listening?

You are worthy.

You are enough.

You are loved.

LifeSong

Lilting, her voice sang across the meadow:
breezing by, the butterflies danced to the tune;
grazing, the cows stopped chewing to listen;
buzzing, bees set about their pollen work;
resting, she settled into the tall grass
breathing out, she exhaled all of her worries.
sighing, she prayed another day to sing.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

How are you doing today? I’d love to hear your story.

NaPoWriMo2021 Day 15

I remember the first moment as an adult when I realized that some of my ancient ruins included fear of abandonment and shame.

Through many years of therapy, I learned to recognize the effects of a shame-based mindset in my own life. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have ever experienced any shame-based trauma (or whether you’ve given any to others), l found this great site with some very helpful information.

As I read, I saw the toxic ways I was responding to the shame I learned in my childhood. I also discovered ways to replace the old negative messages with positive ones.

I know how quickly my tongue can be critical. A snark is so much easier than expressing my feelings honestly, but I am determined to tame my tongue and break down some of my own ancient ruins.

Ancient Ruins

Stones speak
the language of time,
but the old women
could crush
a stone
with the tip
of their tongues.
Gosssip
hisssing
like catss
whisspering
sussed out
ssecrets
sshaming —
heads held high,
hands folded with piety,
noses turned down
inside their houses of glass.

—a Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.

NaPoWrimo 2016 Day Eighteen

Today’s prompt was to write a poem that incorporates “the sound of home.” I had to think back to my childhood, and the figures of speech and particular ways of talking that the people around me used, and which may not be heard anymore. Write a poem that speaks the language of home, and not the language of adulthood, office, or work.

I didn’t know where this poem was going when I started writing. Having grown up in a “shaming culture”, these stigmas are all ones I have worked hard to break. and so my perspective was trapped within these lines for many years.

Stigmas

“Land of Goshen, child! Don’t you ever sit still?!”
“Have you even brushed your hair this week?!”
“Why are you wearing that outfit?”

“Oh for pity’s sake, don’t you ever sit still?!”
“You beat to your own drum!”
“Well, I’ll tell you this: if you were my daughter, I’d put you on a diet!”

“Don’t you ever sit still?!”
“Ach du Lieber himmel, you can’t just bing bang the dishes around, you know.”
“Put a little color on your face, your lips are pale.”

“Why don’t you ever sit still?!”
“Oh for goodness sake you dress like a gypsy!”
“Where are your shoes?!”

“Don’t you ever sit still?!”
“You were the only one of all my grandchildren that I ever spanked., dontcha know.”
“Didn’t you just go to the bathroom?”

“DON’T YOU EVER SIT STILL?!”

(Nope. I don’t. Little Drummer Girls never sit still, dontchya know.)