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My Name Was Shame

Private, Keep Out

There’s an understanding amongst family that we don’t talk about that. “That”means subjects surroundeing such feelings of shame that uttering the reminder is like stabbing and slapping someone simultaneously. Private, keep out. Not my hair shirt to launder.

old house from Shalavee.com

We must respect people’s claims to their shames. They have experienced them and it’s just understood it’s theirs not yours. Until I’m included as complicit in someone’s addiction and self-hatred. Then I am infuriated by this request of silence.

old house from Shalavee.com

Mine To Tell

Often the only choice in this situation is to either not be around this person and/or tell them you hate seeing them unhappy and you’ll say it every time you see them. Or to tell your own story of shame. This is mine.

old house from Shalavee.com

I walked into the Police Station to file the report. The building was a beautiful Victorian Gothic behemoth ill-fitted with modern office accommodations. And my legs felt like lead. Hi, I’m here to file a report for spousal abuse, where do I need to go? Here’s the form, sit there.

old house from Shalavee.com

Like having my soul and body trapped in tar, I was so slow and crushed trying to slog through. The shame was heavier than anything I’d ever felt. The police officers wouldn’t help me the night of the incident because, their words, typically abused women do nothing to follow-up their claims. I needed to go to the station and waste someone else’s time.

There I was, permanently recording for posterity, that I had married an abusive man and then continued to allow this man to verbally and physically assault me.  My name was Shame. After what seemed a century of writing out the details of a couple of events that brought me here, my leaden legs carried me out of the police station that day too.

Growth among the ruins from Shalavee.com

It would be some time before the marriage would end. He was later arrested for not showing up for his rehabilitation at the House of Ruth. I bailed him out of this too even though I said I never would. It’s not over til it’s over. Or you’re over it. Only when I finally owned my choice to be a victim did I then have the power to choose to leave. Cutting your losses can be the hardest choice ever. And I never wanted to look back. Not until I knew that doing so would mean something. As my baby girl just turned one, it means a lot. Only in owning my bad choices, can I model choosing better ones.

Playtime

As children, we learn numerous other essential life skills from play. We learn how to get along with others and how to practice self-control lest we lose our playmates due to a tantrum. And play makes us happy. So, is it surprising that happiness has been linked to success? I suppose you can be successful without being happy (Donald Trump) but are you enjoying the success?

A successful happy life is also linked with humor because laughter is a direct antidote to pessimism and discouragement. So to attempt to lead a successful life, it would seem we need to start shopping from the happiness aisle. And if that means playing more, so be it.

 dog pillow on couch from Playtime post on Shalavee.com

According to Dr. Alan Marlatt of the University of Washington, if we make the play activities ‘shoulds’ and not ‘wants’, “We run the risk of burn-out and turn to alcohol and other chemical substances to give us relief that we get from play”. Um, yes.

Play activities need to be “want” activities and not “should” activities. And I can say I have spent so very much time stuck in the “But I need to get this done and I should accomplish that before I let myself play” section of that other aisle. Such a habit of wanting to accomplish but not realizing I no longer valued fun and lived in a constant state of boredom, continual hard labor, and adultness. Until recently when I have discovered Creative Flow and am Connecting the Dots of creative self.

 Fiona and Mr Crackers from Playtime post on Shalavee.com

What kind of parent would I be if I did this to my children. Even as a farmer with multiple children, if I needed to till the garden and plow the fields and rethatch the roof, I would still need to cut those laborers some slack to get their yayas out. Because that’s what you do.

In my graduation to adulthood, I forgot what it was like to be a child. To play and learn and wonder and add to the world I am in. I became subsistence girl. Survival mode keeps you alive alright. But it is our destiny to do more than just survive. We have the gift to live and thrive and grow.

jammling on that xylophone from Shalavee.com

So I vow to give myself way more time to play. Whatever that means and however I can make that happen. Play is more important than I have ever given it credit. And so is happiness. Happiness is all it’s cracked up to be.

Rock On Talbot Humane’s Preview Party at the Avalon Theater

Thursday night was my Nouveau inspired rocking chair‘s coming out party for the Talbot County Maryland’s Humane Society Fundraiser, Rock On Talbot Humane. Held at the Avalon Theater, the thirty painted rocking chairs were on display on stage as the artists and business owners who will be hosting the chairs, looked and mingle and nibbled.

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

It was nice to see the chair I’d worked so hard on. And it was really wonderful to see all the other very different and equally labored over chairs as well. The rocking chairs were as diverse as the people working on them. Definitely a Chesapeake Bay area event as you can see by the images of waterfowl, retrievers, Old Bay, fish, and sailboats.

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

Happily, for a few brief moments, I also got to hang with some dear people who were significant in my life. Chef Dave who catered my wedding and whose wife painted the mer-cat and mer-dog chair above, and the floral designer who designed my wedding florals and I ended up working for and friends with, the beyond talented Pama of Moonvine. My chair will now reside in front of her shop on Harrison Street for a month until the auction on Sunday, May 4th at the Milestone event facility out near the airport.

My chair for Rock on Talbot Humane on Shalavee.com

You can check out the chairs and bid ahead of time at the Rock On Talbot Humane’s Page Here. Drive or walk by Moonvine in downtown Easton, Maryland, and say hi to Pama and check out my painted rocking chair. A little bird told me that my chair, entitled ‘Oh Promise Me’ after the sheet music I chose to rip up and decoupage onto it, will be a contender because of that musical connection. Yay and I hope they make their goal of 25 thousand for the animals at the Humane Society at the auction in May.

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