When the energy swirling around us culminated, I could decide to ride the shame spiral or not. I chose not to ride it. It’s not that wish to be defiant, it’s just that I don’t feel ashamed and I want to be authentic.
I admit that I feel things strongly when I feel them. I am diligent about managing my big emotions when they get big. And while I have the capacity to demonstrate empathy for the feelings of others, I might not always feel the same way as someone I care deeply about. And that is a little painful for us, I think.
The big questions I’m working on now are these:
- “What space do you make for me?”
- “What space do you make for us?”
The questions can fit any context where there is more than one person in the same space trying to relate to one another. Trying to be present. Trying to be mindful. Some spaces will be separate and some will be shared. Some space is bound to be digital. Some of it may be physical.
One thing I do feel right now is vulnerable, and I feel more vulnerable right now than at other times. It is, in fact, lunar.
The antidote—a possible external validation of a coexisting state of intimacy—is welcomed but it’s not necessary. It would be nice, but I don’t demand it. Since I’m not making those demands outwardly, I give myself permission in my very personal digital space to express the way I wish things to be.
This is a public digital space. However; it’s not my very personal digital space.
I don’t share everything publicly, but I also don’t refrain from creating altogether just to keep something top secret. That is how I am expressing my choice not to be a shrinking violet. I have a journal on my computer where I let my big emotions play. Sometimes I share them if I think they might have some enduring value.
Here’s the thing: I do feel guilty that I made a happy image using an online app for my very personal digital space on my computer. I did not share it publicly. When I made it, though, I appropriated two identities into my celebratory digital creation, one of which I did not have permission to use. It was meant to be private, but because I used an online app to make it, for about 72 hours it was visible to the people who work for the app. I don’t know how many people saw it, but I still feel guilty about it.
It probably made some people laugh. Also, I’m sorry I can’t share it here so that you can fully understand. It still makes me smile when I think about it, though. And I still feel guilty that it was out there, but I have not deleted it from my computer.
There are certain forms of inspiration I may need to learn to ignore so I can truly “make space for us.” I am learning. I am growing. I am not shrinking. I am listening to shame, but I don’t feel it right now. I just feel guilty that I let a big emotion inspire me to appropriate an identity that wasn’t mine.
Brené’s story about the answering machine and this entire talk makes me feel a little better about the guilt.
All I can really do is sit with it, and that’s ok.