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0021 | shame – a thousand fragments

0021 | shame

When we fall short of the standards we set for ourselves we feel guilt; when we destroy something of that person that we have created for others, that person we wish to situate in the world, there is shame. We feel guilt when we regret our actions. Shame is the limit at which those actions become too painful for us, a point at which the self dares to stare back at itself; the inside judging us from the outside. Escaping the glare of others is not the real struggle of shame: it is the impossibility of avoiding our own withering stare. A knife that won’t stop cutting at the skin.

Mine is a shame fragmented over many decisions, over many years. Instances of action and inaction. A selfishness, a cowardliness, a refusal to yield. My ignorance. My resignation. Shame is a piece of me that died and came back to haunt.

And it haunts tonight. It took only these few photos, and began cutting again. The skin: it scars and it wiIl open again. It will pass. And it will return.

It will open again.

Reader Comments

  1. I am so sorry that you are feeling bad.
    It’s easy for me to say “Stop beating yourself up,” but I’ll say it anyway! “STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!”

  2. It’s funny isn’t it, that only those who are most thoughtful truly suffer with shame. Because everyone does things that are not proud of, that are not the best they could have done or been. But some people aren’t burdened by shame because they feel no guilt, some even revel in their selfishness or ignorance or boorishness or aggression. And those who are good people, who slip from being their best now and again, those are the ones who really feel the shame and the guilt. But must remember that real people have flaws and make mistakes.

  3. As humans, the best we can hope for is to learn from our mistakes. Oh yes, we’ve heard that before, another cliche. But it’s true. Really all that we have is the present moment. Make today a good day “Be here now”.

  4. OpinionsToGo:
    Thanks Joanne. I guess we all beat ourselves up, but that’s all part of the big picture that Kavey describes so well, beneath your comment.

    A point very well put. We’re all so flawed and that awareness and the sting of those things which we’re not so proud of are vital to keeping us going.

    Thanks for your comment, and yes, our mistakes define us daily.

  5. …. is as if somehow looking at the mirror the one that i have been incapable of staring through or even meeting the eyes of the self who stares back at me this fragment caught those eyes and for a moment gave me freedom from the fall from grace & shame i feel in my own life. perhaps matt if others did make it difficult, did hold us accountable did force us to stand there in all our shame it would be easier but somehow we have surrounded ourselves withe people who are too good to judge so we do it for them, almost daily a scar we can hide well except to ourselves in a certain light..

  6. Nadia:
    Thanks, as always. It’s dear to me to know you look and feel in the same way.

    Thanks for your comment, and you are almost certainly right.

  7. I think the readers of ‘a thousand fragments…’ perhaps should start a campaign for an open forum on this site. His writings inspire so many reflections and many times I want to write a comment that whilst relevant to him has no direct correlation with any particular fragment. Thoughts please Mr Inwood?!

  8. Charles:
    Thanks for your comment, no forum in the pipeline, but always lovely to hear that these pieces provoke any sort of response.

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