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.