When I think of embarrassing moments there are those that rise to the top. I will never forget the dressing room; I was standing in line to try on some clothes, when a nice lady asked me if all the rooms were taken. I simply replied that they were and that I was in line. On the outside this was a normal exchange, nothing too ordinary about it.
Let me just add a little more color to the scene.
The scene: a mall in Scranton Pennsylvania, America. A true Yankee, born and raised in New York, where all “a” sounds are clearly that of a New Yorker. Enter in a sweet lady with an accent identified by the untrained ear as “British.” They begin the dialogue where in the lady who may appear to be from the UK, judged by her accent, asks if the dressing rooms are full. At this time the New York grown American replies in a British accent that they are full and there is a line.
There you have it friends. I confess. I am not really entirely sure what came over me, but I do know that immediately I wanted to leave. In fact, I abandoned my position in line for a room and took off all together. There was something in me that just instinctively responded to the dialect and tried to parrot her. I was not mocking her. I don’t have a real explanation other than it felt left a foreign language that I should try to respond in. It would have been bad just to respond, but the entire back and forth exchange I needed to maintain where I first started off. To the unknown lady in the dressing room, I apologize, I meant no harm or foul. I am truly sorry.
Have you ever had a moment like that where immediately you wish you could take it away, un-do it, or perhaps erase the memory? You are not alone, and in-fact sometimes it is something silly or embarrassing like responding in an accent, but other times it is far more traumatizing. Maybe something done to you, or some action you wish you could take back. Even still, maybe it was how you were raised, or memories from your past.
Regardless of its origins; shame steals. Shame speaks that you need to hide who you are. It cloaks you in guilt and forces you to play roles to attempt at making the shame go away. It invites you to wear a mask, press the pain down, and be a different version of who you were made to be just to survive.
I am here to tell you that shame does not have to steal from you any longer, when we unveil the dark places in our lives we can be known by people, we can begin to heal what shame once stole. Can I encourage you today to speak to your shame, unveil the contents of your identity, and take off the masks? Face who you were made to be so shame cannot define you any longer.