Posted in Of Psyche

Of Shame


I had written a post a couple of weeks ago in support of an anti-cyberbullying campaign, but deeply-ingrained shame has made me take the decision not to publish it. I could have given an objective, generalised take on it, but it would be the same old, “don’t bully people on the internet because it hurts them.” As if no one had had that revelation. I am no celebrity who can tweet or make a 30 second video, using my charm, telling people not to bully, with a significant percentage of people agreeing, at least for sometime. I am sure it is possible, but as a writer and a blogger, and as a human being with experiences of being bullied, I cannot write unless I start from a position of relating the truth to you. And the effect those truths had on me. Clearly, they are deep enough to prevent me from doing my part in a much greater cause. I am ashamed at my inability to be bigger than this and stand up for what is right. And, I am ashamed of being ashamed.

It isn’t fear that draws you back from living your life authentically. Fear is only present in the anticipation or in the presence of something that can cause you harm in some way. It is shame that creates fear, to various degrees. Fear is only the response, the practical and precautionary alarm that saves you from potential danger. Shame is the reminder, the intellectual, emotional and physical feeling constant in you. It is caused by something you were or did, which someone else told you, you are not allowed to do. And ‘allowed’ is to put it mildly.

Writing that post was immensely cathartic for me. I had only a hunch of what to write, but something happened in real life that triggered me to pour it all out. Which I did, page after page in longhand, crying all the time. At the end of it, I felt relief, joy, that I had made these personal revelations, discoveries, that told me what I needed to do to make something good come out of these experiences. I felt like I could be different, renewed somehow. Even my tone was different, not the usual mellow, polite, self-deprecating, oh-please-allow-me-to-exist-and-eat-up-this-space  I usually have as I go about life. It was crisper, daring. All it took for me to go back to normal was go to sleep and wake up the next day.

I grew new fears, and legitimate ones. I get roughly 20 views per post. Even if this post would have been in support of a campaign, there wouldn’t have been a much greater viewership than that. I realised in a cynical, indifferent but nevertheless truthful state of mind, it won’t matter. I am writing it to matter, I am writing it because I want it to make a difference. Not to end up in the jungle of well-meaning words on the internet. My “story” would have been nothing compared to the piles and piles of much worse experiences shared on the internet, that often invite voyeuristic and judgemental commentary. It is wrongful to assume that your presence on the internet is validation. It would be validated if you truly believed that the internet “approves” of what you put out. But, the internet sits in judgement, and in voyeuristic pleasure. There is a very small percentage of people who actually care.

But, these elements of social media come and go. My post today would be in some long-forgotten archives of tomorrow, maybe even forgotten by me. But, the experiences won’t go away. The shame and insecurities they caused me would only mushroom further when I would remember there is some freely available source to them on the internet, accessible even to my bullies. I cannot do this. I am not strong enough for it.

What I am strong enough for, is to do my best to not let it happen to others. And this is something you absolutely must do. I thought my revelations would free me from the pain these experiences have caused me, but they didn’t. What they did, however, was remind me of every time I stood up, for myself and others, when I saw harm being done. There are many who believe that those who have been bullied or abused become perpetrators themselves, in their own capacity. I strongly object to that. Being a bully or an abuser is a choice, a personal characteristic, not a logical consequence. Even if you have never been bullied (which makes you a rarity in this day and age), it is your responsibility as a human being to do your best to stop it, or lend a supporting hand and your attention to those who suffer. The internet can be a morally corrupt place, but those who made it so were not born in it. They were born in the real world, carrying its ritual and customs to this other medium of human interaction. It is your responsibility to make it better, to show that there are people who still care, even in this land of anonymity and free expression, for those who are made to suffer.


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

4 thoughts on “Of Shame

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Powerful piece. And also well done for writing the other piece even if you never share it [although never discount the good you can do for one of those 20 people who click on each post you put out – who knows how deeply it might affect, challenge, change or inspire? And you don’t need to [and probably won’t] ever affect, change, challenge or inspire the whole internet or world, BUT maybe each of us don’t have to – maybe it’s just our 20 people or even one or two of them. People are coming here for a reason and so don’t hesitate to do the best you can do with that opportunity.

    But maybe also the bullying piece was just for you and that is okay too. Sounds like it was really powerful for you to be able to write and so even if you never share it, it has done it’s part. But maybe later you will feel brave enough to give it a try and that will no doubt be amazing for everyone that spends time here.

    Keep on and thank you for being brave about being brave
    love brett fish

    1. Thank you very much! I felt that piece was more directed towards perpetrators. It is towards them that I want it to matter. I am very lucky to have very decent people reading my blog. It has helped create a very positive place, which by itself is a rarity on the internet. But, I like to write in order to understand, without judgement, why perpetrators do what they do. And unlike some of my other posts, I couldn’t reach the objectivity I needed to write something like that. But, you are right. At least I have that post for myself, where for the first time I tried to make sense of those experiences and see if I can turn them into something productive. Thank you so much for pointing that out. And for your kind words. And for reading!

  2. Never silence your own voice. So what if only 20 people hear you? The most important listener is yourself. Too many people try to take us down and put us in our place, we should never be afraid of our own voice. This is a very powerful piece and I hope you contiune to write, because I enjoy reading it.

    1. Thank you! In this case, it was more of what I didn’t want certain people to hear. With these experiences, I’ve realised I’m not in a position to be able relate them, without feeling vulnerability and shame. I wish that will not be the case always. However, it should not prevent me, or others with similar experiences who also find it challenging to share them even for a good cause, to do something about it. That is most important, to feel it imperative to help others in need, despite feeling vulnerable yourself. Many people just accept themselves as “weak” because they are unable to overcome such experiences, but helping others should not have to do with how weak or strong one personally feels.
      Thank you for reading!

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