What is shame?
Brené Brown famous shame researcher defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. As an emotion, shame is not a motivator for changing these “flaws”. Shame does not drive us to action. Shame thrives on hiding in the shadows like a fungus.
The shame of growing breasts at an early age drove me to seek out turtleneck bathing suits. Who’s ever heard of turtleneck bathing suit? It’s incongruous and a bit ridiculous. However, I required the impossibility of showing any cleavage to even get into a swimsuit. And let me tell you, my mother had a heck of a time finding a turtleneck bathing suit! When she finally did, she was so proud to have helped her daughter in this way.
I don’t think she had any idea that at the age of 10, I experienced my first taste of sexual harassment. I was out on the playground when a boy my age reached out to grab at my newly formed breasts. I was so shocked when he did this because I was barely aware of them so how come they were so obvious to him? I guess it was at that moment that I decided to do whatever I could to hide them and not draw any attention to them. And that meant definitely no cleavage. Thus the search for a pre-teen turtleneck bathing suit.
And that is why when I wear my bikini today it is an act of rebellion for me. An act of hope. An act of light.
Letting the sun see my body is exposing the old, dark, hidden shame of my beautiful breasts (which I now fiercely love BTW) to the healing light of the world.
Shine the light of love on your shame and share your story with me!
We are not born ashamed of our bodies. – Brené Brown
Loads of love,