Holy shit you guys, I committed the absolute cardinal sin of the liberal nation. It pains me to even admit it to you…. I didn’t vote Tuesday.
I intended to vote, I researched the candidates, I considered the millage for our district. I imagined myself walking into the middle school, smiling at my neighbors and casting my straight party ballot.
When I woke up yesterday, however, this socially involved, well-informed woman, forgot all about voting day. I had my coffee and began to think about my day and then I looked at my schedule.
This was my first mistake.
You see. I usually look at my schedule for the next day before I go to bed at night. The night before I assumed it would be a usual Tuesday. When I looked, I saw that I had scheduled someone an hour earlier than my normal start time. I jumped up, got dressed, threw some food and my water bottle in a bag, made sure the dog pooped and flew out of the house right on time.
Then I drove down the street and saw the political signs in the yards of my neighbors. Holy shit, I forgot to vote!
I quickly thought about my day. I live about 45 minutes from my office. How could I find a window in my day to drive back home and vote and then get back in time for my next commitment? I couldn’t!
Then it hit me… the Shame Wave!
What had I done? How could I have forgotten this duty, this action that is so precious and important to me? What kind of horrible person forgets this and doesn’t make it a priority?
Later I perused Facebook and saw the wonderful women in my life, the ones who inspire me, encourage me and support me, positing photos of their voting trophies, the beautiful sticker that proves they made it to the polls and made a difference. I saw a SheHive post asking what number we were in line at the polls, a way of encouraging conversation and sharing in the joy that is using our voice in our state. Another Shame Wave crashed. I slumped and then I remembered my beloved teacher, Brene’ Brown.
Brene’ studies shame and resilience. If you have not read her work, stop reading this NOW and go watch her TED talk! It is the best 20 minutes of information you will hear, perhaps, ever. She lets us know that shame is the root of all hurt, struggles and emotional challenges. She also lets us know we are not alone and we can heal our shame when we share our secrets with those safe enough to hear them. In a beautiful talk she did with Oprah, she delineated the difference between shame and guilt. She teaches that guilt is the awareness that we have DONE something wrong, we have made a mistake.
Guilt can be a wonderful teacher, it shows us our errors and allows us to change. Shame, however is the belief that we ARE something wrong. It is a comment on our character and is not something that we can change, it is a rotting wound that cannot be healed.
It’s also a big, fat, fucking LIE.
I am not wrong, I am not flawed. I made a mistake. I overbooked my life (again). I didn’t look at my calendar last night. I didn’t put the election date on my calendar, I slept a little longer than usual, and probably 50 other mistakes that stopped me from casting a ballot. This does NOT get to have any reflection on my character.
I sat for a few minutes with this new awareness. I thought about my life the last few weeks. I admitted to myself that I am not doing a very good job of taking care of myself. I’ve been over-scheduled, under-nourished, lacking in fun and just plain out of alignment with my goals.
I spent some time breathing and letting this sink in. Yes, I didn’t vote today. Yes, I’m a good person. Yes, I have something to feel guilty about, lack of self care and priority focus. But NO, there is no need for the Shame Shit Storm. That ends now. You may have seen my post in The SheHive thread, I said some of this there.
I invite you dear woman, to examine what you are currently feeling the Shame Shit Storm about. I invite you to see that guilt is about your choices, which likely need some tweaking because NONE of us is in balance, NONE of us have it correct. I invite you to see that there is no place for shame in your self talk.
You are not wrong. You are not broken, or damaged or unworthy of love, healing and belonging. You are whole, and in process and perfectly imperfect.
Welcome to the club!
Corinne Rogers, PsyD, LP
P.S. Want to share your story about guilt and shame? Leave a comment below! Who knows who you might inspire!
“I work hard so my unicorn can have a better life.”
That’s the maxim painted on the newest sign to grace the SheHive walls - a gift from one of our KeyHolders, Janet. It joins the ranks of the unicorn head that hangs over my desk, the giant helium-filled unicorn balloon that floats about the main classroom, the can of unicorn meat on the bookcase and the sign in the living room that reads, “You are a goddamn magical unicorn.”
I’m not a fan of unicorns - though the decor of the SheHive would lead you to believe otherwise. I’m a 48 year old woman who stopped identifying with childlike, mythical whimsy a long, long time ago - like three or four years ago (that was sarcasm for those of you new here). In fact, the resurgence of the unicorn in pop culture raised my hackles. To me, it felt like just one more way to make women more childlike and less threatening in a world that is increasingly threatened by our ever-growing desire to not be overpowered.
From day one it has been very important to me that the SheHive be taken seriously. Yes, we have fun here. Yes, we do silly things here sometimes. Yes, there is a shit-ton of decoupage and glitter and glue on our floor from events past. But, at it’s core, the SheHive was founded on a well-researched and tested scientific theory of change. Self-empowerment and community - the two things we “sell” here - don’t happen by accident. It’s important work led by a group of well-informed, well-educated and well-traveled (metaphorically and physically) women.
This isn’t child’s play - it’s a serious business. And unicorns aren’t serious business. They have no place here!
Except they totally do...
The first unicorn showed up as a sarcastic gag - a gift from my one of my best friends who truly gets me and knew exactly what it represented. It was the head of a unicorn, mounted on the wall and the underlying message was dark - death to those who belittle this work. But then the next one showed up, and the next and the next and those new unicorns had nothing to do with the macabre, inside joke. They were brought here as a gift of whimsy and playfulness.
Somewhere along the line - after the eleventy-billionth unicorn showed up - I figured out there were appearing as a message… stop denying your duality.
See, irregardless of much I want to be taken serious, the SheHive (and, by extension, me) isn’t just one thing. Just like every other magical and whole and special and divine woman that walks through the doors of the SheHive - I am both science and spirituality, work and play, whimsy and seriousness, hard and soft, intuition and reason. And all of those things together don’t negate my wisdom and reason and knowledge - they add to it.
We are divine contradictions in what we have been taught “belongs” together. And we are so much stronger when we embrace all that we are and stop hiding away in shame any piece that we have been taught is less than. You are not less than, lovely, you are more + more + more.
What parts of you are you hiding away because you have been taught they don’t belong? Inspire others and share your story by leaving a comment below.
With much love and gratitude,
After a three year stint of working full-time, volunteering nearly full-time on a Mayoral campaign and tackling grad school - often all at the same time - I had just about one month of downtime before I started getting antsy and looking for the next adventure. I considered going back to school for a PhD, but the Mister threatened to divorce me if I did because he had had enough of my absence. So I started a business instead - two, in fact - the SheHive and a consulting practice.
We probably would have seen each other more had I gone the PhD route. In fact, it’s not uncommon for us to go days without seeing each other right now.
Which is why, twice a year, I make it a point to shut down everything and everyone else and spend long stretches on the road, just me and the Mister. We’ve driven the Pacific Coast Highway from Seattle to LA, meandered through Nova Scotia, Quebec and Montreal, made a beeline for Nashville by way of Savannah, traveled the backroads to Athens, Georgia, and, just this month, completed a 2,000 mile loop from Vegas to Antelope Canyon to Sedona to Nogales to San Diego to LA to Joshua Tree and back.
When I share our plans with people, they almost always balk at how much time the Mister and I spend in cars, driving, during these trips - but that time alone, disconnected from the rest of the world, is precisely the point. We talk, we bond, we reminisce about our past and we talk about our future. And then we stop someplace, see something amazing, do something extraordinary and then start it all over again with another 6 or 8 or 12 hour drive.
These road trips mean the world to me.
But none of it would be possible without the amazing support of the women that surround me - my friend and neighbor, Susie, who house/dog-sits every time we leave town. My second cousin, Shauna, who not only gifted us an amazing home to stay in, for free, in Arizona, but had a bucket of ice cold champagne waiting for us when we got there. My girlfriend, Lyn, who drove from Oakland to LA to spend time with us. The clients who agreed to put their work on hold while I was away. The KeyHolders who kept the SheHive running in my absence - Kim who served as my out-of-office contact and my proxy for a few classes, Jane who managed the SheHive’s incoming mail and phone calls, Laura who kept the social media going, Lisa who sent all the class reminders and Heather, Lori Jo, Corinne and the many others who hosted groups and classes while I was away. I even had a client, Erin, step in and facilitate a group for the SheHive when a KeyHolder got sick!
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I feel a twinge of guilt about the number of people I had to ask to step in on my behalf, but mostly I am simply grateful for this supportive, amazing community of women that don’t hesitate to step up when and where they can.
It is often said that behind every successful woman is a tribe of other women who have her back. I know this to be true and I am so very grateful for the women who have mine.
Who are the amazing women that have your back? Let them know you appreciate them by calling them out in the comments below.
With much love and gratitude,