And … I am Free!


I am awake, I am alive, and this morning … I am free.

Yesterday, in seminar, I spoke of the shame-work done by Brene Brown and how I believe it is shame that is killing us as Indigenous people, literally and figuratively. For you see, we carry not only the shame that every human wrestles with on this journey, but the inherited, “taught” shame as well.

In ads and legislation, in history and present day practice, we are handed information daily, so-called facts that attempt to prove why we should be ashamed to be Indigenous. Whether it is our lack of parenting skills, our lack of education, our lack of services, and often even our use of the English language – the judgement is there, like a heavy ever-present chain.

But connection ends shame. When we speak of our shame with those we can trust, shame turns to acknowledgement then acceptance. I know this but I wanted my participants to know as well. I thought I was doing a great job until Creator showed me I had to do more.

The scenario – the woman’s washroom after lunch. I had something caught in my partial plate, the one I wear as a result of a well-placed hit many years ago. It is my shame and I literally wear it daily.

Countless times I have taken it out in public restrooms, always praying no one would walk in, that no one would find out but yesterday Creator changed that as one of my participants walked in.

There was a second of sheer panic, followed quickly by acknowledgement then acceptance. This is my reality, I thought as I placed my partial back in my mouth and had a joyful conversation with the woman who had entered.

As the seminar started again, I shared with the audience what I knew I had to share – the scenario that had just played out. I shared how I had worn it for years, embarrassed and ashamed, lest anyone ever find out. I shared how I had entire relationships in my past, with men who had no idea that I wear a partial, men who still don’t unless they read this post.

And then I smiled at how freeing it felt to acknowledge what had weighed me down for so long. I smiled because I felt so much lighter.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. I knew that almost instantly but it was confirmed later in the day when one of the participants (an absolutely stunning woman) showed me her partial, admitting to me her truth and her shame, resulting from the same type of incident so many years before.

I am far from perfect. I still have much work to do but today I am lighter and for that I am thankful.

Today my friend, know that the past has only as much power as we give it, a power that disappears the second we speak our truth with someone who has earned the right to hear.

Food for thought my friend, food for thought. Perhaps it is also your time to share.




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