Monday, 24 March 2014

Bootleg Shame

Whitney Thore
Whitney Thore is a dancer who, in her late teens, inexplicably gained a lot of weight.  By the time she received a medical explanation, the emotional damage had been done.  She did overcome it, though.  Still obese, she puts videos of herself on You Tube and does street dancing to promote positive body image.  In this interview, she said she didn’t know loving oneself could be so subversive for a fat person. 

I postulate that society considers self love subversive for all of us.

I thought myself clever, giving up self doubt for Lent, even concluded in my last post that it made me a better person.  As the Lent Prohibition progresses, however, shame speak-easies crop up all over my psyche, remind me of how many times I fell flat on my face.  It’s actually shocking, the negative messages contained in one human skull, and how few come from actual Bad Things I Have Done. 


After a party we gave, a guest apologised for not spending more time with me.  I smiled that sweet smile Appalachians give when someone says something stupid.  Although he’d spent most of the party in another room, he’d managed to criticise my weight three times. 

His rude comments, exhaled breath that I inhaled. 

Speak not of Tuilleries
I run into a friend after spending my birthday in Paris.  She pushes my trip aside so she can talk about her life.  Not particularly interesting aspects of her life.  The same old, same old.  Whether she considers me a bore or is a crap friend, her message is clear. 

Shut up, Lora.

I am silenced.  I am erased. 

Then there’s the mother of three special needs children that folk around here say mollycoddles her kids.  They also call a man weak because his mentally ill ex-wife keeps taking him to court.  This mother and ex-husband, victims of circumstance yet unable to evoke sympathy from their neighbours.


We’re not weak.  We don’t molly coddle.  Who cares if you went to Paris when I had a nice ramble across the moors? 

Too fatolduglyskinny
The unfortunate consequence is that some people stop talking because we can’t be bothered to listen.  Other people won’t be in family photos because they’ve been told too many times how fatolduglyskinny they are.  Folk in dire circumstances stop asking for help because they’ve come to realise it was their fault anyway.

This has been one of my most difficult Lents, trying to fight the demon Self Doubt.  I’m not able to say what is true about myself and what is protective salt thrown over someone’s shoulder to land in my open wound.  For the moment, I feel displaced from my life, from my Self. 



  1. My dear, dear hagmom, it sounds like you've had a very unsettling encounter with a den of emotional vampires; people whose purpose is solely serving of self. Back home, we call them Republicans. "I, Me, Mine." A George Harrison song from 45 years ago, now adaptable to a segment of society in general. I will probably never have the chance to celebrate a birthday in Paris. I would LOVE to hear about yours. I will probably never make it to Galway for a firepit dance, but you fired my dreams. For every vampire you encounter there, remember there are friends here who love reading your words, who hang on every sentence and think YOU are one of the most interesting people in the world.
    Lent is about faith, not self-denial. Can you build your faith so strong that it overcomes the human weakness brought on by the denial of a "pleasure." I think your character is stronger than the emotional vampires. You just need to catch your breath and get back to center. That, of course, is just my humble opinion ;-)

  2. My son and I had this discussion about what to give up for Lent. He usually gives up sweets or social media. I told him I was giving up worry. He told me that didn't count; that I had to give up something I like. After reading this introspective essay, I think I was right in trying to give it up.