Eureka, also spelled “duh”

Shame. The root of this fear of giving and receiving love is shame.

I’m ashamed because my coat was pulled out of a donation box in a church basement homeless shelter, and it still smells like wet snow.  I’m ashamed because the majority of my clothing came from donations boxes, or free boxes, or the side of the road.

I’m ashamed because most of my underwear is stretched and stained and full of holes. I’m ashamed because all of the furniture in this shelter was donated en mass to us by a Christian organization. I’m ashamed because our food comes from food stamps, or the Union Gospel Mission, or the food bank. I’m ashamed because kindly strangers have bought our Christmas presents for two years in a row.

I’m ashamed because my shoe size is a range instead of a definite, because I have to make what I find fit.

I’m ashamed because my relatives hate what I am so much that they left me for dead. I’m ashamed because my community hunted us and drove our family into the unknown. I’m ashamed because against the bear I had rocks and against my rapist I had words and against my home town I had an upended bottle and a petition.

I’m ashamed because I couldn’t keep my family safe. I’m ashamed because I’ve been raped, because my health is bad, because I have bad teeth and panic attacks and nightmares. I’m ashamed because a social worker comes each month to teach me how to live and to make sure that I’ve vacuumed properly.

I’m ashamed because we live in a shelter. I’m ashamed because I have very little power or control over the circumstances of our lives. I’m ashamed because I have to see so many doctors and social workers and make so many appointments and sudden adjustments that I rarely make deadlines. I’m ashamed because my body and mind fail me, regularly.

I’m ashamed because my arms are covered in scars and my belly covered in stretch marks. I’m ashamed because over and over and I must prove my own incompetency on official government forms. I’m ashamed because the government has officially declared me simultaneously broken, dishonest, unworthy, and owned.

I’m ashamed because my life is uncertain and unstable. I’m ashamed because my body and mind are uncertain and unstable. I’m ashamed because my genders are uncertain and unstable.

I’m ashamed because I’ve fielded so much trauma in my life that my being has split into parts to hold it all.

I’m ashamed that I’m ashamed. And I’m ashamed that I’m ashamed that I’m ashamed.

It doesn’t fucking matter that oppression has shaped my shame, that my shame serves my oppression. I sit here with it all the same, so tight and thick I can barely breathe. How do I allow myself love through this?

Shame. At least is has a name now.

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