Hole in My Shoe

Recently, my friend Janet found herself in a pickle. Out on the town  with her guide dog, she discovered she was not where she thought she was.  She became disoriented.  Panic set in.  A passer-by offered assistance.  “Oh, no, but thanks,” Janet replied.  “I’m just, well,  out with my dog, so he can do his business.”  Later that day, safe at home, Janet rued her behavior.  Why had she refused the help she needed?  Why had she put saving face above all else?

When I related Janet’s story to my wife, she said of our mutual friend, “I didn’t know Janet had such shame.”  And it struck me that my wife was on to something.  And that something is shame.

I often wonder what lies at the root of my feelings about my blindness.  I exhibit denial, fear and anger.  I minimize, camouflage and compensate.  I become self-conscious.  Now, I have the notion that behind all these reactions is shame.

To some degree, I have surrendered to and accepted blindness.  Yet all has not  become placid on my emotional pond.  Something remains  in the depths, causing little ripples on the surface. And I suspect that something is shame.

Shame is passed down from others.  We learn it early on.  I was fully immersed long before I started losing my eyesight at age 35.  Today, having put a name to it, I want to learn more. I’ve done a keyword search and downloaded a book from Learning
Ally.  It’s called Healing the Shame that Binds You.  Pretty provocative title.
Written by John Bradshaw.  I’ve heard he knows his stuff.

Maybe shame is unique to a select few.  Maybe some escape it.  But I think I’m on to something big.  I don’t know how things will turn out.  I’ll get back to you on this.

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7 Responses to Hole in My Shoe

  1. bethfinke says:

    And here I always thought the thing that made me resist accepting help was…pride!

  2. Lauri Dishman says:

    Jeff:

    It’s great book!

    Lauri

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Thanks so mmuch, Beth and Lauri, for your comments. Today, I have also heard from a reader that his shame is called guilt. Sahme, guilt or pride, they all come before the fall. Call it what we will, the important thing is that we recognize its existence. Attaching a name to the beast is one step. I’m eager to hear more comments, so write away.

  3. Carl D. says:

    Old sing ‘Ain’t It A Crying Shame’ BLIND BOY FULLER (1935) a Blind Blues Guitar Legend.
    He was full-grown when I was born, And he knew that a women can make you feel shame.
    Click on or cut and paste youtube recording:

    .
    Or you can go with Nirvana – Ain’t It A Shame – Click on or cut and paste youtube recording:

    .
    Either way shame is a relative feeling.
    Carl D.

    • Susie says:

      Thanks Jeff for another thought provoking topic!
      It seems to me that pride, shame, and denial are all related to fear and fear of acceptance. Many of us buy into these fears, as our society offers them so easily. Learning to avoid buying into them and to somehow find a strategy to be, “comfortable in my own skin” is my idea of a goal worth striving for!

      • Jeff Flodin says:

        Thanks, Susie. You mention a great barometer of acceptance – how comfortable I feel in my own skin.

  4. Pepi Noble says:

    HI, I’m brand new to your blog and am enjoying your posts. Lately I’ve met a few people who don’t want anyone to know they have a no/low vision issues. The word that came to my mind was embarrassment. Your thoughts on shame or whatever resonates with me. Thank you. Pepi Noble

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