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Hello courage, good-bye shame

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Dear shame,

I am writing you this letter to let you know I no longer need you in my life. I admit it has taken me a long time to get to this place. You've been a part of me for so long that I thought we were friends. I mean, you've protected me from speaking up and embarrassing myself in front of others and you've forbidden me to go after my dreams so that I wouldn't get rejected. Oh, and remember how you used to keep me thinking about how unworthy I was so I wouldn't make a mistake and let anyone love me?

You entered my life almost without my knowing, so suddenly, yet so quietly. I don't quite remember when we first met, but I know it was a long time ago. You would sit with me and then begin to whisper in my ear, planting all sorts of thoughts in my mind that grew louder and stronger as time went on. You made me feel safe. I could cling to you whenever I thought about how scary it would be to actually face my mistakes and try again or to seek help at times when I've needed to. You held me close whenever I would think about what might happen if I didn't care about the things my teachers and peers used to say to me. You stayed up late at night talking with me when I lost my job and had to file bankruptcy and when I was being beaten in my relationship. You promised that you would never leave me as long as I listened to you and remained open to your guidance.

All these years, all this time I thought I needed you, but then I realized I had been fooled. You had tricked me into believing those things people said about me. Because of you, I believed that I was too dumb to learn and that I could never do anything right. I believed that my mistakes defined who I was and that I could never come back from them. Because of you, I believed that I was broken forever after what happened to me and that I was unworthy of someone's best. Because of you, I thought I could never have or be anything I truly wanted.

Then, one day I met courage. I found out that you never meant me any good. You were a silent thief who robbed me of my self-esteem and the hopes and dreams I once had for myself. You robbed me of my voice and pretended to protect me while silently poisoning my thoughts about myself. You paraded as my friend all this time while stealing opportunities and hindering my growth.

You see, courage is here with me now and is helping me to write this letter to you. It is courage that helped me to realize the truth about you, but most importantly, the truth about me. I admit it has taken me a long time to get to this place, but with courage, I know that can write a new script for my life and the good news is-it's no longer starring you.

Dear shame, I am not who you said I was and I can be what you said I couldn't. I am not what I used to do and I will achieve everything you said I wouldn't. I am no longer listening to you. I am no longer open to your guidance, so you are free to leave. It is not a request, but a demand. You cannot stay here with me anymore.

I don't quite remember when courage and I first met, but today is a good day.

Sincerely,

Me and Courage

Be ("in courage") encouraged.

.265Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.