Confronting Shame — The Last Door

By Julia Pereira Dias

Shame spits into your romantic dinner. Shame coughs blood on the hands that reach out. Shame laughs its ugly cackle at your reflection in the mirror. Shame is the last door in your dungeon. Locked tight with a thousand padlocks, barricaded, fortified with thick chains and boarded up with massive wood. A door so deep down you have forgotten it was there. Except when you hear it spit, its coughing, its laughter it. When it spoils your moments of freedom, intimacy and expression. When it pops up like a jack-in-a-box before you make that courageous move.

You can keep that door down there, locked forever and tell yourself that life is good enough as it is. And it may be. Unless you want to live in freedom. When you want to feel the joy of ultimate connection, the bliss of free expression, the cool soft breeze on your naked body without the scalding heat of shame, you will have to face that door. And begin to open every padlock. Take down the chains and the boards.

It is a mighty task. One by one you must open the locks. And each time the stench becomes more unbearable, your eyes tear from the heat and the dust, you sweat with heat and fear and breathing becomes harder the closer you get. Finally, there is the door. Unlocked. Waiting for you to push it open. Like a thousand times before you wonder if you can really do it. Like a thousand times before you run away and try to forget. And return.

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Photo by Yael Gonzalez on Unsplash

This one time stay. And push the door open. A massive door, moving slowly, screeching, stirring up black dust from the concrete floor. Opening to a dark space. You squint your eyes to see. There seems to be nothing. It is cold in here. Then you finally see it. There, in the far corner, tiny, cowering.

That small, little child, curled up, all wet, tears running down her cheeks, staring at you with her fearful eyes: “Can I come out now?”

That is all there is.

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