Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about shame. Slut-shaming. Fat-shaming. Poor-shaming. And I’m tired of feeling shame, and its partner, guilt. So when I saw a friend of mine mention she was giving up shame for Lent, I thought, “What a brilliant idea.”
No longer will I feel shame for eating a cookie. Or a real sandwich, on artisan bread, with cheese on it. You should never feel shame about food. Sure, some foods are more nourishing to the body; I won’t dispute that. And some are…less so, shall we say? But after so many years of my orthorexia I’m embracing all of it. The processed food, the “junk” food, and the other day I even drank a glass of (gasp!) soda.
I’m over it.
Last night for dinner I made Beef Stroganoff from scratch. Over–are you ready for it?– egg noodles. Noodles! The dreaded pasta that sticks to your ribs and hips and causes pot belly and insulin resistance and oh noes! The pasta will kill us all!
Yeah, definitely over it. Because I realized I had missed it SO MUCH. Missed being able to enjoy that type of comfort food for the guilt, the shame, that came from eating carbs when I “shouldn’t.” I mean, it’s just food. Food shouldn’t dictate how you feel about yourself. It shouldn’t dictate how you interact with others. When I think about how I must have sounded over the last few years…well, I don’t feel shame. I refuse to.
And I don’t feel shame for reading and writing romance novels. I love them. I love exploring how people find their soulmates, and I love seeing them end up together, even when they’re fictional. I love a happily ever after. I have friends who scoff at the genre, saying it creates unreal expectations.
Well, why should they be unreal? Why should we settle for something less than true love, a happily ever after? HEA doesn’t meant the road is never rocky; it means you face those obstacles together. My own husband and I have been together almost 17 years. Our road to happiness would make a boring romance novel. There were no ups and downs. We had no “dark moment.” We knew pretty much right away that we were meant to be and I’m perfectly OK with that. And while our life together hasn’t been perfect, our marriage and solid relationship have helped us weather the bumps we encountered.
I don’t think this is, or should be, an unreal expectation.
So, I won’t feel shame for writing stories to promote that, and encourage others to never settle for less.
And I don’t want my children to feel shame, either. It’s a terrible feeling. Worse than fear, worse than sorrow, worse than grief…because it comes with regret. And regret is useless, because we can’t turn back time.
So for Lent, which I barely observe as a lapsed Catholic anyway, I’m giving up shame. Already, I feel more free.