On shame and self-acceptance

November 23 2015

My mom recently found one of my diaries from 10 years ago, and she called me to reminisce about that period of my life. One of the choice entries in that diary was a list of personal goals for my 15th year (2005-2006). I've edited it down to spare myself a modicum of shame, but it included:

- Make new friends on the debate team
- Get another job - time to start saving money for college!
- Get my braces off
- Learn how to apply makeup
- Have my first kiss
- Go to cool concerts

This list is frivolous in so many ways, and it took well beyond that year to accomplish many of these things (looking at you #5). I'm sure that even a few years ago, I would have been beyond mortified that she'd found it (and deigned to open it), but it so perfectly captures where I was at that stage of my life.

I suppose I'm broadcasting this to an audience of 25,000 strangers because it took me a long time to develop the self-awareness and self-acceptance to be able to really laugh at myself and love myself despite my flaws. It feels quite liberating to share that here. Plus, although I know intellectually that many people may read this, it feels akin to that diary entry from 10 years ago; it is as though I'm writing to everyone and no one.


For the times when I forget this and succumb to negativity, I love to read this Mary Oliver poem. It helps me to remember there is beauty in struggle.

The Uses of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.


I think snail mail is a way under-appreciated means of communication. I've recently been very into sending postcards - if you send me your address, I'll send you one sometime in the next year!

[email protected]
Chicago, IL

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