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  • Sara

On Becoming Visible: 2.8.21: Killing Shame

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

I am a peaceful person, though it has been recommended that I kill my shame. Will I do it? Can I? Dare I?

Shame can be useful, informative, balancing. It can be a helpful self-check before we do something we will regret. This is not the kind I carry. Sure, I have done stupid things, but the kind of shame I lug around goes deeper than that. It is not about my doing. It is about my being. This shame I packed up long ago and crammed it, impossibly densely, into the smallest bag I could find, the amount of which would push any carry-on bag way over the weight limit so that I would have to stand there at the gate to unpack it then wear half of my wardrobe onto the plane, in spite of the dedicated but sour attendant rebuking me by reepeatedly yelling, “You can’t do that,” thus only adding more to the weight of the shame I already carry.

No, the shame I need to kill, the kind that is killing me, is the shame of taking up space, of existing. Period. End of sentence. Sad, I know. I have tracked a fair amount of this shame, found its home, know where it comes from, and mostly it is out-dated, irrelevant and some is not really even mine. It makes me want to scream! As an artist, it’s impossible to be successful and NOT TAKE UP SPACE! I must take up my space. I want to love it. I'll take a close friendship for now.

On good days, and more frequently now, I see my little problem from a different perspective. I simply am. Not good. Not bad. I am. What I bring to the world is. Does my art inspire you? Maybe it hits home, makes you see in a new way. Great! Or maybe it sucks, and you realize, “Hey, if she’s showing that, I can certainly do my thing.” Great, too. I have made an impact. Art is communication. If I am successful, mine is a monologue, ingested, transformed, and passed along.

I am a peaceful person: I don’t like killing. I have decided not to kill my shame. I simply refuse to carry it anymore. No more carry-on for me. I am traveling light, sending my luggage through, and I just might leave it in baggage claim, indefinitely.

Shaun, Helander Dance Troupe, dance performance at first full exhibit of In/Visible.

Dairy Center, Boulder 2011

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