Further Musings on Shame

This poem is part of a series I have been writing about the legacy left behind after trauma, particularly sexual trauma. If this resonates with you, I suggest also reading Flashback, The Name They Call Her, Shame and What Every Woman Knows.

There is a part of me

That bolts away

Like a frantic rabbit

Being hunted by a fox

Every time I try to woman-up

And look SHAME directly in the eye

With the necessary detachment

And dispassion

Such a simple word, really

To represent

Such a complex and overwhelming

Array of emotions

Cognitive thoughts

Bodily sensations


Is painted behind my eyelids

Like graffiti


Is pounding in my ears

Like uneven footsteps


Is a taste in my mouth

Bitter and metallic


Is a pain in my gut

Like the hounds of hell

Chewing their way in

And then back out again


Is the tattoo

Of my uncleanness


Is the rhythm

Of my unworthiness


Is the caustic word

That pulses in my


When I am so


That no one could possibly

Ever love me

Including myself

Especially myself. . .

I know that survivors

Are so much more

Than the sum

Of our experiences.

But for those of us

Whose boundaries

Were not respected

Whose personal integrity

Was violated

Whose bodies

Were made alien to us

Were made “Other” to us

Leaving us at times

To view our VERY bodies

As no longer offering

The safety

Of home

Of sanctuary

This can be a hard lesson

To remember

And THAT is a shame.

2 thoughts on “Further Musings on Shame

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