Poem: Hidden (Shame)

Under the guilt lies shame
She believes it is a thing to protect
Keep hidden
A fearful feeling to avoid at all costs
Her terror of feeling emotion
Keeps her trapped

She doesn’t speak of what happened to her
Locked up tight she manages her life

To her children it feels like she has secrets
She never tells them anything about herself or how she feels or felt
What was she like as a child, as a young woman?

She says I can’t remember
If she was honest she doesn’t want to
She would rather forget
At least be vague
Not be reminded by speaking of it

Things happen to her children now
Similar to what happened to herself when she was young
Her childhood nightmares repeat themselves
Her children learn about her injuries, now within them

She tells them
Deal with it, on your own, like I did
She models how to avoid shame, keep it under wraps
Live a disconnected, disassociated life
That is the what she believes is right
Reinforces generations of shame

She had friends who confided in her
Their shame burns them
Eats away the edges like acid, erodes worth
She takes it upon herself to do what she believed a good friend does
Protect their shame too
She takes an unspoken role
Gatekeeper of her own and their collective shame

They do not know each other deeply
They spoke of incidents once and never again
The shame binds them
A commonality that brought them together
Keeps them limited, on edge, at arms length
Fearful, even of each other
Guilty of discovery

Shame dictates their lives
They live to avoid it
Want to prove they are not shameful
Prove they do not have shame, as much to themselves as to others
Each one has different methods, ways, means
And in the proving they collect more of the same

All it takes is a small suggestion
She is manipulated into what she didn’t want to do
A pattern emerges
More shame accrued

Shame scalded her with acidic burns
Scars she stoically hid
Worn on the inside


Greying hair, crows feet
Sexual desire squashed by rage and shame
Youth sucked out of her
They took what they wanted, discarded the rest

She felt she had to
Didn’t question she had choice
Never said no
She reminds herself Good girls do what they are told

She is a lonely fortress
Surrounded by a wall of shame


She wonders What if….
Had she been more open
Refused to be secretive
What would life have been like
Without the pain of shame so tightly wrapped around her
A corset given to her as a child
She learned to tighten it each year that she grew

She ponders
Did denial help her or was it a way to protect their shame?
An insurance that she would never tell


She watches young woman
In their underwear
Rage and grief
On national TV

Her judgement surfaces
She has no faith that she can change
Shame threatened
She wants to attack
She judges the young ones as too emotional

She fears the emotions stirred inside her
Uncoiling feelings
She doesn’t understand why
Her terror of feeling emotion
Keeps her trapped
She doesn’t want to see an alternative
Not yet


She could choose love
The lifeline
Truth, Humility, Faith
The Way to the hearts freedom
The key to release her from her shame enforced cage

She was designed to feel
But no one told her
She didn’t think to seek beyond her confines

Her spiritual, emotional, sexual education neglected
The minutest physical education
She learned to adequately tend to others in her life
Role of wife, mother, possession, chattel
Taught: this is your identity

The lies she was told
The lies she believed
The lies she perpetrated
The shame she lived by
The grief of untruth, unfelt happiness, no joy, no closeness or connection

She has aged
Is at the end of her Earth life
What will she choose?
More of the same
Have courage to feel The Truth
Dismantle the ruse

Eloisa 31 July 2022, 6.15am

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