Brene Brown

Freedom TO – live, grow, BE. Brene Brown is my hero of exposing the crusty, rugged, souls we inhabit despite our – my – attempts to hide in good deeds and great accomplishments. No matter how small is the deed, it shouldn’t go unpunished if it doesn’t include acknowledgement of how we got there – wherever “there” is.

I have loved hiding behind the Doer; the meditator, the Knower of All things, the Easy piece in the puzzle. It’s a hard won stance in that it came out of years of shame and struggle with my family of origin.

You never kow when you’ll wake up born into a scenario like the one in the novel you were just reading. I think we all have those revelations. It’s what we do after that that defines us. I love Paul Simon’s lyric – “breakdowns come and breakdowns go. It’s what you do with it, that’s what I want to know.” I’ve quoted that before, I will again. It’s important to know what you can do with “it.”

It’s important to know you don’t have to swallow it. That’s what I was good at. For a while I wore a button that said, “I don’t put up with put-downs.” I knew it wasn’t true. I did put up with them, I invited them. But I thought I had to look like I didn’t. Like I was cool.

When I was a teenager I did what I could to thumb my independence at any adult who was looking – not that many were. I managed to make myself pretty miserable to prove a point I didn’t know I wasn’t making.

I started writing. I studied with Kathleen Spivack. That was the beginning of freedom for me. Hearing her say, “milk it,” when someone in our writing group would come in sobbing over a hurt was the beginning of objectivity. The beginning of my own enjoyment of my pain – not in an S&M way, but the dawn of understanding. Slow dawn though it was, the light did keep coming and the experience allowed me to dive in to and explore my pain and passion, to relieve the “intolerable neural itch” that W.H. Auden talks about.

Some of my “scratches”(itchings) came out in photography when I met Paula – my muse, and subject beyond my imagination.

Don’t forget to thank your sense of shame and justice, it’s the root of all creation.



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