Going Against the Grain Shame
About six months ago I moved in with my partner in a new city. In many ways it has been an easy transition. I feel at peace with the direction life is taking me. Yet, it hasn’t been particularly comfortable. My life is very still, and I often feel disoriented. I went through a similar transition when I moved to Pueblo six years ago, and although I remember feeling the stillness and disorientation, I don’t recall feeling so unsettled by them.
The quieter collective pace of Pueblo likely made for a more easeful transition; however, I think the critical piece is that there were no witnesses. I was in a new town, I didn’t yet have friends or clients there, and I lived alone. I engaged with people and the process of establishing myself in the community when I felt capable of it. If I didn’t feel capable of it, I didn’t require myself to do so. I was the only one observing the details of my transition to that community, so I was much more able to calm my critical mind and simply surrender to the process.
In my interactions with the people in my new community, it feels prickly when I am faced with opinions and beliefs that may not align with how I’m choosing to live my life. I notice I feel ashamed when my behavior in some way goes against the grain of those observing me. Now, I assume people will think I am intentionally misbehaving when I am still or disoriented. Is it because this move challenges my resolve to live a quiet life? Possibly. Or maybe it’s simply because we are socially encouraged to feel shame when we go against the grain.
Because I have been nurturing a very quiet lifestyle for the past decade or so, I feel rather out of place here. This community is accustomed to moving fast and living at a high level of intensity. That fast pace makes me acutely aware that I am not moving at the agreed upon tempo. With many of my daily choices I feel the rub of that friction. Since my partner is well established in this community, I seem to associate him with the local norms. As unfair and inaccurate as that may be, it’s hard to feel safe allowing him to witness my struggles. I suppose I worry that I am going against ‘his’ grain as well. That concern makes me want to ‘get with it’ and embrace the local flow. But ultimately, I just don’t want anyone to witness my ‘going against the grain’ behavior so that I don’t have to navigate the potential judgement that comes with it.
Thankfully, in living alongside a collective whose values differ, the Divine Universe has given me occasion to finally uncover the shaming mechanism that I have bummed up against many times since I chose to live this quiet existence; and have been awkwardly rubbing up against since my move. It is an ancient, deeply internalized social tool that targets transgressive behavior. Its sole purpose is to keep me, and you, in line. It diligently and forcefully tells me that I am misbehaving in some way. As a result, I have created a belief that my cherished ones will see me as unlovable when I do anything that violates a socially agreed upon norm. It was created to encourage me to choose to conform in order to avoid those feelings of alienation.
I believe that releasing my own judgments about my choices will allow me to consciously withdraw my participation in the workings of that oppressive mechanism. It will also help me to repattern my beliefs around the intention and the consequences of going against the grain in the first place. Going against the grain has been essential in creating a sustainable existence that honors my truth and allows me to live a well-balanced life. I value the life that I have fought to create, and I will continue to protect it. Even if it means that I must go against the grain.
P.S. It was remarkably difficult to write this brief little blog. As I was struggling with the process a lovely poem of appreciation, for my dear friend and benefactor, Mother Earth, flowed out of me quite effortlessly. It's a nice example of how the Divine Universe tends to work in my life.
Tawa Ranes has a very curious mind and has always been interested in the nature of consciousness and the workings of the Universe. Since healing has been a big part of her own personal journey, much of her curiosity focuses on understanding how and why healing occurs or fails to take place.