26 Jan #BellLetsTalk …OR… #BellLetsRamble on and on.
I posted the first paragraph of this on Facebook, then thought some more. Then reread what I wrote. And wrote some more. Which, I believe, is how most people use Facebook. Anyway, here goes:
Depression isn’t a four letter word. It’s 10. I just counted. Unless you forget there are two S’s. Then it’s nine. And then you feel ashamed because someone pointed it out. But you shouldn’t. You just made a mistake. And maybe you’re dislexic. Which isn’t spelled right. I know this from the red squiggly line. Which feels a bit judgy to me. Maybe I’m dyslexic. Or depressed. Not that depression affects spelling. Maybe it does. I don’t know. But dyslexic is how you spell it. Which is different than ADHD. ADHD is spelled ADHD, BTW. I’ve been depressed. Which is a 10-letter word. Not that it matters. What matters is if you feel sad or lost or worried about your spelling, that you talk about it. Maybe start with the spelling and then dive into talking about feeling sad. Or lost. I did. It didn’t help my spelling. But I felt a lot better.
And what about shame? That’s a five-letter word. Unless you drop the e. Then it’s a four letter word. Sham. My computer defines sham as “falsely present something as the truth.: “was he ill or was he shamming?” So there you have it. Judging from the mess on the floor, he shammed all over the place. Which makes me think he was ill too. Tough call. Shame is different. Shame is what you feel after shamming all over the place.
As some of you know I grew up as a world-class bedwetter. I was the Wayne Gretzky of bedwetting – without the sponsorship deals. And the great gift of still bedwetting when you’re in high school is the opportunity to lie in bed in your own pee and feel the wave of shame and burning fear that someone might find out about the real you. The bedwetter you. Because I was smart enough to realize it would be the only part of me people would notice. So it’s good practice for later in life when I want to lie in bed and feel badly about how I’m a sham and if only people knew the real me.
I always appreciated the line, “Dance like no one is watching.” Except for the fact that anytime I’ve been at a dance – people are watching. Even if they aren’t. They will as soon as I start dancing. Especially if I’m in Grade 10 and I’m dancing with Helen and I think she’s beautiful and funny, and I’ve never actually danced in my life and so I decide to ask her because, wow, she’s beautiful and I can’t help myself, so we go out to the dance floor and then I realize I don’t actually know what to do, so I kind of jiggle around and hope it’s working and she smiles a bit and I’m pretty sure she’s actually trying not to laugh so I think maybe I should do a cool move, but I’m not sure what a cool move would be so I plant one foot down and then push around with the other foot, kind of like I’m skateboarding in a very tight circle and half way through I realize how dumb I look and think maybe I should just do my skateboard move right out of the gym so I don’t have to complete the turn to where Helen is, but I’m too afraid to so I just stop and turn around to face her and she is definitely laughing, but I realize maybe she thinks I’m trying to be funny and that feels actually better and I learn again that funny is a pretty good way to deal with shame until I remember I’m a bedwetter and the wave of shame hits me and there is nothing funny about that and the chances of Helen actually liking a bedwetter, even a funny bedwetter are zero.
And eventually I realized that a lot of people wet the bed. Which felt a bit better. I mean, it’s still not a cool club, but at least there’s enough members to be a club. And that for most people, it goes away. For some of us, it goes away a lot later than others, but it goes away.
And then I became an interviewer. I sat down with people to talk. And I don’t think about bedwetting much anymore, but when I’m sitting beside someone doing an interview and their eyes get a bit scared and I can tell they’re thinking, “Please don’t let me look stupid. Please don’t let me do anything embarrassing” I think to myself, “I’m the bedwetter with the stupid dance moves. This is a no shame zone. I got you.”
So yeah – let’s talk.