Shame

I had some ideas for where I wanted to take the blog moving forward, but a phone call last week has me rethinking this space.

My dad's an avid reader of the blog. He took issue with my Canada Day post, and he called me on it, literally.

Specifically, I guess he felt that when I talked about needing personal space and time for self-care during the big Canada Day party that I was being excessively self-absorbed and portraying a picture of myself that I really shouldn't want to present to the world.

I was kind of blindsided by all of this, to be honest, and when I asked my dad to kind of clarify what he meant, he wasn't really able to articulate his feelings. He told me he needed to think things through a little deeper, and he'd get back to me.

(Later, he emailed to reiterate that he believed that blogging about my personal mental health highs and lows would alienate potential book buyers and tarnish my brand.)

We ended the call. I felt discouraged, thrown off kilter, and, well, ashamed.

I felt ashamed blogging about how I felt during the Canada Day party.

And I felt ashamed for feeling how I felt, period.

Anyway, as fate would have it, I'm reading Brené Brown's book DARING GREATLY: HOW THE COURAGE TO BE VULNERABLE TRANSFORMS THE WAY WE LIVE, LOVE, PARENT AND LEAD right now.

And it just so happens that yesterday, I was reading the chapter about shame.

Brown defines shame as "the fear that something we've done, or failed to do, an ideal that we've not lived up to, or a goal that we've not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection."

If I'm being honest, I've felt a lot of shame over the years, when it comes to my dad.

I love him very much. He's an inspiration and a role model. He's incredibly smart, fundamentally decent, and possesses the strongest work ethic I've ever seen.

He and I see the world alike in a lot of ways, but in a lot of ways, we don't. And I've spent a lot of my life comparing myself to him, and trying to mold myself into the human being that I believe he wants me to be.

And I've felt ashamed, a lot, that I haven't lived up to his image. I've felt unworthy.

As I've grown older, I've tried to create coping strategies for this stuff.

I've had to remind myself that this life I'm leading is mine and mine alone, and I don't owe my dad anything, and moreover, he doesn't expect anything from me.

This shame I've internalized is on me, for the most part. He's a wonderful father, and he's supported me beyond measure.

I know that he's proud of me.

But when our views on the world don't align, and specifically when his views on *my* world don't align with my own, I still feel a pretty deep shame that my life and my values aren't quite how he'd like them to be.

I guess oversharing on this blog is a situation where our points of view don't align.

I want to believe that there's value in my talking about my mental health journey, highs and lows. I want to believe that it's more than just self-flagellation, that I'm contributing to a broader discussion about mental health, and that in a small way I'm making it easier for other people--and men, especially--to talk about their own struggles with mental health issues.

I want to believe that any readers who find me here will appreciate the honesty and will find things to relate to here, and that they'll be inspired to check out my books because of what I've written about my mental health, not in spite of it.

I want to believe that there's a greater purpose to this blog than just building a brand and chasing book sales.

I want to believe that people find value here. That's why I started this blog.

And fundamentally, I know that they do.

But I also know I'll feel that twinge of shame and hesitation tomorrow, when I sit down to tell more of my story.

It's just something I'll have to keep working on.