Lately I've been overcome by SHAME.
If you looked me up on the internet or checked out my Casting Networks profile, (Good grief! Did I just say that? I’ve been in LA way too long.) you would probably think I’m doing pretty well. You’d see that this girl (me) has booked national commercials, performed standup comedy at The World Famous Comedy Store, (That’s really what it’s called. I’m not being cheeky) and is signed by agents across the board in LA. Not only that, but she’s married? Like, she found a husband in LOS ANGELES? This Sarah Murphree girl is doing so well!
But this is NOT how I feel about myself. You want to know how I feel about being me? I feel a deep, unsettling SHAME stirring through my bones, and I feel it now more than ever before. Being in isolation, due to COVID-19, has forced me to think about a lot of things, and unfortunately all the shame I feel about my life is one of them.
Did you know, shame is one of the most powerful emotions we feel. Not only is it an extremely intense emotion, but it’s detrimental to our mental health. Shame causes relationships to sever. It can trigger depression or a mental health condition, spark an addiction or an eating disorder, and even lead to suicide.
So how do we get rid of shame?
We have to share it, and I don’t mean sharing it alone with your journal and a glass of two buck chuck by your side. We have to share our shame with other people.
We destroy our shame by exposing our shame.
When you store your shame up inside of you and don’t tell anybody about it, it grows bigger, and bigger! SO BIG that it eventually controls your thoughts and actions. If you have no desire to talk about your shame, I get it. Heck, it’s much easier to bury it. Just go to a happy hour and drink a martini. You’ll feel so great you will forget you had any shame to begin with, until the next day when it all comes rushing back to you. Plus, martinis are very overpriced. You’re much better off at just addressing your shame. Not only for the sake of your mental well-being, but also for your bank account.
If talking about your shame sounds scary to you? Good! What terrifies us, makes us stronger! So, you know what I’m going to do right now? I’m going to expose all the shame I’m feeling in this moment. Then, I’m going to push publish on this blog for the world to see. After that, I’m going to share how I feel with my husband and closest friends. Why? Because sharing shame, kills the shame, and when our shame is gone, then we can finally hear what God is calling us to do with our life and step into our ultimate calling.
So, here we go. The moment you've all been waiting for where I expose my shame!
All The Shame COVID-19 Has Exposed Within Me:
* I am ashamed I don’t own a home.
* I am ashamed in the lack of acting roles I have booked.
* I am ashamed I am still SAG-eligible, I know it’s dumb, but I am ashamed about that.
* I’m ashamed I don’t have gripping arm muscles like Jillian Michaels. I’m aware it’s ridiculous to compare my body to a professional personal trainer, but I do, and it bothers me my arms don’t look as tight as hers.
* I’m ashamed I can’t afford a bed comforter from Anthropologie. I always said as soon as I “make it” I’m getting one of those fabulous Anthropologie comforters for my room. I’ve been grinding as an artist for over a decade now, and guess what? I still sleep with a fleece blanket from the Target sale section. This is not only shameful, but very embarrassing.
* I’m ashamed my car is missing a hubcap. I just laughed out loud. Am I really ashamed of this? Yes, yes I am. But I refuse to get a new hubcap because I’m afraid that one day I might need that hubcap money to eat! This is what happens when you choose a career in the arts. Every dollar counts! If I spend $50 bucks on a hubcap now that could also be the $50 bucks I need one day to eat! If you must know, I’m also ashamed how my bank account looks.
* Oh no. Mega shame coming on right now. It started last year and has nestled down deep in my bones. Here we go. I am a barista for a living. There, I did. I said it! Let me explain why this makes me feel ashamed. I picked up a job last year working as a barista. Now, I’ve been a barista before, and I LOVED it! I was also working at this cute,
independent coffee shop and ran the entire place by myself. I served like 5 people a day and basically got paid to read books. It was fabulous, but my new barista job is very different. I work at a vibrant, bustling coffee shop in the middle of Hollywood and serve hundreds of writers and actors every day. And you know what these chumps love to ask me?
“So, when do you realize you wanted to be a barista for a living?”
Dear God, help me now. For those who are wondering, no 30-year-old, married woman, who moved across country from Tennessee to California, came here to serve a cup of a jo for a living. Did I mention I work in Hollywood? Sometimes this feels like a literal death sentence. If you live in LA, you know what I mean, and if you go to coffee shops in LA, please NEVER ask your barista why they choose to serve coffee for a living because guess what? They didn’t. Life took them there and not in the good way, in the deep, shameful way.
So, there we have it! I exposed all the shame I am currently feeling. I also spoke to one of my best friends about all this shame inside of me. Then, I talked to my husband about it. Not only did we all laugh because some of this shame I'm feeling is utterly ridiculous, but by exposing my shame to others, I was reminded of the truth.
The truth is that my career, job, bank account, nor the lack in cuteness of my bedding defines my worth. My worth comes from knowing I am God’s child first and foremost. He created me to be this dynamic artist, who writes, performs, and speaks. Guess what? If I have to serve coffee to make these artistic endeavors work, then so be it. If I have to miss a workout to get a writing deadline in and never have arms as defined as Jillian because of it, that’s okay. Also, if a friend comes over and says my Target bedding looks cheap and embarrassing, then that friendship probably needs to end. Do you see what’s happening here? After I openly shared my feelings surrounding my shame, I began to see the TRUTH.
The truth is my barista job allows me to go to auditions, complete deadlines for artistic projects and pursue my art. It has allowed me to have a 401k and health insurance, two things every artist struggles to maintain. This is the truth, and I will believe the truth because when I believe the shame, I get stuck. I can't move forward. I can't draw, write, act, or speak because the shame says I am worthless, but the shame stops here. I end this blog post with a quote about shame that's worth never forgetting. It goes like this:
“Shame is nothing more than the denial of the truth.”
Today if you’re struggling with shame, I encourage you to write your shame down, talk to a friend about it, and then witness the beautiful result of it. You see, once we combat our shame, then the calling of our life begins to unfold before us.