Tag Archives: taking chances

Daring Greatly or Shaming Slightly

shame-on-youI’ve heard the name of Brene Brown in various Facebook postings and TED talks and etcetera, so curiosity finally got the  better of me and I took “Daring Greatly” out of the library.

I’m so glad I didn’t buy it.

Of course, she did tick me off right away by mentioning how her TED talk went viral  – at least three or four times in the first pages. Then she talks about how everyone is wrong to feel shame or shyness or whatever and that we should all go around showing vulnerability all the time as this would make us happier and healthier, etc, etc, better parents, better people, etc.

I’m not sure about this. I know it wasn’t necessarily a good thing to learn my parents were vulnerable. I preferred thinking of them as invincible. Who else to stand for me against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? When I realized they were vulnerable, it was heartbreaking and terrifying.

Perhaps my having to tell lies in the Confessional as a kid has hardened me, but shame doesn’t seem to be too much of my makeup, either, though I do know I have failed at a few things and have appropriate cringing behaviour when thinking of that. Failure is never cheering. Without a little shame about my failing, I might well be even more insufferable than I am!

And I’m not fit, I’m overweight. I’m not happy with that, but I’m not shamed by it – I just wish to be mystically healthier. Brown talks about the awfulness of body shame, something that might come better from someone not in the blonde, beautiful and fit category. Of course, fit people can have body shame, but it strikes me as  form of narcissism that is sad and wasteful.

The books goes on to talk about how we shouldn’t be ashamed of how we parent, or of how we can’t buy everything our kids want or feed them only vegetables from contented soil or whatever. Do we need to be told this? If so, we’ve lost sight of a lot of the good things of life, of the value of friendships, of simple pleasure, of responsibility.

In all, the book, a quick skim, made me sad. Sad for the need for such a book, sad for the relief with which its simple messages are greeted.



Are YOU brave enough?


I saw this cup on the page for the Rumpus (doing my part for CyberMonday and taking a break from the Awesome Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die, without which I would write nothing), and it stopped me short. Be brave enough to break your own heart. Think about that. It’s an interesting phrase. Can you break your own heart? Why does it require bravery? How would you break your own heart?

Would you break your own heart by taking a chance and failing? Would the being brave be being brave enough to take a massive risk, one that would potentially destroy you?

In writing, the best moments come when I try something new, something scary, something shocking. Writing and not risk-taking is boring. At least for me. I suppose that I could go for safe things, not be revealing, not write about my horrible characters or my weird events or the stories of my life disasters, but they don’t seem like things people would want to read. And the times when I have taken a risk, I do well. Others like my writing, approve of the steps I’ve taken, even if they don’t necessarily like them.

But then you start to wonder – is it all just performance art? Is life just a series of stupid missteps that you make while being brave and foolish and risky? Is this just one of those meaningless statements like “every day is a new day”, which is true, yes, but also banal.

Am I brave enough to break my own heart? It’s so much easier to break someone else’s. Mine is pretty sheltered. I don’t know if I, or anyone else, can get to it. To break it or love it. I think I need to think about this more. Because for some reason this statement is ringing in my head like a bell.