No Shame November

By Meg DiMartino

Ah, November. A month of (apparently) controversial Starbucks drinks that warm the soul, the gateway opening into fall fashion items, people finding the perfect filter for their leaf-covered photo of Georgetown’s Healy Hall, and men roaming around donning thick beards as part of #NoShaveNovember. This will not be a blog post telling you that I have decided to ditch my razors for the month but rather it will be in regard to my celebration of No Shame November.

Shame is a societally manifested feeling that we are wrong about our choices or ourselves. Shame is a very human emotion, which I think, stems from insecurity.  If we all believed in ourselves with unwavering confidence we would never feel shameful about our choices or decisions. Unfortunately we see more and more women justifying or apologizing for decisions they make perhaps out of shame. When I think about sitting in my classes when a woman raises her hand she frames her question with, “This could be dumb but…” or “I’m not sure if I’m right...” etc. and sometimes men don’t even raise their hands but instead just yell something out. This is obviously not in every class or in every case but it seems like sometimes women feel shameful for raising their hands or fearing being wrong. Women receive pressure both from themselves and from society to constantly be well put together but break through that film! Be who you are and not whom you feel you “aught to be.”

What if we didn’t do this? What if we just said what we felt and did what we want to do without shame? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Without feeling bound to a certain persona that society has built for us. Without pressure from people to be perfect or to comport ourselves in a certain way. This month, let’s celebrate “No Shame November.” Speak without shaking. Make people unhappy with your decisions; ditch being a people pleaser. Do something for yourself (treat yo’self). Take a nap during the day and don’t feel bad about it. Yes, eat that cake! Or run those ten miles without letting your roommates make you feel bad or like “you try too hard.” Whatever decisions you may make, feel no shame. You deserve this. You deserve to live freely and to choose things because you choose them. Maybe if we designate November as this month we can weave these ideals into our every day living.

One of the quotes I think of most days is that of Jason Mraz. He said, “Shame and frustration are the result of not being authentic somewhere in your life or with someone in your life. Being fake about anything creates a block inside you. Life can’t work for you if you don’t show as yourself!” You’re pretty awesome. You should never be ashamed of being who you are or wanting what you want. Life can only be on your side when you, yourself, are on your side.

Another layer of this is that we should consciously spend this month not shaming others. Live and let live. Women need other women in their corners, not boxing each other in the ring for our decisions. The people we choose to surround ourselves with matter and trust me we have no room to judge. Women competing with each other or shaming each other needs to stop. The ceiling cracks when we lift each other up not when we drag our roommates down or make them feel wrong or shameful.

So this month regardless of if you keep your razors or throw them away, no shame.