My Second Shame

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 in My Inner Catholic Girl, Nature-Inspired Sexy

My Second Shame


What I’ve figured out so far is this:

that aspen bark leaves a white powdery dust on my lips when I kiss it


that wildflowers drenched in morning dew are as fragrant as a woman aroused

Photo by the fabulous Jules Smith.

that when a storm builds, dark and slate blue over the continental divide, I feel it, like an ache, or a longing, or both, in my pelvis. And that as much as I levitate from the brilliance of a full moon shimmering like a thousand diamonds on the snow outside my cabin, the way the new moon illuminates the spill of the Milky Way can just as easily bring me to my knees.

What I’ve figured out is that my childhood Sunday mornings spent in a straight- back wooden pew has somehow given me this reverence for my church without walls.  That a seed of the divine grew into something I could harvest when I planted it at 9,000 ft. It grew, like kudzu grows in the south, until the crucifix could no longer be seen but it’s under there, I can feel it, burning with shame.

So I brandish my pen, like a wildland firefighter with a pulaski, hacking away at the vines, excavating the shame because here I am, at 53, stepping back out in the world as an erotic memoirist, and sexual shame from my childhood still rises up unexpectedly, like a rattlesnake on the trail, making my hands tremor like that ominous rattle.

I’m one of those free-spirited, nature-loving types that live outside the box, off the grid in the shadow of a mountain.  You would think that living at 9,000 feet, that I could transcend all this.

What I’ve figured out is this: the roots of shame extend deeply.

But you want to know what is even worse than my Original Shame (hey its Original Sin,right)?  It’s my Second Shame: that idea that I even have it in the first place.

Because it is a crock and I know it and it defies my writer’s platform: that not fully embracing your sensual self is the sin not the contrary.

I have to face the irony or the hypocrisy or whatever you want to call it, that I blog about sensuality to empower other women to embrace theirs, but my cheeks can still burn red and hot like they did when I was nine and someone mentioned the word sex.

So I find myself twisted up in my self- love practices of yoga, meditation, and Reiki, my new age voice trying to quiet that old but very young one, which only serves to strengthen it because what I’ve figured out is there is no shushing your Inner Child, there’s no locking her away in a confessional or hiding her behind a dusty back row pew.

Believe me I’ve tried.

Get the fuck over it, says my Second Shame

Don’t say the word fuck, says my Original Shame.

And so here I am, in the middle, shining my light and my words on all of it, waiting to see what shimmers back.

Photo by Jules Smith

Sexy Conversation Starter: What about you? Does sexual shame from your past inhibit you from fully stepping into the brilliance and gift of your sensuality? Do you know where it comes from?

In my next post, the third of My Inner Catholic Girl series, I delve into my story.  Writing about my sexual shame has already started to diffuse it. Feel free to write and share in the comments if you , like me, are ready to embrace your shame and then gently let it go.


  1. Moving from shame to dignity! I still have so much healing to do. I really like Catholicism with it’s focus on virginity and prohibitions on sexuality did a number on me. Loved your post and looking forward to the next in your Inner Catholic girl series. I love your blog. Please keep writing.

  2. Hey Jude,
    Dignity. That is such a great word and the perfect antonym for shame. Writing the third Inner Catholic Girl post has really facilitated a shift.
    So freeing. And yes, more dignity. I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. It’s always so sexy to find you here~

  3. I love your writing– I remember so many letters from you over the years. I would smile just at the sight of my dear friends handwriting on the envelope and knew I was in for a good read!!!
    Catholicism!! It was just part of who you were if you were raised with Catholic parents in the 1960s– it was not a choice(and still isn’t–my father still asks me if I’ve gone to church–I am 53 yrs. old!! Seriously) to go to church — it was mandatory and my father would find a church for us to attend Sunday Mass no matter where we were. I drifted away as I became older–feeling guilty all the way but it just didn’t feel natural to go and do the motions- both physically and spriritualy- just because I was supposed to– I pushed it away and lived my life(and breaking all the Catholic rules) and then I had kids and it was in my face again– my girls went through the ceremonial baptism and I thought “they need God in their lives”. I never lost my belief in God I just felt I could have a relationship with Him in my own way– I tried to start taking my girls to church but I felt like a fraud sitting there— I just would think of everything I wasn’t doing that the Catholics say you must to do go to Heaven– I wasn’t going to confession–I wasn’t getting communion- I wasn’t going to the church every Sunday– So I stopped going because I started feeling like I was walking out of the Mass feeling really bad about myself instead of feeling filled with the love of God— now I pray whenever and wherever I am– I talk about God with my children–they know Him.
    My Father is so devoted to the Catholic faith and beliefs and convinced that you must do all the sacraments or you will not go to Heaven–
    At a party we were just chatting and he asked me for the millionth time “Have you gone to church?” I said “NO Dad I haven’t been in a church lately” and he said “MaryAnne — I want to see you in heaven” I said “I will be there — I know God loves me and my girls” He just shook his head NO— I have never been more insulted and offended in my life that my “Father” would actually believe this because we are not jumping through the hoops/sacraments here on Earth–
    I LOVE the photos– absolutely beautiful!

    • Thanks for sharing this MA. There are so many of us recovering Catholic Girls out there. I love the way you found your own way to share your faith with your girls. Sorry about your dad~that sounds painful. I hope that by writing about it here you feel less burdened. I’m amazed how much of my shame has moved for me since writing these posts. Shine light on those dark cob-webbed corners of our psyches!

  4. “Not fully embracing your sensual self is the sin, not the contrary.” – Love that! We all have hidden shames, don’t we? I really admire your courage to dig deep and unearth all that dark nonsense that keeps us locked up. Your courage inspires me. Thank you CC!

    • My hands are getting calloused from all the digging but it’s helping.

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