• The Shame Prom: “Where everyone is invited to dance”

    by Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter


    “We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.”
    – George Bernard Shaw

    It’s THE BIG one – that big, bad, ugly little (or big) secret we don’t want to share.

    It keeps us from being intimate, truthful, fearless.

    It keeps us oh so small.

    It’s the sad, funny, joyous, difficult, liberating, humorous, and HOLY SHIT… enlightening stories.
    It’s life changing, and life altering.
    It’s there, in the back of the drawer, hidden next to the sexy lingerie that is never, ever worn.
    It is a companion, an unwelcome visitor.
    It comes at the wrong moment.

    A destroyer of dreams, a pervasive darkness; an enabler.

    It arrives in the form of anxiety attacks, cold sweats and sleepless nights.

    It has brought down countries, damaged political careers, upended the financial world, shaken both religious and spiritual communities.

    It is a stoic face in public, a tearstained face in private.

    Aretha sang about it.
    Ted Swaggart prayed to almighty God about it.
    Elizabeth Edwards wrote and spoke about it.
    Angelina Jolie had it tattooed to remind her of it.
    Newt Gingrich begged forgiveness because of it.
    Tiger Woods lied because of it.
    Oprah Winfrey did seventeen shows on it.
    Bill Clinton addressed the nation three times in the name of it.
    Laura Nyro wrote lyrics about it.
    Ruth Madoff lives in hiding because she is filled with it.

    The shame we carry from our mothers, our fathers, our siblings, our friends, our co-workers. The shame we hide, the shame we pass on to our children; the shame full, the shame less. The shame on you and the shame on me.

    It comes in all colors.
    All sizes.
    All shapes.
    All religions.

    It prevents us from loving, giving, sharing, holding, touching, kissing, opening our hearts, and souls.

    It is worn by men and women and girls and boys, alike.

    It does not discriminate.

    It is heart breaking and funny and scary and enlightening and connects us, just like dots.

    The shame of … dropping out of school.
    Of kissing a girl.
    Of kissing a boy.
    Of loving the same sex.
    Of going to jail.
    Of having AIDS or HIV or STD.
    Of loving the wrong skin color.
    Of shop lifting.
    Of stealing.
    Of bankruptcy.
    Of lying.
    Of wearing briefs, not boxers.
    Of having no money.
    Losing a job.
    Losing your virginity.
    Losing your home.
    Losing your mind.

    The shame of sex.
    Small breasts.
    And yes, big breasts.

    The shame of selling out.
    Selling off.

    Hollye and I are co-editing this extraordinary anthology (tentatively titled) THE SHAME PROM where we will be sharing & writing about our deepest shame – and in the process offering a hand, a shoulder, a box of Kleenex, tremendous hope, a bit of enlightenment, a bucket of wisdom, and unyielding courage so others who have lived with their own shame realize they too have the option to leave it behind, move on, and yes, YES… let it go. Our deepest, most fervent wish is to wipe SHAME off the face of the earth. We know, a big gigantic wish … but we’re passionate, determined women.


    Shame is the silent thief of our life’s greatest joy. This is a conversation that Amy and I have been having for a year. We share our secrets with one another, encourage each other to write about it, and in the process of releasing it to the world, we are transformed. We are freer to be our true selves. To live passionately and without fear. And we want that for every woman, and every man.

    Each time we mustered up the courage to expose our truth, we were inundated with messages from others who in turn shared their personal stories. It was beautiful to discover how truly alike and connected we are, and that we share so many common fears. Let’s face it, we’re all carrying some heavy shame, and you know what? We’re tired. So why walk the Earth pretending any longer?

    In this anthology, we will face that universal nightmare, to strip naked and walk brazenly through school. Twenty gifted writers have agreed to hold hands and take this plunge into the deep end together, with soul-baring honesty and humor, in the hopes that our readers will follow. In addition, we will have an interactive website where we invite you all to join us at the Shame Prom – a place where we can wear our ugly dresses then shed them. Where we parade our shame in public, dance it around on our arm, and take awkward pictures with it. But afterward, we’re not going to roll around in the backseat making out with it. No! We’re breaking up with Shame.

    Are you with us?

      • David Lacy

      • April 3, 2011 at 8:01 am
      • Reply

      And when the Prom is over (i.e. the book comes out), iPinion will throw you an after-party to celebrate.

    • Absolutely so worth it when shame is shared. I can’t wait for this book. It will be my go to book for friends and family. I will spread the shame equally and encourage all my friends and family to let go of it big and small. Love you both.

    • I am in love with both of you…your partnership, mutual respect and admiration; courage, insanity, sanity, heart and soul. this is a miracle in the making. as god says sometimes…”the time is now, pay attention”…

    • You two are an inspiration. The way you lift one another is a gift to me. You truly understand that as we go into the Age of Aquarius, that the other person is you. Our souls are crying out for the truth. No more shame.

    • This is going to be an amazing body of work. Can’t wait to watch it play out!

      • Judy

      • April 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm
      • Reply

      Breaking up with shame–I like it alot!

      • David Lacy

      • April 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm
      • Reply

      I want a signed copy (I’ll pay of course.) 😉

      • Tracy

      • April 4, 2011 at 8:32 pm
      • Reply

      Here’s to walking through those gym doors, leaving shame behind and dancing like we’ve never danced before!

      • Jesse

      • April 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm
      • Reply

      This is a game changer. A game face changer. I can hardly wait! Jesse

    • Amy and Hollye,
      Yes, share the shame. I have been sharing mine for some time now and everyone, I mean everyone, in the City of Winters California knows everything about me, past and present. Sharing your shame is the path to true freedom unfornatunately, now that I am about to get free, everybody thinks I’m a nut. This is not my shame, but theirs.
      Like Karma, shame is shared. Collective shame can only be shed collectively. I think you are taking the first step to the truth but beware, many fear the truth and they will fight you tooth and nail to keep the shamefull truth hidden. One’s shame touches the lives of many others and in shedding your shame it may do great harm to others so be kind and do this with love and compassion. I don’t know why I say this to you for I know that this trait comes naturally to women unless, of course, you piss them off. I look forward to your next adventure for it’s clear to me that neither of you fear shame-this is a trait of the pure at heart.
      With true respect,

    • What a great thing this will be! I too am looking forward to reading this and being inspired. There are cultures in the world that cannot comprehend self-hate and it gives me hope that it is very possible to break it off!

    • I blogged about my shame in re relationships today– would be happy to have you check it out for anthology. A great project! xj

      • Carol

      • April 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm
      • Reply

      Shame & Regret, hand in hand, human nature at it’s worst. So hard to let go of, but after letting go it seems to creep back in. What an awesome topic, vision, realization of our humanity. You girls are amazing!! Basically Human Nature has not changes since the very beginning. We try and change it but you can’t paint over it, scratch, and it’s there deep inside.
      Can’t wait for the book!!!!!

      • Carol

      • April 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm
      • Reply

      OOps also, I’m having a regret thing! I’m turning 50 this year and after YEARS of toting that I HAVE NO REGRETS well BULLSHIT!! Their everywhere!!
      I love that you GET THAT!! XOXOXOX

    • yes! yes! yes!
      I am not ashamed to say I wet my pants when I heard about this.

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