Cheeseball shame.


By the third time I had talked about it I decided I would write it out. 

The cheeseballs. The shame. 

When my love Mara mentioned perfect imperfection texting a couple days ago, it finally had a name, the cheeseball moment. And named, it feels different.

Perfect imperfection. It's a thing. And we all know it's a thing. If you are on social media, you know it's a thing. It is a curated self protective blend of vulnerability and the perfect photo to tell you all about the vulnerability.

Go to my feed, you'll see plenty.

There I am taking a quick video of Eli's birthday spread complete with things he loves, cucumbers, celery, goldfish crackers, cheese, strawberries, cheeseballs.

Well I post the video and bam. Shame.

I am a health coach and my kids get cheeseballs on their birthdays.

My perfect imperfection that I didn't realize I was attaching to my identity. I'll let you see the goldfish crackers after 5 years of therapy but the cheeseballs, hell no. I've known health coaches ready to leave relationships because their partner bought boxed cereal. Judgement reigns deep in this world. 

After I post the video I spend the next 24 hours thinking about how I need to talk about the cheeseballs, explain the cheeseballs. How they are a family birthday thing. How they started with our youngest hacking our grocery list and adding cheeseballs to it all the time.

Honestly, by the third time I've talked about the cheeseballs with someone those damn things lost their power. Judge me. I can't do this shame dance on social media any longer.

A couple months ago I hit my rock bottom of social media shame. Pretty sure it eventually landed me in the ER with diverticulitis. Because a public airing of anger directed at you will eat up your intestines fast while you are working your way through it.

And. It was one of the moments that changed my life, I am ironically steeped in gratitude. A freedom.


It is so OK. Here was this thing happening and I didn't have to control it or be part of it or give it power. It just was. Messy. Real. So OK.

Eventually this tenderness for all of it, for other's pain and anger and stories, replaced the terror. The deep vulnerability of being imperfectly imperfect and the potential of social media to be wildly toxic or deeply healing all rushing together.

Shame. Cheeseballs.

My kids eat them on birthdays.

Shame. If I could go back and make decisions differently and undo pain caused, yes, yes.

And also, the one who was, the one who had to control the imperfections, she didn't know how to walk through that time. My heart now cannot believe how scared she was.

Shame. How scared she was. How control and fear became silence. How breaking the silence brought more shame. How cheeseballs could just be cheeseballs and hurts and pains and angers can be OK and real and needed, even when they are coming right at us.

Because it is real and true and tender. 

That's the way through shame. To find the truth inside of it.

I didn't want to show you those bright orange fake ass puff balls that were part of my kid's celebration.

Because shouldn't I be better than cheeseballs when you are viewing my perfectly imperfect life?

(Insert perfectly imperfect photo to represent cheeseball vulnerability.)