I’m a sex-positive, body-positive, non-traditional relationship, pansexual, kinky kind of gal. I know this sounds like it would be a fun article about my sex life and all the wonderful details of my exploits, but it’s not. This is about something far more important.

Rejecting shame.

While I’ve known who I am since fifteen, I’ve not always lived it so publicly. Mostly because the people that used to fill my space were judgmental and didn’t accept these parts of me. So I played pretend a lot and kept quiet when I’d hear passive aggressive remarks or shaming statements about others. I didn’t want those people to find me out.

It’s taken me years to find happiness and peace within myself. I’ve worked hard. Gone to therapy. I’ve weeded out toxic people and pulled in healthier ones that embraced these delightfully naughty parts of me. Once I had accepted myself, I thought no one would be able to take that from me, for I was confident!

Recently, however, this confidence came into question. Someone who wasn’t in the know read my sex blog and attempted to shame me for it. He said cruel things and never asked questions about me, my lifestyle, whether it was true, and if true, how did that work for me? Nope, he just accused, belittled, and attempted to make me believe that there was something wrong with me.

My first instinct was to panic. I hadn’t realized this person didn’t know these things about me. Then I got defensive because he was accusing me. But I stopped panicking and being defensive. Why? I live a life of joy, excitement, and happiness. My joy doesn’t need defending.

But then came the big issue…shame.

I began to go down the path of questioning myself, and the moment I did, all of the joy and happiness was sucked out of me. I’d love to be able to blame the person that had said these things, but the reality is that my joy was sucked from me because I let it be. I allowed him to make me feel bad about myself. And that’s on me.

Thankfully, the amazing people in my life jumped right in and set me straight. Every one of them agreed that I was letting someone else dictate who I was and whether or not I should be that. I don’t need anyone’s permission to be me. No one gets to tell me that my life is wrong or bad. Because it’s my life.

Once I realized the path I was going down, I took a deep breath and set those nasty feelings of shame and self-judgment aside. They weren’t really my feelings anyway. So I said, “No more! I will not allow others to shame me into being someone I’m not.”

Rejecting shame isn’t always easy. Especially right now with our country so divided. People who used to be tolerant are suddenly donning the cape of self-righteousness. Attacks, belittling, judgment, and shaming are increasing at an alarming rate. It’s important to remember that those people are the ones with the problem.

It boils down to a simple concept. If you don’t like broccoli, don’t eat broccoli. But don’t expect others not to eat it or like it just because you don’t. The same applies whether it’s with kink, sexuality, gender, and so on.

People who are healthy don’t feel the need to judge or shame others. They are focused where they should be, on becoming the best version of themselves they can be. Before I allow anyone to affect me again, I will look to their actions first. Do they look in the mirror? Do they right their wrongs? Do they listen twice as much as they speak? Do they attend therapy? Do they communicate with kind/loving words and ‘I’ statements or do they place the blame elsewhere, like in ‘you’ statements?

If people aren’t focused on being the best person they can be with love and understanding, then they aren’t people that deserve my time or energy.

Letting others shame us gives them power that they neither possess nor deserve. I won’t give my power away.

Here’s to living life with joy and acceptance of who we are!

Sienna Saint-Cyr writes erotica and blogs about kink, poly, body image, and most things relating. Follow her on her website or on Twitter @siennasaintcyr.

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