Adventures, On Mental Health

2am Shame Spiral

This has been an INSANE weekend. I ran 13 miles at Day 01 of my stage race on Friday, and then volunteered at our local art festival Friday night. I did that so that I could see Indigo Girls for FREE Saturday night after running 16 miles at Day 02 of our Stage race. All leading up to running 14 miles today at Day 03.


So, you would think I would have been EXHAUSTED last night.

The concert was SO FUN. Nikki and I danced non-stop for 90 minutes. The Indigo Girls were the soundtrack from my high school years, but I kept up with them even beyond that. I knew most of the songs last night but they played several of my favorites. My favorites from a time in my life when I was struggling after my first marriage ended and I was trying to keep my head above water and finish school as a single Mom and the Indigo Girls were my anthem of every day. I saw them several times over the span of about 3 years, once with E when he was 4. Those songs were the nourishment for my soul which needed healing as I was rediscovering who I was in the wake of some crazy changes in my life.

And last night I got to hear several of those SAME SONGS in person, close enough that we could make out the flowers on Emily’s shirt and I could see the sweat dripping off Amy Ray’s forehead. I screamed the lyrics and danced my heart out and laughed and boogied with my daughter and felt SO ALIVE because I haven’t seen a live show in forever, much less music that carried so much emotional weight…I felt high on life in every sense of the word. It was a great night and Nikki had a blast and I’ll never forget it.

But then…of course…because this is ME we’re talking about…I woke up at 1:30am replaying moments from the night and suffering from embarrassment shame spiral.

Should I have hugged that friend? Did I make that awkward?
Should I have screamed when I saw those friends? Did they thing I was drunk?
Why did I talk to the guy with the stage race shirt?
Was I too excited?
How bad of a dancer am I?
Maybe I should have been more calm. I’m almost 40 for chrissakes.
I’m too old to have been acting like a fool like that.

I was so excited to be there yesterday that I embraced everyone I saw, just about. If they didn’t get hugs they got some sort of drunken (I was not drunk on anything but the excitement of my favorite music) and overly excited greeting where I was like a kid bouncing off the walls on Christmas Eve.

And at 2am I started worrying that maybe I was too old for that kind of crap. And even after several exhausting days I could NOT sleep for fear of embarrassment.


I had an amazing night with my daughter. I screamed myself hoarse. I danced so hard I can’t tell what is sore today from running or what is from dancing. I felt joy deep in my soul listening to some of my favorite songs and yet…YET…I found myself freaking out over whether I was having TOO much fun for a 40yo.

So…I’m dumping this here. I’m unloading all of that embarrassment and shame here so I can let go of it and maybe just carry the amazing joy I had yesterday, starting out running through the woods with my friends, and ending with one of the most perfect musical performances I’ve ever attended. THERE WERE FIREWORKS DURING CLOSER TO FINE, Y’ALL.





12 thoughts on “2am Shame Spiral”

  1. Oh, how I can relate to these late night worrying thoughts and replaying situations and converstations. Ugh! I hate it! Find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

    But then… there is nothing to be ashamed about for having tons of fun at any age. I just turned 40 and I refuse to now have to refrain from singing, dancing, rocking out at gigs from artists who mean a lot to me. And you shouldn’t either!

    So happy to hear you had such a great time at the show! *now off to search for my Indigo Girls CDs or maybe just listen to them on Spotify*

  2. I so get the replaying – gah. But you are your best self when you are excited, and happy, and vibrant. And all of the people you saw at that concert? They saw that vibrant person, and I bet it made them happy. So rock on with your bad self, and don’t give it another thought.

    Also, yay Indigo Girls!!! They are the best.

  3. I absolutely loved it when I spotted you dancing and singing with Nyoka last night. You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed nor ashamed of. Embrace the fun!!

  4. Yesterday I recounted a story to my Mum of a trip we took to Alton Towers Theme Park when I was 17/18. We were on a ride called Nemesis and normally I hate rollercoasters (or at least I do now!). I told her how she screamed all the way round and and she apologised because she thought I was embarrassed at that fact. Then I explained, her screaming all the way round gave me something to focus on instead of the ride.
    My mum says its in the job description of a parent to be at least a little embarrassing. If Nikki enjoyed herself and you enjoyed yourself that’s the main thing, I know when I got to my late teen years I no longer wanted to hang out with my mum like I did previously or like I do now. Hanging out with your parents “wasn’t cool”

  5. There’s no such thing as too much fun, no matter what the age! But, boy do I sit around & relive nights like that and wonder how big a fool I made of myself. But it’s super easy for me to tell YOU not to do it! When I talk to a friend afterward they always tell me I’m being ridiculous – everyone’s having their own fun, you blend right in. It sounds like a great night, I love love the Indigo Girls.

  6. I wish I knew why some of us have this issue with self-recrimination after we have had an enjoyable time. My mom is 87 and still goes through this. At least we have each other to commiserate.

  7. Indeed! Seeing you and Nyoka made me smile. I kept thinking how awesome it was for Nikki to have a mom who was teaching her to have fun and enjoy the music and dance with abandon. And I’ll bet she’s going to have amazing memories of it too. I was too exhausted to get up and dance myself but it made me happy to see everyone who was and how much joy they were getting from the music.

  8. Pessimism is contagious…but so is enthusiasm! Seeing other people happy and enjoying life, especially with their kids, makes me just glow. I’m happy y’all had fun!

  9. Quite often when I am feeling really amazing my subconscious undercuts it by reminding me of something awful I did once, or making me doubt the amazing thing in front of me. I try to just tell myself those negative, self-doubting thoughts are not what’s real. It helps to say “shut up” out loud to that negative voice in your head.

  10. I’m almost forty, too, and I would love to have a night like that. No way you are too old… In fact, my favorite old people have always been the ones who still delight in life and have fun. Tell your subconscious to stuff it; your staying in practice to be the fun old lady everyone loves.

  11. Have you read any of Brene Brown’s work? I have found it to be really helpful.

  12. Anyone who would judge you based on how much sober fun you were having with your kid at a concert is the one who should be up at night feeling shame. (Probably the same person who would judge a non-chisled body at the gym–ridiculous!) So glad you had a blast! Nikki will for sure remember this as one of the highlights of childhood. What a great memory to give her 🙂

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