Call Us : 858-877-0781
Follow Us On

Shame! And Getting Stuck In My Window on Tax Day

Shame!  And Getting Stuck In My Window on Tax Day

shame 1

Okay, so I’m really exploring shame and the role it plays in my life and the life of my writing buddies.

Why? Shame seems to be what stands in the way of risk, of that authentic voice that wants to bubble up to the surface and dance in the light of day. All too often, I notice writers trying to cover up, diminish or stuff down that voice. And many times, I’ve realized it’s because shame rears its nasty head telling the writer not to reveal too much, not to expose—to protect and pretend and hide.

Yet there is a cultural shift going on. This new push to see vulnerability as strength is evidenced by the popularity of books such as Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly or I Thought It Was Just Me.

So, how did I get stuck in a window? Here’s how it went down. My husband says I don’t lock the house up enough when he goes to L.A. So, there it was April 1st and I was doing my taxes like a good idiot (after all, who does their taxes on April fools day?) . I prepared everything I needed for my visit to the accountant. Down to the last receipt. Then I went around and meticulously locked up the house. I took all my important papers and…

Left my keys inside.

Now, I had about thirty minutes to get to my appointment but no way to get there. I walked around the house looking for an in—nothing! (And, of course, the only person that had an extra key was in L.A.) I fretted over my lack of planning. Why the hell didn’t I have a hide-a-key?

I looked and looked around the house for an opening…until…. wait, had my forgetfulness paid off? Yes! A small window in the bathroom was still open. I pried off the screen, grabbed some outdoor chairs, made a makeshift ladder and began to stuff myself through the window.

Though I couldn’t take a picture of myself at the moment, I think it looked something like this:

Or this

shame 2

Or this

shame 1

Or this

shame 3

Halfway through this brilliant idea I realized two things:

  1. If I made it through the window successfully, I would land headfirst into the bathtub.
  2. I was stuck.

I cursed myself for not losing weight fast enough. I cursed my cat for staring at me without sympathy. I cursed the keys that I could see on the edge of my bed, taunting me with their closeness.

But hey, at least no one was witnessing my shame.

old man

“Hey, you okay down there?” Came a voice from atop the hill. Yes, my house is built on a hill and yes, the neighbor above me can see right into my backyard from the right angle whenever he is pruning his tree, which apparently was at that very moment.

I couldn’t turn around to talk to him but I tried to sound as blasé as possible.

“Oh, yeah, just fine. I’m just getting my keys.” I could hear the hesitation and the suppressed laughter in his voice.

“You sure you are okay, there?”

“Oh yeah. No worries! Let’s have a barbecue soon.”

“Sure, okay then.” And I heard him walk off to continue pruning.

Let’s have a barbecue soon? Really?

I tried to brush off the image the neighbor must have been seeing and focus on the task at hand.  It was do-or-die time. I realized I had to shove my way through this crazy small window or I was at risk of someone calling the fire department to pry me out.

And then the idea hit: if I could hold onto the soap rack, I could yank myself in and hopefully flip over at just the right moment to avoid breaking my neck.

I gathered my courage. Then pulled and pushed and bam… went flying into my bathroom!

When I landed (barely clearing the bathtub thank you very much) my cat shrugged and walked off. Just another day living with Marni. The poor cat has seen it all.

So, why, you may wonder, am I telling you all this? Because aside from being hilarious the next day, and having an insane bruise up and down my left leg, I had this thought: I just won’t tell anyone what happened. I mean the neighbor and the cat knew but that was it.

Now it’s a small-life screw up but damn if I wasn’t ashamed. Since I’m doing my best to tackle shame in tiny bite-size pieces when it comes up—instead of stuffing it down—I decided that instead of never telling a soul I would write about it.

So here is my challenge to you:

Can you tell your “stuck in a window” story? Even to one person you trust? I’d love to hear back from you on your adventures facing down shame.

In conclusion, I will leave you with this:

  1. If you find it difficult, try to face down shame in bite-size pieces. Share a teeny-tiny smidge of your story or your voice with someone you trust.
  2. Notice how you feel when you are exposing yourself. Can you take care of yourself in some small way? Can you applaud your bravery in some small way?
  3. Hide-a-keys rule.


Photo credits:,,




Leave a Reply