Free Your Mind.
Your Ass Will Follow.
Get Meg's free mini course delivered straight to your inbox:
Meg Worden Facebook35Meg Worden twitterMeg Worden Pinterest35Meg Worden instagram35
Nothing To See Here: On turning your shame into success through the stories you tell

Nothing To See Here: On turning your shame into success through the stories you tell

Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” – Clive Barker, Days of Magic, Nights of War

Photo Nov 04, 1 38 03 PM

Last week I went to New York to, among other things, spend a day at Defy Ventures teaching entrepreneurship to ex cons. It was a cause after my own heart, as those of you who know me are aware, I spent two years in a federal prison. I know the challenges these people are facing in the work force, socially and in their own self esteem around the stigma of their past.

I also know how it feels to be a survivor, a born entrepreneur, a misfit in the world of traditional employment.

Truth: Selling drugs was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. The money was great, the hours were flexible, getting high was a perk and I got to tap into a kind of power that, at the time, my life was missing. People came to me to procure a thing they valued highly. I felt useful and important.

Of course, dealing drugs isn’t the best creative outlet, it is unsustainable and the customers are not always helped by the product in any holistic kind of way. Your colleagues are other drug dealers and they are infuriatingly unprofessional sometimes.

But the feeling of doing something that really matters to someone is no small feeling.

There is power in seeking. There is power in surviving. There is power in the people that choose to do something in the face of need, rather than nothing at all.

This is not a power that should be dismissed. This is actually the power of revolutionary thinking.

It can be the sprouting of life in a dead field. A miracle in the face of impossibility. Humor that lightens grief or the polarity that creates electricity.

Everything is always more than it appears. And there is beauty everywhere. More than you have been told.

Perhaps there isn’t much that’s beautiful about having to go to prison. On the surface and even down a few layers, the experience is pretty awful. Every cell of a being revolts at the idea of being convicted, stripped and confined. The freedom to walk through gates, nurse our babies, sleep late into the morning or stay up all night feels like a birthright. Prison also houses a particular kind of absurdity, a relaxing into the inevitable which can be a nearly spiritual surrender. I have had some of my saddest moments there, also some of my most gut-busting bouts of laughter.

So this is the purity that I got to witness during my day at Defy Ventures. A whole population of seekers and survivors being given the structure and the support they need to channel their incredible power into a creative rather than destructive direction.

And changing directions, for anyone, when you really get down to business, is just a shift in the stories you tell yourself, how you tell your story to others, what you choose to share and what you don’t. The way you function around the stories you are hiding, the ones that, whether or not you like it are dominating your personality anyhow.

Vulnerable stories – your truth is underneath them and your truth is the really good stuff. 

During my day at Defy, we talked about how to tell their prison story in a way that engenders compassion and support, instead of judgment and fear.  How they can go forward into their businesses with the confidence that they are not ruled by the negative aspects of their past, but by the powerful aspects of them.

And that they are not alone. Everyone is hiding from the things that we feel ashamed of. We are self protective pain averse. Judgment, rejection and failure are scary.

All of us.

And while you may never have ever been arrested (Though I totally want to hear about it if you have), you absolutely have a story of desire, need, fear and the ways that you have failed in your search for acceptance. You have lost and grieved and bled.

And yet you are still here, waking up every day and making a play for love.

That is immense, darling. That is glue.

So I want to ask, what are the ways that you use your past (or current) adversity to create opportunity? 

How do you let your stories about yourself support or hinder your ability to take excellent care of yourself?

Answer in the comments on the blog, or in an email to me.

Need more help working through and rewriting the stories that are in the way of your health and success? Perhaps we should be working together. Email me and we can set up a free consultation.

For the record, you are fucking amazing. Every day of the week.


Meg Signature

Read more great things:

Justine Musk writes about telling your truth in consistently brilliant style.

Joe Loya talks about laughing, in prison, in this essay about his connection and reaction to the popular prison show based on the book by Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black.

Srinivas Rao of Blogcast FM writes a goddamn bestseller about being a corporate misfit, surfing and creativity. The Art of Being Unmistakeable. Go get it.


image by me


You might also enjoy:

Free Your Mind. Your Ass Will Follow.

Get Meg's free mini course delivered straight to your inbox:

Share on Facebook15Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest1Share on StumbleUpon0Email this to someone

6 Responses to Nothing To See Here: On turning your shame into success through the stories you tell

  1. claire stone says:

    Wow. Super soulful post. I don’t feel I have anything important to say, other than thanks for opening my eyes to seeing how much in my past can help me in the future.
    thank you

  2. I too have a very checkered past. I spend a lot of time, not necessarily hiding my past, but ignoring it when it could be useful in helping people. For example, when I am in my office (I am now an assistant principal at a high school in a large district that shall remain nameless) and a student is sent to me by his or her probation officer because of yet another violation, I have the desire to share my past. However, I am in a public sector machine and that type of sharing is frowned upon. Authority figures are supposed to be the stoic, shining examples. I think a shinier example would be me saying to that student, “Your future self waiting for you out there. And he or she is having a fantastic life. I’ve been arrested and look at me now, kid!” That probably wouldn’t bode well with my principal or district admin, but it would help that student who feels like a loser with no future. Thanks for the blog post. I like to see other felons making a difference 🙂

    • mworden says:

      Kathleen, I think you are so right about transparency being more effective than lying. The kids would probably be so inspired by your redemption story as I’m sure many of them don’t feel that they have options or a future. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m so glad you are here. (and also love seeing other felons making a difference). Cheers.

      • Agatha says:

        Sabes, la gente cumple años…es algo que sue.dec..digo nomas,vuelve a tu cueva pequeño troll, canta canciones a la naturaleza, danza al rededor de la hogera y se feliz en tus tierras y en tu puente.

  3. […] honor sitting on the judging panel of Defy Ventures’ final business competition in New York City. I’ve written about this crowd before and the work they are doing helping ex-cons develop straight businesses hits so close to home. I […]

Leave a reply

Want to get in touch? You can email me directly:

brand & site design by makeness media