Book Club

The ECBC Book Club: No Shame by Tom Allen

At some point or another many if not all of us will have felt shame. Shame about ourselves, our actions and perhaps shame about circumstances around us. Shame can be toxic, it can make us question everything about ourselves – our personality, our choices, our appearances, our loved ones etc. Leading to anxiety and the constant questioning around who we are and fighting with ourselves internally.

I like to always talk about self-love. Accepting ourselves is a massive journey but once we start to, it becomes slightly easier to walk alongside shame side by side – like old friends. Shame and anxiety come as a pair and just like living with anxiety we learn to live with shame healthily, telling it to f**k off every now and then.

Which leads me on to todays book – No Shame by Tom Allen. I love Tom and have enjoyed seeing him on TV. I enjoy his energy and attitude to life. His stories in his stand up quite often remind me of myself and my weirdness growing up. I like how he can use his vulnerability and run with it, it takes guts to do that.

There’s a part of me that has found that if people are going to pick on you for being different, you can either work to blend in so you don’t get picked on anymore. Or you can go the other way and be as different as you can be, just to show them you won’t be cowed against a wall forever.

Paragraph from Tom’s book No Shame

This quote really resonated with me as for so long I felt very similar. I spent years in secondary school and sixth form trying to become invisible, blending in so no one would see me apart from the very few I would accept. Never wanting to stand out in fear that everything and anything I did would be used against me. But then when I got to university and I joined a group of weirdos and thespians it all sort of tumbled out of me.

Throughout Allen’s book we see his usual hilarious sense of humour, often trying to see the funny in awkward and upsetting situations. He discusses accepting his sexuality and identity, early relationships and casually hosting gatherings for his teachers. We also see sadness, vulnerability, anxiety – things that could have held him back but he kept pushing through and accepting was a part of him.

So often we feel we’re not enough, that we should be somehow different – that we should offer more. The truth is, everyone is an outsider somewhere, and that’s okay.

Paragraph from Tom Allens book No Shame

I loved reading this book and I feel I could have really benefited from this book back in my school days, similar to how young Tom Allen may have felt. I hope this book encourages others who are feeling lost in a ‘normal’ world to work towards accepting themselves for who they are.

I gave it 5 stars and would thoroughly recommend.

Thank you Tom.

Emma x

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