The SHAMEBOOTH podcast explores the science, psychology, and just general fucked-upness behind one of the most intense and isolating emotions a person can feel, anchoring each episode with the voices of real people who stepped into the haint blue safe space itself.
From comedians to therapists, sociologists to actors, we delve into this dynamic and universal condition with the hope to inspire listeners to free themselves of the shackles of shame and be free.
Episode 20: Back to School with Nicole Hockley
This was one of our toughest episodes we have ever done: Speaking with Nicole Hockley of Sandy Hook Promise about the tragedy that came into her life when there was a shooting at her son’s school, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. On that fateful day, December 14th, 2012, 28 people died, 20 of them were children between the ages of 6 and 7. Nicole Hockley’s son was amongst them. Since then, Nicole co-founded Sandy Hook Promise, a foundation committed to “honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation by providing programs and practices that protect children from gun violence.” In these times, where multiple shootings occur every day, Sandy Hook Promise is vital and we spoke with Nicole about her experiences that inspired it and what has happened since.
Episode 19: Scratching The Surface of Race
As we know, shame finds itself everywhere, as does its sister, Pride. In this episode, we are touching on two key places where shame & pride seems to rear its head: Education and race. Our guest on the show is a graduate of Harvard University, a black woman, Ghanaian parents. When she went back for her 10-year reunion, she explored what success means for a graduate of such a prestigious school. We also wanted to know what it means to be a Black woman in a school like Harvard and whether our guest should be responsible for schooling others on Black culture (spoiler alert: No).
Episode 18: Get Proud with Mathew Clark Davison
It’s PRIDE. Millions of people, literally, are descending on to New York for the 50th Anniversary of Pride, and people around the world are taking to the streets to shed their shame and get proud about who they are and who they desire. It’s powerful. It was powerful 50 years ago and, to be honest, it’s just as potent today, if not more so! We are all about pride, here at SHAMEBOOTH, and in celebration, we brought on our dear friend, author and advocate Mathew Clark Davison to share his story of coming out to his family, moving to California as a teen looking for a refuge and creating a safe space for others to be themselves and take a load of shame off. Get proud, people, not just this month but for a lifetime.
Episode 17: Near Death with BJ Miller
Death. It’s the one thing that is absolutely inevitable in our lives. And yet, it’s the thing we try and escape the most. Until we get ill, or tragedy strikes, and it becomes all too real. That’s what happened with BJ Miller. A stunning, athletic young man at Princeton, he was climbing the top of a train and 11,000 volts of electricity pulsated through his body. He lost both legs and half of his arm. Rather than be shrouded in shame, he turned this tragedy into a strength. Now he is a palliative-care doctor working to help patients ease into one of the most powerful moments of their lives: their death. We spoke about his accident, death, and the way to prepare for it with love.
Episode 16: How To Be Loved with Eva Hagberg
Eva Hagberg is a journalist, professor, and author. She has a Ph.D. in Visual and Narrative Culture from UC Berkeley and has written for the leading publications: NY Times, Tin House and countless others. So yeah, she’s a badass. And for a long time, she carried a lot of shame, buried it in alcohol and drugs, and it wasn’t until she got sober and, later, became sick that she found a path to loving others and, in so doing, loving herself. She wrote a memoir about it, How To Be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship and the book is getting rave reviews. She came to SHAMEBOOTH during her national book tour.
Episode 15: Shame ain’t all bad with Joseph Burgo
When we see the word shame, it pricks up our ears. We want to know more and we want to understand what people are saying, and doing, about it. Because guess what? We want to eradicate shame. Let’s do it! Wait, wait, what’s that you say? There are some good things about shame too? We never thought of it that way, not until we had author and psychotherapist Joseph Burgo on the show. He had some exceptional insights about shame, a topic he has been exploring for over a decade now, culminating in his book, Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy and Build True Self-Esteem. We met in Palm Springs and spoke about shame, Trump, Louis CK, and how shame can be a path to pride. We had fun, enjoy.
Episode 14: Nipping Shame In The Bud with Jennifer Berger
Do you remember the first time you thought there was something different about your body? Maybe it happened before you were even verbal. You noticed you were taller, or your fingers were longer, your hair was curlier. And, as a toddler, you were fascinated by this difference, certainly not having any judgement about it. And then, as a youth, even before you turned 10 years old, someone made a comment—a classmate, a parent, a friend— about your body, something that didn’t feel so great, and a pang of discomfort came, that soon to be familiar sense of shame about who you are and how you look. It was EARLY in life and it would set the foundation for many of those feelings to continue. But what if you were given the tools to nip that in the bud, to question, to understand, to feel proud. That’s what About-Face, a San Francisco based organization is doing and we spoke with the Executive Director, Jen Berger, about empowering kids to feel proud about themselves and their bodies, for the rest of their lives.
Episode 13: Sizing up Shame with Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir has been hailed as “a tapestry of heart and heartache” (Boston Globe), “raw, cathartic” (O Magazine), “staggering” (Elle.com), “stunningly honest” (The Atlantic) and “a refined, warm, generously poetic library work.” (Entertainment Weekly). Written as an elegy to his mother, with whom Kiese had a complicated and deep relationship, Kiese speaks about body shame, gambling, violence, blackness and so much more. It’s honest and real and deeply powerful. In this episode, we speak with author and professor Kiese Laymon when he was in San Francisco on his whirlwind book tour. When reading Heavy, you discover not only the power of words, memories and love, but also the consequences of generational trauma, leading to addiction and needing to hide-to disappear. Through this book and the exceptional work Kiese has done unpacking his trauma, he finds freedom, and, as readers, so do we. We love you, Kiese. Thank you.
Episode 12: Finn Deerhart – Ain’t no shame in gay
You are born in the south, raised moving from small town to small town because your father is a minister in the church, you’re gay and you know it but you can’t come out, and all you hear from your family is how homosexuality is a sin, an abomination. You’re stuck, at least it feels that way. So you get married, your wife knows that you have sexual inclinations towards the same sex and she loves you so she’s open to it. But ultimately that’s not enough, love can’t overcome your intrinsic character. So you escape your life in the south, your family, your upbringing and you come to California, adopt a new name, create your true identity and help others do the same. That’s the story, in a nutshell, of Finn Deerhart who moved out to California to find out who he is. Today, Finn helps men face the shame they carry inside around their sexuality and dispel it so that they can accept themselves and have healthy, sexy, long-lasting relationships. He’s in this to get people to feel proud of who they are and what they want. Guess what, so are we.
Episode 11: Seeing Trauma with Katie Albright
We all know that child abuse is shitty, and we all know that it exists. If awareness is part of the answer, then why does it continue to be a local and national epidemic? How do we care for the abused, and YES, the ABUSER so that the cycle can be broken? As one interviewee observes, it must be spoken about. In this episode of SHAMEBOOTH Podcast, Founder Paula Williams speaks with Katie Albright, JD and CEO of Safe and Sound, formerly known as San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, and gets real about her personal experiences with childhood abuse, how slippery the slope can be, and how bringing the shame around it into the light can affect change.
Episode 10: Dawn Nickel and She Recovers
Let’s face it- we’re all recovering from something. Do you hide away in the kitchen feeding that chocolate addiction, do you need to get high to make love, is there something that you are compelled to do that keeps you away from being free? There are all sorts of addictions and every day we are recovering from one kind or another.
In this episode of SHAMEBOOTH, we speak with kindred spirit Dawn Nickel, co-founder of She Recovers exploring addiction, recovery and the power of sharing and healing because when we heal, our families and communities heal as well. Boom.
We also hear from other women the advice they would give themselves early in their recovery. It’s some powerful shit.
Episode 9: MILCK
In this episode of SHAMEBOOTH Podcast we follow one artist’s journey out of shame and silence into unrepentant, uncompromising, balls-to-the-wall self-honesty.
Her generational anthem “Quiet” went viral at the Women’s March January 27, 2017 receiving 14 million views in 48 hours. A survivor of abuse, anorexia, and depression, Quiet is her thesis on her journey as a woman, an Asian American, a Feminist and as a Human Being. Quiet is about helping people who have been silenced reclaim their power. #icantkeepquiet and neither will we.
Episode 8: Homelessness with Doniece Sandoval
If there is one place where we see a whole lot of shame, it’s in the condition of not having a home, of being homeless, houseless, unhoused. Those that are without a home feel ashamed, we as bystanders feel ashamed for not doing anything about it and cities that have homeless populations feel shame too! So we brought Doniece Sandoval, founder of Lava Mae, on the show. Her organization instills a deep sense of pride in a population that struggles with shame. Lava Mae has turned busses into showers for the homeless. Just as people walk into the SHAMEBOOTH to shed their shame and feel proud, people flock to Lava Mae to wash themselves and come out clean, and proud.
Episode 7: What Is Shame with Eve Ekman – Part 2
Okay, so, our conversation with Dr. Eve Ekman was so good we had to make it a two-parter. We also have some amazing stories from the booth and also from the street by our intrepid producer Regina Bediako – listen closely to the section that starts around the 4-minute mark, thanks Regina.
Episode 6: What Is Shame with Eve Ekman – Part 1
For our 6th episode of SHAMEBOOTH, we are getting back to the basics, so to speak, and asking the deceptively simple question, what the heck is shame. Our guest is Dr. Eve Ekman who has been working in the field of emotions for over a decade and her most recent project has been a collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Together they created the Atlas of Emotions which identifies certain universal emotions, like sadness, anger and enjoyment, and explores what they are, how they feel in the body, what they lead to and how to work effectively with them when they arise. Eve is a bad ass: Artist, surfer, doctor, writer, meditator, teacher and knows a thing or two about shame. Apparently, if you don’t think you have shame, you’re not looking closely enough!
Episode 5: Gender and Sexuality with guest Ash Beckham
We all have our closets – I mean our emotional ones – where we hide things away not wanting anyone to see. In this episode, we’re discussing coming out of those closets and not allowing our shame to limit who we are and what we can be. Through radical honesty with ourselves and the world, our insightful guest Ash Beckham shares her story with care, love, and humor.
Episode 4: The foundations of love with Charlotte Kasl
Ahhhh, love. Boy oh boy do we carry a lot of stuff around love. Who do we love, who loves us, how were we loved, what is loving, who am I allowed to love, why is it important, why is it the most important thing. Is it? We speak with author and psychologist, Charlotte Kasl, and we also hear stories from the booth.
Episode 3: Taking it to the streets at the Women’s March
In this episode, we take it to the streets, speaking with men and women at the 2nd annual Women’s March in San Francisco where people come to voice their shame about our administration and in finding like-minded people around them, feel empowered and a little bit freer.
Episode 2: Tarana Burke, Time Magazine’s Silence Breaker and founder of #MeToo
When Tarana Burke was in her early 20s and director of a youth camp, one of her girls told Tarana her story of having been sexually abused. Tarana was frozen and speechless, not knowing what to say or do but inside herself, she heard the words ‘me too’ and later created the hashtag on Twitter, giving girls and women a voice. Fast forward to today, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein and countless others, and #metoo has gone viral with millions of people posting it on social media and creating an unprecedented movement. Tarana Burke was just named one of Time Magazine’s People of the Year and the movement is building momentum every day. Paula spoke with Tarana to learn more about the history of #metoo, where it is now and where we go from here.
Episode 1: How shame came to be SHAMEBOOTH with Paula Williams
Paula Williams was struggling: Her kids were having a challenging time in school and she found that when she would see fellow moms, she would run for the hills, doing her damnedest to hide her shame and her self. Then one day she decided she would share what was going on, that she would stop hiding and show the bits that seemed hard or unapproachable. What she discovered was that in her sharing, in shedding her shame, she gave others the chance to do the same. And thus, SHAMEBOOTH was born, an installation, and now a podcast, where people share their stories of shame and, in the process, feel liberated, offering others the same. Here, Paula shares her story, the founding of SHAMEBOOTH, and her vision to free the whole world of shame