Public Humiliation and Us
Play • 28 min

To be a writer and a human you often have to be courageous. Writers put their books out there for other people to see. Humans put their selves out there (sometimes in places like Tinder) for people to see.

And that's scary AF, honestly.

With us writer people we're putting our inner thoughts on a page, we're exposing our insides and that can be so hard and when we do that? It hurts when we get rejected or judged or told that our insides suck?

And sometimes when we want to protect ourselves from that hurt we develop writers block.

Spoiler alert: Writers block is bad for writers because we don't write.

But the thing is that writers aren't the only ones who get writers block, right? People get it, too. People get so afraid of doing the wrong thing, of being judged, of being publicly humiliated that we forget to live. We hunker down and have a shell of a life instead of trying something new.

Carrie: For me, the things that I get afraid about are my voice and being filmed. That's because I was bullied for my voice when I was little and because I'm kind of a dork when I get filmed and I think I'm too ugly. 


Real moment right there.

We really want to do video, but Carrie's pretty phobic about it because it feels like a place to be humiliated, for all that bullying as a child to bubble back to the surface and even though she's an adult now? It feels so vulnerable and raw.

Humiliation is traumatic and often hushed up, whereas embarrassment, given enough time, can be sublimed into a humorous anecdote. More fundamentally, humiliation involves abasement of pride and dignity, and with it loss of status and standing. The Latin root of ‘humiliation’ is ‘humus’, which translates as ‘earth’ or ‘dirt’. We all make certain status claims, however modest they may be, for instance, ‘I am a competent teacher’, ‘I am a good mother’, or ‘I am a beloved spouse’. When we are merely embarrassed, our status claims are not undermined—or if they are, they are easily recovered. But when we are humiliated, our status claims cannot so easily be recovered because, in this case, our very authority to make status claims has been called into question.
Neel Bierton, MD for Psychology Today

I think the point is to think about the worst thing that can happen from being humiliated. Lose your job? Your reputation? That sucks, but if you're still alive? That's what matters because if you can continue on, you can rise back up, right?

So here's what you do:

Deal with the humiliation. Manage it. Do the right thing, not just the defensive thing.

Do better.

Work harder.

And go out and be brave again. Or just be brave the first time.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Fear holds you back, but it can propel your characters forward. Humiliation of a character raises the stakes and also moves the plot, but it gives the readers something to relate to and someone to cheer for. Don't humiliate people in real life, but go for it in your books.

Dog Tip for Life

Dogs move on.

Shout Out!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.



My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It's scary and one of

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