I rage about an injustice against me. I am being misrepresented, by someone in power, and I can’t change it. My body is clenched, hands into fists, quaking in my core. I feel whips of flames in my gut, my face, jaw and eyeballs. I want to hit and punch, push and expel the rage from my body, and I want to inflict that onto the person.
I want vengeance. I want them to lose their status, to expose their flaws publicly, and mostly to demolish their smug self-confidence. Because they don’t deserve it, they have not earned it. I hate them with disdain and irritation and deep passion. I toss and turn as I think about them before sleep comes, and when I wake, they are the first thought in my mind.
These emotions worried me – they were wild emotions that I have rarely, if ever, felt. My potential to harm someone scared me. Could I do harm to someone? Yes, I admitted that I could.
Then I turned towards the emotions. ‘Wow… this is rage’.
I accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, welcomed the rage in. I observed where in my body it appeared and the sensations it brought.
It spoke to me like a bellowing fire alarm “Your boundary has been violated. It is unjust. Use your voice.”
There it was. The flames of my rage subside and at its core emerged a simple knowing. I am worth fighting for.
I sleep. Not for long.
I wake up, and my first thought is how am I going to use my voice? Cowering or removing myself is no longer an option – these would dishonor me by dismissing my experience. Another option is to rage publicly, but that doesn’t feel right either.
I speak to an ally, and use my voice to confide in her some details of the situation and my feelings of weakness. “I feel vulnerable”, I said.
She responds, “You are vulnerable”.
And there, in those statements, I understood two dimensions of power.
External power is given through positions which confer control over others. Power of decision making, allocation of resources, deciding rights and limits. People get attached to this type of power and aspire to gain more power over more people.
Internal power draws from a deep well of strength within. It can be accessed only when there is alignment of values, choices, words and actions. The energy from internal power can course through one’s veins and sprout into every action of every day.
In my situation, I am vulnerable because the person in power has the ability to tarnish my reputation and more. But my feeling weak showed a disconnect from my internal sense of power. And this is something I can influence.
I share my story again, and feel vulnerable, but, somehow, okay. Perhaps no matter what I am feeling, if I am authentic, I will be in my power.
While my internal power hasn’t yet changed the external power dynamics, it has allowed me moments of internal peace.
I feel fire again in my belly, but it’s not raging… it’s smoldering hot coals, providing their dutiful protection of my boundaries and my values. This is my power, not a power over others, but a power to be and live authentically as myself.
I will continue to share my story with people I trust, and will gauge over time, if or when to expose it more publicly. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if my vision of vengeance will come true, and I am not expecting, or even hoping, for that.
I only know that I want to be true to myself, to my full experience, and to live in pursuit of justice. And as I aim to do that for/with others facing injustice, I will also do that for myself.