Spectrum of Consistency


Power is an interesting concept. As a child and adolescent, I recognized it as something fatalistic; an egoic way of being. If your life were directed towards gaining power, then you were likely on the wrong path. I understood power in relation to anger. Both of them must coincide, I assumed, mostly because that’s the way I saw it play out in my own home. Power was inflated with money and anger. Power instills fear in others. In the spectrum of a black and white world, power is the most negative of them all.

As I grew, I found myself battling others in a way that I refused to let them have power over me. I was a variation between a pushover and someone who was obstinate. I became better and better at catching someone when they were trying to take advantage of me. In the same respect, I put myself down every time I let it slide and forgave them without even acknowledging the matter of fact. In some cases, I find that I really was getting better at recognizing the parasites I allowed into my life. In other cases, I was only inflating my triggers.

I was an extremist – either letting people walk all over me or cutting them out cold. There was no room for compromise. In my world, there was no reason for it to exist at all. I like giving everything I have to the people I love, but I found that I often attracted those who simply liked to take. So my theory of power, therefore, was proven time and time again.

In psychology, this sort of behaviour is theorized as the confirmation bias – aka, as the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of your existing beliefs or theories. I was looking for these people, attracting them, for the sole purpose of remaining consistent in my belief.

These people in my life were power-hungry, I imagined. That must be the case. And I, aloof, ignorant, and not nearly as self-aware as I am today, can only continue to get caught in their web. There are only two types of people in the world: Those who want power, and those who want freedom. I, of course, fell on the latter. That’s the way I understood things to be. It was easy, simple, and black and white. But now I understand that it’s also not true.

I think I reached a point where I was willing to be more openminded with what power can actually mean. And from there, I learned that power has its own spectrum and that spectrum is dependant on intentionality. The truth is, there is nothing simple about what this word really means and similar to success, it can vary from person to person, depending on their beliefs and experience in the world. But in general, I think of power as the ability to have an effect on others whether that’s on a small or large scale.

If that’s true, then where power is rooted from is really who you are, because as we all know, our energy transfers and connects. Our effect on others, therefore, is contingent on our relationship with ourselves. Funny how everything always trickles down to this.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we have an effect on every person we meet, and even those we just walk next to on the street. We have an effect on our friends, our family, our partners, our neighbours, our co-workers, our clients. That is power. How we use that, and what we use it for, well, that’s dependant on our own nature. It’s easy to presume a negative connotation of power, but it’s like the sun. It can give you nutrients. It can shine a light on your day. It has been proven to have a huge effect on your mood. But then again, it can also burn you. It can blind your eyes. It can do a lot of damage. But experiencing any of these results doesn’t make us turn to the sun and instill some sort of persona upon it. It just is what it is. Not good or bad, but whatever you make of it.

Another example being money – something many of us, myself included, have had a negative mindset about or maybe still do. But money is just a resource. How you use it is dependant on you.

When I understood ‘power’ in that same manner, it felt like everything shifted for me. For one, I didn’t feel like I had to submit to weakness only to avoid being egotistical. And secondly, I felt this sort of strength within myself to finally find a space to expand. Having this belief system not only meant holding myself back, but it also meant actively suppressing certain parts of myself simply out of fear.

Like Leon Brown once said, “It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.”

My Vacuum Moment

I understand now that I am not a mess, but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often. I say, "For the same reason I laugh so often - because I am paying attention" 
- Glennon Doyle Melton

There’s this thread of distance I’ve been feeling lately. The feeling of being unwanted, like I’m “too much”. Something that clearly sprouted from childhood and still creeps up on me more often than I’d like. Times when I have to remind myself about the reality of the situation. That I am enough. That I am loved. That this is a projection of a distorted reality I’ve created for myself, by myself.

But sometimes, I let myself drown in the feeling. Just to sink into it some more. And then I scream, silently of course because how dare I become so loud that I confirm what I fear the most? How can I even think to claim a space that is far too big to call my own? And this moment – the moment when you decide that you are far too large to fit into this world is what I call my vacuum moment.

It’s the moment where gravity shifts, slow enough that you don’t feel it coming, but loud enough that you can hear the suction begin. It’s the moment when you decide to become smaller and smaller so to squeeze into the size you have decided this world will accept you in. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. You will not cry. You will not scream. You will not make a sound. Instead, you will nod and conform. You will say things like “I am fine,” over and over until it becomes a whistle in your throat. An itch you can’t seem to scratch.

And you know what happens next? You start to disappear. And the scariest part of it all is that you don’t seem to mind. Actually, you might even like it. Because going unnoticed feels safer than being seen. It’s true, isn’t it? That’s what I thought, too. That is until I realized that it wasn’t a vacuum I was suctioning myself into. Something that small and material couldn’t hold me in if it tried.

No, I’m not a dust particle. I’m lava. A vacuum couldn’t sustain me, but a volcano could. We can’t disappear, not for long at least. Trust me, I’ve tried. So many freaking times! When I understood what was happening, only then could I try to manage it. The thing about dormant volcanos is that they pretend like they are inactive. They hide and the lava within them boils. It twists and turns and at any moment, when no one is watching or listening or caring, they will explode. They will erupt and they will destruct. And that was what my reality was looking like.

Quiet. Sinking. Hiding. Erupting. Destructing. Repeat.

The sad part is, you make yourself believe it won’t happen again. That you can continue on with this pattern, and stop at hide. But we weren’t made to disappear. We were made to create, to play, to learn, to laugh, to be in pain, to cry, to love.

It’s been a long time since I found myself back here. That’s the thing about progress. It’s not linear. You find yourself backtracking to an old version of yourself you thought you’ve overcome, only to have to overcome her again. And then you move forward. And then you might backtrack some more. Become, un-become. Become again.

Besides, we’ll have to keep re-learning the same lessons until we face them. As Pema Chodron said, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”