i’ve handed over, now i’m taking back

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over at her place, my darling julie daley asks: “I wonder, when did I put someone else in charge of me? When did I give someone else the key to my feral self, my wild unfettered creativity? When did I hand over the rights of my body, my soul, my power?”

if i had a nickel for every time i’ve asked myself that question . . .

i’ve handed over my body, my soul, my power in a million ways – some small and insidious, some of epic proportions. i once handed over my body (that’s one of the epic proportion episodes i mention), and that handing over saved my life. it saved it and it wrecked it. if you know what i mean.

and once i handed over my soul. at least that’s what being in an abusive relationships felt like, even though i was too young know it was such a dangerous, soul-sucking place until i’d been isolated and brainwashed and threatened into a mute paralysis. it was a long time ago, but there’s still sticky residue in the deep, dark crevices. some things you just don’t forget. for example, on occasion i can still see his lips curled back over his teeth and hear him hissing things like “you are the ugliest, stupidest girl i know.” and “if you break up with me, who on earth do you think will date you?” just your every day run-of-the-mill confidence-building terms of endearment – at least from guys like him – punctuated with the occasional slap or punch.

and my power? oh my goodness. how many times, in how many ways have i handed over my power? there’s simply not enough bandwidth to do this question justice. from being reprimanded for asking too many questions and consequently ceasing to question, to being scolded for getting too uppity and consequently becoming fluent in making my ideas become somebody else’s ideas so they would be accepted. the ideas, i mean.

julie also mentions that i have authority issues. (she knows me well). i do have authority issues, and it’s something i own flat-out and without apology. it’s big, and so we’ll come back to that later.

what i’m working on right now is finding the balancing – placing the fulcrum, if you will. on one side is accepting the fact that things happened to me without my consent. on the other side is acknowledging and accepting that i was too young and not strong enough to prevent, change, or avoid them.

for the longest time, i shoved all these things onto the highest shelf in my closet and like miz scarlett, stuffed my fingers in my ears and sang “fiddle-dee-dee.” but now i’m dusting them off, weaving them into the cloth that is my life, and taking back my power. all of it. in all it’s “nature that is wild, unfettered, feral, and unpredictability.” (yep, julie daley again)

and how am i doing that?

what’s really working for me is making time in my daylight hours for writing, stitching, and walking – doing these important creative things without great fanfare or apologizing because something else has to wait for my attention.

and

no longer allowing other people to measure my worth. (in other words, i’ve finally left junior high.)

and, most importantly of all:

asking this one simple question: “what would the feminine jeanne do?” there are parts of me that have been obviously waiting to hear those words because without exception, once the question is asked, the answers come immediately, succinctly, and assuredly.

and they always make me smile in their simplicity and rightness.

6 Comments

  1. Teresa

    Sometimes when I read your posts, it’s like my heart break wide open and I just want to wrap my arms around you and have a little girly hug time. It’s too far away to do real time, so I’m sending some special butterflies your way.
    Mwah!
    ~T!

  2. Fran

    I completely understand where you are. I think we all go through periods where we decide to just push forward and BE. Be who we really and truly are inside. It takes a ton of work to get there, but it’s so rewarding!

  3. Julie Daley

    jeanne, there’s so much life here in these words. so much feeling and juice. btw, i didn’t say YOU have authority issues, i said you call them ‘authority issues’, and that I have them. remember that call we had, where you shared that with me? it was a beauty of a call. thanks for showing up real. of course the feminine jeanne is there. she’s got it nailed.
    love,
    j

  4. Mrsmediocrity

    I’m so glad, that you’re smiling…glad that you’re asking the right questions.

  5. Anonymous

    I can feel all of it through your words – the giving away and the taking back. So powerful Jeanne. You are a force – a beautiful, feminine, Southern force.

  6. Sally G.

    The power in your ‘simple’ practice (what would Feminine Jeanne do?) took my breathe away. I could see this working for me, too. I’m going to try it. Thank you!!

    Thank you Julie, too!

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