Friday, April 15, 2011

Don't give away your power

'There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that.' - Col. Slade, Scent of a Woman

I'm one of those people who collects quotes. Every time I hear or read something that I think is profound, funny or simply relevant, I make a note of it. Only, I do it in my head. And sometimes, there are things that I hear or read that hold so much meaning for me that I take it, laminate it and hang it on my wall (the wall inside my head of course) so I can be reminded of it every day. One of the things that has been hanging on my wall for a long time now is something Dr. Mark Chironna (my favourite preacher) said - 'Don't give away your power'. 

At first, it sounded vague. I mean, why would anyone give away their power voluntarily? Also, what is this power we are talking about? Then, I had my Ohhhhhh moment. Because for a long time, my relationship style was precisely what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say in Eat Pray Love -

'If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.' 

Only, I must  add - If I love you, I will give you a hammer and a chisel so you can chip away all the parts of me that don't fit your description of the ideal woman and shape me into something I was never made to be, till I can barely recognize myself.

So in the few relationships that I've had, I've been many different women. One guy wanted a cut-throat, shark of a career girl who wouldn't take no for an answer. Another one wanted a mythical princess with boobs the size of Russia, wearing a flowing white tunic and waiting quietly by the pool. And another wanted a super-fun, adventurous type who'd be thrilled by the idea of waking up in the jungle and finding creepy crawlies in her underpants. At the end of it all, I discovered that I wasn't any of those women. And worse, I had no clue who I was. If you've ever felt that way, you'd probably agree that it's one of the most emotionally debilitating experiences you can ever be in the middle of. And here's the thing - I felt powerless. Like I had been robbed of my essence - the very thing that makes me, me

I had given away my power. Over and over again. No one took it from me, I gave it to them. Because as I later realized, my essence is my power. It's what makes me more than a smart girl, a funny girl, a talented girl or a beautiful girl. It's that (almost magical) quality that only I have, to give to the world. Anyway, I made sure I turned the boat around in true, fantasy-fiction style and set out to find myself, my essence. It took long enough and the journey was no fun, but I did find it. And these days, I guard it so fiercely, you'd mistake me for Gollum (Click the link!).

So you can imagine how much it bothers me when I see other people falling into the very same trap, doing the same masochistic things. And it's not just in the context of relationships, it happens everywhere - when we give in to peer pressure, when we let something as transient as the current culture decide right and wrong, when we let glam magazines set the definition for 'desirable', when we let Hollywood dictate our value system, we give away our power. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sermonize. But this bugs me so much, I could go on and on. The point being, at some level, we have all given away our power. 

But the good news is, the story never ends when Dumbledore dies or when Harry's wand breaks. It doesn't end when Voldermort gets hold of the elder wand and has the entire world under his power. But it does take the Harry Potter part of you and I (the young-and-in-a-quest-for-the-truth part) to leave it all behind and seemingly give up our very lives (or comfort zones) to get a new lease on life. To find our essence. And reclaim our power. 

And that's why Easter excites me. Because the book didn't end on Good Friday. Because for me, it doesn't just mean there is life after death, but that there is life after every type of death - of my essence, my dreams, my hopes - that I often bring upon myself. And I get to be like the phoenix (used to symbolize Easter), dissolving into ashes one second and coming out of it all the next. It's fascinating - the resilience of the human spirit. 

So, whatever crap you've got your head immersed in right now- self-inflicted or otherwise, I hope you emerge out of it stronger, with your self-worth intact. Because you were built to overcome. Because there's no point in going through crap if you don't live to tell the tale. And because the best way to show the finger to anyone who brings you down, walks over you or tells you you don't have what it takes, is by pulling yourself up and living the best darn life you possibly can.

Don't give away your power. Be phoenix-like. Rise again. 

Have a lovely Easter. 

 PS: I know there's still a whole week, but I'm taking a mini break from the blog. Will be back after Easter Sunday. Take care y'all!   

PPS: I'll be checking the comments though :-| 


  1. Hmm.... I am sure people coming out of a breakup (namely myself) will be able to relate to it. Succinct, I must say.

  2. Are all sermons this good ? Perhaps, I should consider attending a mass...

  3. Now I can positively say I've fallen in love with you.

  4. I guess we've all done this at some point of time or the other- trying to be someone else to prove our love, till we start resenting this creature we've turned into. Thankfully, we wake up just in time. And you're right, nobody asks us to do it, we just do it voluntarily- we give away our power.
    I'm just glad I woke up in time... The power, is definitely in my hand. :)
    And, err..boobs the size of Russia?? Now that's vivid!! :D

  5. Who are you and what have you done to my Judy? :O

  6. very very very lovely...:)

  7. Hi Judy,

    Most of them already said its very different from what you usually write.
    I do find this post very interesting. It is very strong, deep rooted with passion and talks about the power within us.
    The essence of what is in the post brilliant.
    But some words like "crap", "bullshit", literally these words, are diluting the sense of it.

    Would I be stepping the line if I suggested, you write a poem on same topic. I bet it will turnout 10 times brilliant than this post which, let me add, is great.
    Please don't get the idea that I want you to change the way you write, but think of it like writing a corollary to a theorem!

  8. @Anony 1: Yeah, the break-up theme is kind of my forte :D Thanks!

    @RK: Hahaha. Thank you, that's a rich compliment. Unfortunately, most catholic priests (in India at least) don't know how to preach! But I HAVE heard some pretty fantastic ones and they keep me going. The mass of course is sooo much more than just a fab sermon - which is why I still go faithfully.

    @Shamz: And you are positively going to be disillusioned very soon. Then where will I go for my opium?

    @SS: Exactly! It really gets my goat when people make statements such as 'HE used me' and 'SHE screwed me over, THAT's why I'm like this (read total jerk and buffoon when it comes to handling emotions)' I mean, I don't think either of those statements are valid unless someone physically overpowered you, drag you by a rope, tied you to a pole and then did said using and screwing! Gah.
    About the description, I kid you not!

    @Revs: See? Judy is growing up and all :D

    @DG: Thankooo :)

    @Anon 2: Much thanks :)

    @Anon 3: Wow, three anonymous comments today. I wish you would all tell me who you are. But that's okay, at least you left a comment.

    I get what you mean about 'diluting'. However, if those words weren't there, it wouldn't be a signature post. It would read like something out of an actual Chicken Soup book- which one of my posts did get published in. And yes, I had to do some editing. But yeah, that's the thing. It wouldn't be 'me' I guess :)

    And no, you wouldn't be stepping the line at all - go on and suggest all you like! But poems? I'm umm, not much of a poet. I like poems that rhyme in a very kindergarten fashion. I've written a lot like that. I think my first one was dedicated to Jon Bon Jovi - written during Math class :D But I don't want to put those up here and scare away my followers :D

  9. Well written Judy. Applies to the ladies and guys as well. We all make choices, good or bad, and we all suffer/enjoy the consequences. No point in blaming/congratulating anyone but ourselves.

    Still wondering about the Russia size comment.....large cold stalinistic and absolutely corrupt... :)

    My favorite quote: "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue" - Movie Airplane

  10. Hey Judy,

    Iam such a fan of ur blog. I rarely comment (mostly cuz Iam lazy), but look forward to reading it. Today, ur blog is THE most fav read. I like ur sense of humour, ur style of writing and the way u conjure up posts outta simple,everyday things. Also, I feel that am a lot like u, esply what u have said in this post. This has bothered me soooo much. Smtimes I wonder if I have any individuality at all. Most of the time, Iam a reflection of the people Iam with. Though I have always held on to my deep-rooted beliefs, I let people around me mould me. That is why it is so important for me to chose the right people.

  11. Loved this post. Very nicely done. Happy Easter to you and enjoy your break!

  12. loved this post, Judy! very moving and direct. Happy easter to you and ki! see you on the other side of the break.

  13. @CAD: Well allow me to first congratulate you on your very out-of-character, non-hyper comment :D Almost makes sense! :)) And yes, definitely applies to both men and women.

    @PB: Look at that! I remember you used to comment before. So I had to conclude you stopped reading. You lazy, lazy girl! Get off your ass and say something once in a while :)) But you know, the solution isn't about surrounding yourself with the 'right' people. There are no right or wrong people - not most of the time, at least. Even if you surrounded yourself with a bunch of Mother Teresas or Einsteins or Rowlings, you will never really be you - which is sad, because I believe every individual brings something unique to the world and in a way, the world misses out when people refuse to be themselves. So maybe for a while, you should take off and stay away from people altogether! I did that and it helped !

    @Sands: Thank you :) Have a lovely Easter yourself.

    @SAB: Thanks sweets. Moving posts are rare around here. I was afraid this was going to sound preachy. Thank you and Easter wishes from us to you and V :)

  14. Hmmmm.... I am in that place right now where that post helped soothe my soul. Easter Wishes! :)

  15. thanks putin words something i couldnt....but its something i realised sometime back....your words seem to crystalise the thought process and give it definition! keep writing!!

  16. Very nice. Loved the line 'there is life after every type of death '. Profound :-)

  17. @Clueless: I am honestly, so glad to hear that. Hugs.

    @Sonya: Thanks, Sonya. Yes, I think what I have now is clarity. Which is such a relief. And I didn't even know I wanted it! :)

    @S: Thank you :) Never thought I could be profound!

  18. Excellent Judy B! Way to take back your soul. Mine of late has been sucked into the corporate vacuum cleaner but that will change this week, and I will be me again!!!

  19. Hi Judy, I love the way you like. I've been following your posts religiously for a while now. I've bookmarked your blog and I open it first thing in the morning. Sending lots of love to you & Ki.

  20. Very nice post..Dont give away your power..This is something that I have realized in the recent years. You have to do some amount of compromise in every relationship but losing yourself completely is just insane! I know many women lose their power and stay that way their entire life. I am glad that I realized it in my early years and hoping that I dont end up losing my power in the coming years..I am sure your post is going to be helpful for many women out there! Good job :)

  21. Look at me coming here so late! Anyway...this was a very nice post..introspective and all...made me nod my head in old lady fashion..he he...Happy Easter to you and Ki..Mmuah!

  22. @Mark: Oh the corporate vacuum cleaner is the worst offender. It sucks out your life little by little by making a bunch of empty promises and in the end you have all this 'success' and very little else to show for it!

    @Gayathri: Much thanks and welcome here :) Love back from Ki and me :)

    @Aarthi: I know what you mean about realizing it early. I'm not sure if 30 is early given that I know twenty somethings who are so sorted, but boy am I glad I'm not a decade late at least. With that said, better late than never! :)

    @CAD: Haha :)

    @Andy: You are holidaying, darling. You're not supposed to be here at all! :) Thank you. Will keep your Easter wishes for next Sunday. Muah!

  23. Thanks for your reply Judy. This morning I heard someone say that out of 100 things that we do in life we can do 80 things for others, these are the things that do not have any consequence like who will hold the TV remote while watching the TV etc. But there will be those few things that has consequences in life say things like whether we be a stay at home mom or working women etc. I think we should be OK to do those 80 things for others so that they do not get into our remaining 20 things. Of course we all know the kinds that are not happy with the 80 things we do, but you know what they will anyway not be happy even if we do all 100 things for them. Just a follow up thought to your post. Keep wring. Hugs :)

  24. Great post Judy.

    I recently read a quote (feel free to add to your collection) "Stop trying to be like someone else. It is a waste of the person you are."

    I had never thought discovering yourself and constantly reminding yourself of who you are would be so difficult..a constant battle between heart and mind.

  25. Just the thing I needed today. Thank you!!! Will surely miss you when you are gone!

  26. @Gayathri: Nice thought :)

    @Akhil: I suppose it's not as difficult for some people. But the rest of us need a kick or two up our rears before we see the light, I guess :)

  27. Hi Judy,

    Have been following your bglo since the BS Bar and love your writing. But this post...Wow...I feel like you spoke to me...thank you :)

  28. @Dee: Well thank you for finally de-lurking then! :) Glad it spoke to you. Hope to see you again in the comments section!

  29. I was thinking why I liked that Russia comment so much. I hadn't looked at the name of the person who posted it. I should have known. CAD is his usual completely insane but pithy self. :) CAD, I simply loved that Russia comment. So much substance in a single statement. :)

    Judy, as for the post, I think it's one helluva post. For the record, this is my theory for myself. I think I didn't have anyone wooing me at the time girls are normally wooed, for the very reason that I had too much of a mind of my own. However, am glad to say that I dont regret it now at all. At the time, I was as depressed as a wet sponge for I was not appealing to any guy I took a fancy to. :)

  30. Hey....forgot to add that Col. Slade's quote is simply fantabulous. I can't think of a more hard-hitting way of putting it.

  31. forget easter! i'm going to read this every time i feel like i'm losing my essence. in fact firstly, i need rediscover my essence, because over the years i have let a lot of people walk all over me... anyway thanks for this lil insight. :) a friend of mine told me to read this... so thanks to him too.

  32. Just the kind of message that I needed and that too at a time when I am actually going through the whole process of discovering my essence. I know I am reading this post and commenting like 2 whole years after its been written, but then I just happened to read it now but am happy I read it atleast now....
    Thanks to your book I googled your name and found this wonderful piece and I am really thankful for breaking away from my previous relationSHIT now, I had changed myself so much for a jerk that it took ages for me to actually figure it out.....


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