People Steal Power, Get Over It!

We’ve heard over and over again that no one can steal your power. That within the power dynamics it us who choose to relinquish power to those who wish to steal it. That’s bullshit. Let me explain.

There are times when we are able to stand in our power and hold firm within the knowledge of who we are and what we deserve. When people come in to take that power, we are firm and strong and do not withdraw. We hold our truth and remain within ourselves as strong individuals. Then there are times when the proverbial Big Bad Wolf comes to our door and overpowers us and causes us to feel diminished and we falter. We fall out of our stance as strong people. Yes, there is a measure of permission, but not unlike when our house is burgled it’s not always us giving permission.  

When things go wrong, and we are knocked off our kilter being told that we gave permission is at best wounding and at worst devastating. Like a burglary we can prepare against it. We can install alarms. We can fortify our windows and doors. We can build in protections and lock our valuables in a safe. We can live in fear of another home invasion or robbery, but those of us who have had break in’s don’t want to live in fear of it. When we live in that place of fear we are no longer living, we are existing within the energetic space of violation. That’s not living.

The goal is to live our lives as empowered humans. Humans that love and trust and care for those around us. To better ourselves and those around us. When we are so preoccupied with the idea that what we give out will be mistreated and violated we become stunted and broken. Empowerment and standing within our power is dependant on our ability to care for ourselves and others without that fear.

When we grow we get stronger until one day we realize that that pain did not overtake us or at least not for long. We realized that we are powerful…

I recently invited someone into my life and my home. We worked together and he needed a place to live. I needed a roommate. He moved in and I knew that he was having a difficult time so I allowed him to move in with a very small deposit. The following months he would put off paying bills, ate all of my food, and drank all my coffee.  I was at the beginning of a time of struggle, but since I knew I had a little reserve I dismissed the food and coffee thing. The rent was getting paid. That was the biggest concern.

As my reserves dwindled and the $400.00 energy bills started rolling in I went into survival mode. Signs of his issue with addiction started becoming more visible and not as easy to ignore. I got assistance from an organization for the energy bills, which was a huge deal for me. I’d never, even at the worst, gotten assistance from anyone other than my family and maybe a friend or two. It was always embarrassing. So here I am getting assistance and working as much as I can, sometimes driving an hour away just to pick up a serving shift or a bartending shift because…money. I was doing everything I could to not drown. Meanwhile there was this 40 year old man living in my house, to whom I was becoming caretaker.  

You see, I understand hard times. I was unemployed in Los Angeles for 9 months during the recession and mid-transition. Being chubby and trans in Los Angeles might as well have made me a leper. I wasn’t able to get a simple job as a server, something I’d done for a long time. Being transgender, we’re told by society that we are nothing more than objects and that the only job we’re fit for is sex-work. I was desperate. I tried the prostitution thing. Did I want to? No. Was it easy? NO. Did it last? Absolutely not. Two times was enough to let me know that I could not do it and it wasn’t going to be a viable career path, but that clues me in on what it’s like to do be down and desperate.

As a result, I allowed myself to feel compassion for this man. I’m glad I did. The truth, ultimately,is that he “bit” me. Like a wild dog who is conditioned to fight for his food. He moved out mid-month while I was out taking my dog to the dog park. I only found out when the landlord texted me to say that his rent check bounced. I had to ask my mother for money, not for something that was my responsibility, but for something that someone else did. He stole my power.

Could I have prevented it? Probably. Could I have kicked him out? Absolutely. But I allowed myself to have compassion and care for someone and although I was hurt and out close to a thousand dollars (which is not a small amount to me) I’m glad that I cared. My power was compromised for a time. I was angry, and still am a bit, but through it all I realized that I am much stronger than I ever thought I was. I made it work out somehow. I fought to recover and did so much more quickly than I’d ever done before. I realized that I AM a strong woman and that I can care and be hurt and still have the capacity for compassion and empathy.

That’s the place we are challenged to live. Within that place of compassion and empathy is greater power. You see, when our power is stolen we are down for a time. We wallow in the pain and betrayal. Our choice is to stay in the place of pain or to experience it and move forward. We absolutely should feel those pains. We should touch that pain, but like anything that hurts us we have to go beyond it so that we can become better.

How do we actually become empowered? We become empowered when we are actually able to move beyond the hurt. Learn from it. When we learn from it and realize that it’s not where we want to stay then we’re pushed to grow. When we grow we get stronger until one day we realize that that pain did not overtake us or at least not for long. We realized that we are powerful even it it’s just over one situation. Even the direst of situations can cause us to become empowered. The more energetically it impacts our lives in the given moment is how much it can empower us. In fact, the energetic effects of the situation become exponentially amplified towards either disempowerment or empowerment.

I know you’re thinking that that’s ridiculous but think of the energy stealer as a thrower of a snowball. Depending on the density and the force at which it is thrown it can do some serious damage. If that ball starts to roll down a hill after being tossed it will collect more speed and will also collect all that’s in it’s path, growing and expanding. So it is with energy and it’s potential. It can either radically disempower us or radically empower us.

The choice is not in having your power stolen, because it’s going to happen. People are going to be so hurt and wounded by others that they in turn strike out. They steal your power. You have no control over that, but what you do have control of is how you deal with it. Do you stay in the place and begin to lash out at others yourself or do you get up, dust off and get the f’ on with your life? I choose to get up. I choose to be radically empowered.

Dina Nina Martinez

Transgender Writer, Stand Up Comedian, Speaker, Activist. Looking for her bearded lobster and waiting for her bearded clam.