|You Have No Power Over Me|
This is Day 161 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.
When I first met my husband, he was deep into reading and studying the work of Carlos Castaneda. He talked a lot about "what gives you energy," and paying attention to ways that power is taken away from us, be it a debilitating thought, a bad idea, or an oppressive relationship. My husband taught me a lot about owning my power. He saw me as so beautiful and strong and powerful and smart and funny. It was wonderful to have that mirror in him, when I could rarely ever see those qualities in myself.
|A page from my husband's journal, where he talks about gaining and losing energy.|
I saw the movie Labyrinth at the perfect age. It was 1986, and I was a confused, lost 14-year-old girl, about to start high school. Sarah (played by Jennifer Connelly) is a "selfish" 16-year-old girl who must go on a quest to rescue her stolen baby brother from the Goblin King. She discovers all the ways she is strong and powerful along the way. When she finally faces the Goblin King, they chase each other through an Escher-like labyrinth until she finally turns to face him and says the simple, true words, "You have no power over me." The spell is broken. That moment impacted me so deeply in my teenaged girl heart. It planted a seed and that seed grew into a little plant that whispered my secret mantra to me, over and over and over. Whenever I have faced the darkest demons, in my life — the people and events and feelings that my husband used to say "steals our energy," I would find that strong, sturdy little plant in my heart and find a way to authentically say, "you have no power over me."
Today, I am coming closer to realizing that the sticky, dark trolls that climb into my soul in my darkest hours of grief, have no power over me. I will survive this. I will "gain energy" again. I will be beautiful, strong, powerful, smart and funny again. I already am beautiful, strong, powerful, smart and funny, even if no other lover or boyfriend or partner or companion ever sees that in me again. I have the power now.
I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:
Art with Grief:
- Filmmaker Gemma Green Hope made a short animation in memory of her grandmother
- Photographer Sarah Treanor Takes Moving Self-Portraits to Cope with Her Fiance's Death
- When the Fall Comes, a film about Grief by Adriana Marchione
- Self-Portraits: Expressing Emotion Through Art on What's Your Grief?
- The Hard Romance of Grief by Mark Liebenow
- The poetry of John O’Donohue
- What Joe Biden Has Said About Dealing With Personal Tragedy And Grief
- Death, Grief & Shattered Assumptions
- Stifled Grief: How the West Has It Wrong
- How Grief Can Make You Sick
- What's Your Grief?
- The Grief Geek
- Modern Loss's excellent resource list
- The writings of Tim Lawrence
- The Rules of Grief are for Other People by Shawn Doyle on The Good Men Project
- Grief Bibliography on Grief Healing
- Teresa “TL” Bruce's What to Say When Someone Dies
- They Brought Cookies: For A New Widow, Empathy Eases Death's Pain by Ann Finkbeiner on NPR
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
- Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief
- The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Losses, interviewed by Tim McKee in Sun Magazine
- How to Be a Friend in Deed by Bruce Feiler in the New York Times
- 12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without by Laurie Costanza in Elephant Magazine
Thank you, and see you tomorrow.