Today I took back my power and reclaimed my soul. Yes. That.
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
For a long time, I gave away my power. I allowed what others felt to define me, to control me, and often, to break me. It was through patient and long work with my eating disorders psychiatrist that I have been able to regain my power.
Then, for the past few weeks, I allowed it to slip away. Again I defined myself not by my values and morals, but by what other people have thought of me. And I started to slip into depression. I struggled to eat. Things were starting to look hopeless again.
I am better than that.
I have been thinking a lot of about power and what it does to people. Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, illustrates two sides of power: the power of the state and the power of individuals. The white-minority South African government held power for a long time. Or did they? The African National Congress was founded in 1912. In spite of the South African government's brutal attempts to crush AFC, the organization flourished. ANC during the apartheid era was a multiracial organization dedicated to a democratic society. The ANC started out by using non-violent protest to bring about change in South Africa, but soon felt forced to become more militant. Do I agree with this? Not necessarily, but I certainly can understand that when non-violent protest is continuously met by brutality, it might change things somewhat.
South Africa of the apartheid era is a prime example of corrupt power. The government brutally crushed out all forms of dissident opinion. One of the most effective means was through the use of banning. I was horrified to read about this form of punishment. Imagine not being able to meet with more than one person; not being able to even attend your own child's birthday party? Those who were banned were often not told of the reason, and the ban could be reinstated indefinitely.
Mandela could have become bitter. He certainly had reason to. But instead, he reached out and worked to effect change in his country.
That is grace. And there is power in such grace.
I have learned much from reading Mandela's words. It is hard not to be angry about the lost years and opportunities caused by having anorexia. But I refuse to be angry. Instead, I have taken back my power by learning from what happened.
That is growth. There is power in growth.
There are different types of power. The power outside oneself, and the power within.
Today I took back my power. I am free.