I dreamed of Kali. I know she has come to teach me something. Black skin all shiny with sweat, long black hair all tangled and snaky, nearly naked, a necklace of skulls, holding two long sharp knives, snarling, wild, joyful, blood all around. She terrifies me. She fascinates me.

What is she teaching me? I feel the edge of her power, her blackness, filling my body. I feel my arms holding the long sharp knives. And I see that I gave away my power over and over again, all through my life. I became a nice girl. A good girl. A victim.

I gave away my power to all the people who intimidated me, frightened me, abused me, tormented me, discounted me, dismissed me, groped, grabbed, molested, raped me, all those who twisted my mind, body, thoughts, and emotions to fill their own needs and suit their own purposes, those who insulted me, manipulated me, treated me as less than, judged me, shamed me, all those who derived pleasure from hurting me or forcing me, all those who stole from me (my possessions, my body, my innocence, trust, peace of mind, safety, joy, hope, my truth, my own sense of right and wrong, my own sense of self).

I gave away my power to all the people I wanted to please, all those whose respect or affection or love or approval I wanted or needed. I exiled parts of myself, crushed my feelings, denied my truth, strangled my words, twisted my thoughts, extinguished my light, denied my needs, cut off bits and pieces of myself in order to please, tried to shame or kill the parts of me that were unacceptable.

I gave away my power to the church, forcing myself to swallow doctrines that didn’t make sense, that made me feel sick, accepting customs and beliefs that reinforced my powerlessness. I gave away my power to an idea of God that kept me feeling ashamed, helpless, hopeless, worthless, and guilty, afraid of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, believing the wrong thing, or else…

I gave away my power to all those I envied…those who were beautiful or wealthy or intelligent, who were talented and creative, to all those who had kind and loving families.

I gave away my power to the patriarchy, the culture, the educational system, the political system, the way things are, authorities, laws, customs, to everyone who raised an eyebrow at me.

And now I am taking my power back. I have taken back parts of it before, over these last years. I stopped allowing my mother to abuse me. I left the church, left relationships, left jobs. I stood up to people, said no, started honoring myself, faced my fears, one after another, over and over, more and more and more fears. And now I am looking straight at it, every bit of it, back through my entire lifetime, through all my lifetimes. I am naming it, feeling it in my bones, and Taking. It. Back.


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