No One Has Power Over You
‘No one has power over you,’ I said to my sister, whose portrait you’re looking at. She herself wasn’t looking when I caught her unaware of her power.
‘No one has power over you,’ I say loudly once in a while to others too, when I go between revolutions. My revolution for women is small-scale. But from the perspective of the universe it’s big. Let me say that again: My revolution for women is big. I said to a woman today, what I said to another yesterday, and what I will also say tomorrow. It happens that I like a good continuum.
‘No one has power over you.’ No one can dictate: ‘You’re mine.’ Not even when you share your children. No one has power over your power: to have children, to sacrifice your freedom, to sacrifice your piece of mind, your nights, and your future loves. It takes real power to sacrifice so much.
‘No one has power over your courage.’ It takes courage to have children. It takes courage to be smart, if you’re a woman. It takes courage to be beautiful, if you’re a woman. It takes courage to refute insults, especially the insults that mistake your womanhood for what you are not. It takes courage to whisper in a voice that’s slightly bigger than the small voice that the patriarchy allows a woman: ‘I’m a woman.’ Try saying that again, louder: ‘I’m a woman’. How does it feel on your tongue? Is it burning yet? Good, because this feeling is the same feeling as the one you were feeling in your past lives, when they burnt you at the stake for a hell of a lot less, for much less than saying, in a slightly louder voice than what’s allowed: ‘I’m a woman.’
. . .
Now try this one in the first person: ‘No one has power over me.’ No one has power over my creations – and that includes my children, the born ones and the aborted ones. ‘No one has power over my strength’ – I can say that louder, so you’re convinced. ‘No one has power over my listening to other crazy women’ – women who create enchantments for me that will make others fly off the handle. ‘No one has power over my emails’ – and whom I choose to send them too. And if I should send them perfumed, and stamped with the reddest of my lipsticks, then let that be my business.
‘No one has power over my transactions.’ Let not Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and Fouquet decide when I’m the whore and when I’m the Madonna. I do not like divisions. I let others be concerned with divisions, go to war in the name of divisions, and propagate the delusion that because there’s division, I belong to someone other than myself. I do not.
‘No one has power over my freedom.’ And you know why I’m free? Because I’m here now, with my head in this incense that some sacrificing women in Tibet have created with their souls, for my enjoyment. I’m free because I’m here now, with my head in the magical words I’m weaving, whose sole purpose is to create spells for all those who think that they need to believe in something, like the idea that if you can’t belong to yourself and your own power, then you must belong to someone else and their power. I’m free because my witchcraft is invested in liberating whole empires of senses. I’m free because I’m completely besides myself.
‘No one has power over my coffee’ – or my walks with my dog, my work, my domestic chores, and my metaphysics. No one has power over my decision to take this pine tree needle and poke someone’s eyes with, so they can see the obvious. The obvious is that women exist. The obvious is that if women decide that no one has power over them, then that decision is sacred.
. . .
I name thee a woman of power. Start acting like a woman of power. You want to keep a journal? Call it The Journey of the Amnesiac. Develop amnesia. Let your pen delete and erase hundreds of years of dictations, hundreds of years of hierarchy, when most of the time, if not all of the time, you were nothing.
Start mirroring this nothingness. See where now leaves you. How do you feel about it? Isn’t it liberating? To not belong, to not expect to be loved, to not desire to be liked, to not fear you’re not like someone else featured artificially on the cover of some magazine that you don’t run, to not wait for the funny question to pop, you know, the question that has you running down some isle that’s not yours. How do you feel about now, not about yourself, or some other schmuck you want to please, but now?
. . .
‘No one has power over you.’ Get that through your bones. Taste the marrow and marvel at your life. Hail the stars, their light, and their heat. Hail this light and this heat in your eyes. Hail the thousand suns in the sky. Hail their power in your power. Hail you, and hail the place you’re standing in right now, the place that’s lucky enough to have your feet treading on it.
The wounds in your feet are still open.
Let the earth heal you.
© Camelia Elias