The idea of power is a new concept in the psyche of the general Western female .population: inherited from the long line of oppressed and silent XX chromosome comes a discomfort with power and a reluctance towards glory.
I do not much go in for religion or spirituality (although I’m a firm believer in yoga); angels and talismans mean little more to me than pretty objects and yet, the concept of an inherited psychological memory framework is one theory I can get behind. Surely, buried deep within our genetic makeup lingers the torment of our women ancestors and the exquisite fleeting glory that only a moment of power can bring.
The feeling of losing control is my bête noire: not being the sole decider of my fate – be it for good or for ill; not being the captain of my own ship.
I have learned since early years to do things my own way: not always with the best or soundest judgement and sometimes leading to catastrophe, but it was my way. Throughout every relationship there is a balance of power and I relished being the one in charge; the alpha. When power is taken from me, now often with benevolent intent, but previously, many times with malignant ambition, I brawl against it. The internal riots inside my mind when I feel my power shifting like a tectonic plate away from me cannot help but cast my own image with those militant Suffragettes, willing to chain myself to my railings of implacability.
The unfortunate thing about mental ill health – PTSD; BPD; anxiety; depression and chronic cold sweat nightmare disorder (I’m sure that has a proper term) is trying to balance it within a relationship with a man who is both kind and strong, who you know wants only the very best for you and for your marriage and children and life together. But any hint of wresting your power; your self-determination; even your own bad decisions from you – you bristle and fume against them.
Compromise is not something I do well; my brain seems now hardwired into a fixed meander of assumptions and conclusions.
So is it inherited through our mothers’ genes: our innate desire for the power they did not have but craved? Or are we a product of a century and a half of waves of feminism; its imagery and rhetoric. Are we shaped by our own commonplace degradation by the patriarchy (in Ireland, the Catholic Church and its infinite wisdom on sex; virginity and a woman’s place in the home as a production vessel for future farmers and Fianna Fáilers).
How do learn to compromise without undermining our own agency: how do we learn to work with men when history tells us we must fear them – those ubiquitous figureheads of power and symbols of glory?