Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Memory of feeling powerful

I remember getting caught smoking a cigarette on school property the night of a football game.

Come monday Homeroom, I got a slip to go to the office.

I had never been called to the principals office before so I had no idea what to expect.  

I started to sit in one of the chairs by the desk and he cleared his throat and asked me to stand in front of his desk.  I gave him a weird look and did as I was told.  Never ask questions of authority was something ingrained into me from an early early age.

Mr. Principal then asked me to spin in a circle.  As I did he asked if I were a ballerina.  I said no.  He told me all about how I look like a dancer and how my long thin legs would be wonderful in ballet. He had me bend down and pick something up too.  Directing my moves to be more ballerina like.  I was a tomboy.  It took multiple tries for me to perfect the look he was going for.

But I didn't get in trouble.  No detention.  No letter home.  No phone calls to the parents. Ok, so he's a little weird but I didn't get in trouble so who cared?  Not me.  It wasn't like I had to sleep with him.

A few weeks later I got called to the office during homeroom.  I KNEW I had not gotten into any trouble!  I stormed down the hall, went into the office and waited.  I was trying to figure out who was blaming me for what.  Finally I got called back.  

Mr. Principal asked me to close the door again.  This time he was interested in my legs and backside but also wanted to see my abs.  

This became a weekly routine for us.  Some people would say I was a victim in this scenario.  But I felt empowered by it.  It shaped my life in ways I don't think anything else could have with the same results.  I had the power.  And that felt good.

As long as I didn't do anything too too crazy, I pretty much had run of the school.  It was the first time I figured out that I could use sex and my body to gain power.

I practiced feeling powerful with lots of boys and men after that.  


Tom Cloyd MS MA said...

A fascinating, well-written account.

There is a point in the development of a young woman where they do realize they have a kind of power. One can watch this develop, and it's usually first seen in middle school. Some don't really get conscious of it until later. It's a power that enables them to move those around them, especially men.

This power is so different from that which young men go after, and go after it they must, because it has to do with their power to move through the world, and move its objects. It's not inherent; it must be acquired.

All of that is an oversimplification, of course, but there's much truth in it nevertheless.

Dee M. said...

It was a pivotal moment for me because for the first time in my life my body, my sexuality could get ME something instead of only having things taken from me. Adult me understands it was an abuse of power on his part, but at the time I felt in control, there were other things that contributed to that situation and feelings... but mainly it was the first point in my life where I didn't feel victimized. I was using him as much as he used me.

Tom Cloyd MS MA said...

I think your insight into this is wonderful. We ALL need an adequate sense of power in relation to others. It's far less important where it comes from. We just need some kind of near equilibrium. It's fundamental.

In many ways the most fascinating aspect of your story, aside from the clarity of your thinking about it, is that it so well illustrates the potential complexity of human relationships. So often there is more to a story than we get at first glance. It's wise not to miss this, and having seen it not to forget to.

I'm heartened to see your grasp of the situation. A fascinating story, well told.