I had a girlfriend once who told me I was her Kryptonite, explaining she felt that I took her power away.
That was the first of many red flags.
A few weeks later, I told her I was scared of her. I was sick of thinking I was the problem. I was out.
It's a doozy, isn't it.
Language which implies someone else is responsible for ones actions is actually pretty common amongst those who inflict violence towards others.
Speaking to The Guardian, prison psychiatrist James Gilligan explained that “All violence is an attempt to replace shame with self-esteem… I have yet to see a serious act of violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed or humiliated, disrespected and ridiculed."
Oh the irony.
Here I was struggling with all of those feelings. After all, I was an outspoken person on the issue of violence against women. And here I was, feeling unsafe in a relationship.
After the break up, I bought a ticket to see Beyonce live. If anyone could cheer me up, I thought, it would be HRH, Beysus, telling me to go get mine.
From the moment I walked into the stadium, I was in tears. I cried up the stairs to my seat. I cried in the loo fixing up my make up. I cried during the opening act. I cried as Beysus came on stage. And I sobbed for the next two hours that followed, from Sweet Dreams, to Diva, to Single Ladies to Halo.
It took me travelling to the another side of the world, seeing my heroine to stop trying to hold it all in and letting all those ugly, hurtful, demeaning statements out.
And then, a new feeling came over me.
As I left, I joined thousands of other happy, singing, dancing concert goers, clutching to my Beyonce merchandise, make up in a mess. They were elated.
And now, I was angry.
I was really fucking pissed.
I thought about the years I’d dreamed of seeing Beysus live. I thought about how amazing it was to be in a new city. I thought about all the fucking amazing things that I loved about myself. I thought about the hours I could have been making money, having fun, creating an empire, when instead I was at therapy trying to get my mojo back.
I was so angry, that I vowed never again to let anyone or anything stop me from being the best version of myself. (And should I invoice her for those expensive therapy sessions?)
Earlier this year I was reminded of this story.
I was on a panel about taking a Leap into a career you love with six other kick ass women. An audience member asked: how do you differentiate yourself from any one else out there doing what you’re doing?
I told her that the only thing that differentiates myself from anyone else (aside from white privilege) is confidence.
Confidence that I'm the only one like me.
Confidence which overcame any fear about what to do next (I have no idea, I’m guessing here, too), how to market myself (try anything once, if it fails try something different), how to communicate what you want to do to friends (be honest, say I’m trying something new, appreciate your support while I figure it out).
Confidence starts with action.
As Beyonce would say, "power is not given to you. You have to take it".
So, when you're questioning yourself: find your Kryptonite.
Find something that makes you so incredibly angry; that there is nothing that will stop you from getting what you deserve.
Women are socialised to advocate on the rights of others. Seldom are they encouraged to advocate on the rights of themselves.
Use the Kryptonite, the pain, the anger - and pour that onto the fire. Start that blog. Play around with a website template with a free trial. play around with it. Open your own bank account. Set up your ABN number. Buy a domain name.
And when you've done this - tell one person.
Tell your fur baby to practice saying it out loud if telling another human is all a bit much for now.
If you create action - and share your story with a friend, I can guarantee that you'll find a whole community of bad ass bitches coming to support you at your next event.
There were 70 at my last event, all committed to trying something new.
Why weren't you on the panel, girlfriend?