“She died a famous woman denying
her wounds came from the same source of her power.”
Adrienne Rich, “Power”
Adrienne so beautifully writes about Marie Curie, how the work she pioneered in radiology ultimately led to her demise.
This line has become a source of inspiration for me, one that I keep going back to time after time. I find that the root of my power has gained life from the water of my wounds.
It is easy to want to dispel the wounded parts of myself. Like fresh cuts, I hoped that my trials and tribulations would quickly heal and fade into unnoticeable scars. It had its place in the moment to wake me up, to remind me that I am not immune from pain, to appreciate my wholeness, but then as most people do, I wanted to put those dark parts behind me.
How many times have I wished things to pass too quickly, not realizing that those very moments were building up my source of power? How many times have I disregarded times of difficulty as only negative memories? As annoyances? As the parts of life I wish to skim over?
As the thick of winter approaches, I find myself back in this place of contemplation. For as long as I can remember, winters have held very evocative emotions for me, representing a turn of change within myself within a change in season. The last two winters in particular have coincided with large life changes that primed me to think this winter would offer up the same variety of blues.
Something is different this time, I am different this time. While I am tempted to gear up for battle, I realize I do not need the same layers of protection. Slowly, over time, I have been reshaping my wounds, but not eliminating them. Instead of being ashamed of them, I read them out loud. I let people in. And as I embraced my struggle, they embraced me. Expecting rejection, I found myself reeling. I had let myself go to the worst place, not believing I deserved a full place of acceptance. Having giving others a chance, it turns out the person I was most scared of disappointing and hurting was myself. I held that fear so high on a pedestal that I masked that fear onto others. Meanwhile, they had masks of their own.
I had to do this over and over. This, meaning the uncovering and sharing of my wounds; some which were not wounds at all, but natural and beautiful consequences of growing up and challenging the world. Each time I did this, I fed my roots. A sight unseen, I became stronger.
I interpret Rich’s poem to mean that the source of wounds and power come from the same well. As I dip in to quench my thirst, I do not know what I will draw out. But I do know that I no longer have to categorize hurt and strength into light or dark, as good or bad.
It took both for me to really come alive and fiercely into my own, to find my power.