What Is Power, Really?

Friday, September 8th, 2017

[I know things get out of order, because I catch up and then I write something more recent. And then it’s a whole thing. But this was a little more to follow up after I wrote about “power dynamics.”


I feel like sometimes people are like, “Well, just take your power! You have all the power always! You just gotta take it!” And I think that’s kind of a simplistic view…

But is it? I guess it depends on how you define power… (Maybe we all do, sort of, have it and/or  can just take it. (Yoink!))

For me, I want to be completely unworried that a semi-connected man is going to try to push me away from my school or my industry. For me, I think in this specific case, power is being able to live the life I want, and was already starting before I met him, freely, uninhibitedly, happily.

For some people, they see my power as just being able to make whatever life choices I want. “You can just move back to California! Cut ties with BMI, call it a loss, and go live your great life in the sun, by the palm trees, in your gorgeous apartment.

And, sure, having a great life choice is, I suppose pretty “powerful,” but to me, in this specific instance (right now, at least), it feels like running away… And I don’t wanna do that.

To other people, they’re like, “March into BMI (or a courtroom or somewhere) and tell them what happened and demand justice.” And/or “anytime sexual assault dude’s name is mentioned, you don’t just politely change the conversation. You tell them exactly what he did, and make him known by name in the circle.”

You could view that as “powerful,” and “unafraid.” But I don’t think “power” just means being blustery and barging into places. You gotta think about your life. Survivors aren’t always supported. Sexual assault guy is kinda popular and liked. Our story is a little confusing and a bit cloudy in certain places. So, while overall I think it’s pretty clear, it’s not necessarily as cut and dry as you need to be to be supported by other people… I’m not saying I will definitely never tell another soul from school of the musical theater community who he is, if it becomes super relevant for some reason (but I’d love if it never did). I’m just saying, running in and screaming what happened (or the normal version of that) doesn’t seem, to me, like the right thing for this situation.


It’s interesting to me how differently people view power. I have often felt very powerless in this situation (which makes sense). And to some extent, power dynamics are somewhat objective. (To use a crazy over-the-top example, Mark Zuckerberg is more powerful than a homeless person in San Francisco.) No matter how we put our own view/spin/perspective on power, to some extent, I think there just are situations that are what they are.

But still, I just thought the idea of there being so many different ways to look at power was sort of intriguing with me. So, I shared it with you!

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?