Help Me Celebrate

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.” ~Susan Polis Schutz

Last year at this time, I was embarking on a new chapter in my life… I was joining the ranks of mid-life. I realized that unless I could reach my goal of being a centurion, I would have more years behind me than I had ahead of me.


A birthday gift I gave myself was to complete and publish a book. Doing this was a dream for many years and you could say it was something I was able to cross off my bucket list.

In memory and to celebrate the achievement of a long-held dream, I am going to share with you excerpts from my book Responsibility. I hope you enjoy.

From Chapter 4, “Power: You Have It Within You”

One thing that being a victim has to offer is the illusion of power and strength gained through the rallying of support from other people. We get sympathy, attention, and even encouragement to seek revenge or remain hostile. This form of power is not true power. It is essential that we find our own inner power if we are to break the chains of victimhood. With inner power we will find the strength to live our own lives according to our values, dreams, and passions.

I was definitely confused when it came to power, having no idea that it was inside me. So what did I do? I gave it away over and over and over again. One of the most life-altering ways in which I gave it away was by burying my feelings, making them unimportant and not allowing myself to express them. Unfortunately, I learned to do this at a very young age. Of course, I didn’t know any better at the time, so I remained an innocent victim. However, the consequences were deeply ingrained.

At the age of around seven or eight I was sexually assaulted verbally by a young man while I walked home each day from school. The things he said to me were enough to make me sick to my stomach, and something someone so young should not hear. He demanded that I not tell anyone, or there would be consequences much greater than words. Out of fear I told no one and kept this secret until my fateful volcanic eruption of emotions when my mother died. The point here is that because of that experience I learned to bury my feelings, and with them the inner power they can possess.

I had many more opportunities after that to give my power away to other people through abuse, and it became second nature to me. I became part of the victim chain gang, carrying feelings of low self-worth, looking for anything outside of myself to build me up. Society made it pretty easy, and I was a good catch for the lure of external power that can be found in status, money, physical strength, beauty, possessions, or position. This kind of power was not real and could be lost at any time. Its ability to make me feel better was sporadic and did not last, could not last. Yet I thought it was making me happy and setting me free from the pain of the feelings buried deep within me.

When I lost or chose to lose everything, I was forced to learn what real power is and embark on the journey to finding it within myself. I had to take responsibility for my own healing as a part of this journey. Understanding and acknowledging my feelings was a big part of it, as well as learning to express these feelings in a healthy and loving way.

Real power truly comes from within. It comes from inner strength and who you are as a person, not from what you do, what you own, or the position you hold. Many people use external power to intimidate and control others, but again, it is only an illusion that we have bought in to and have made real in our lives.

People are living their lives like Pinocchio, controlled by society, the beliefs of others, fear, the tabloids, and food, and living their lives like puppets on a string. I was such a puppet, only my strings were chains—the heavy chains that keep victims like me stuck in a life of running around in circles going nowhere, chasing a dream of happiness and peace that is out of reach.

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