I told you before about power and canoes, but I don’t want you to think that I learned everything about sharing power that trip because I certainly didn’t. Riding around with Mary on her scooter this Sunday evening, I was reminded how often I have to stop pretending I have any control over a given situation.
“Jill Malone, why are your feet down? I can hear them scraping the pavement.”
“I don’t want us to tip over.”
“We won’t if you pick up your feet.”
“Mar, there’s a stop sign ahead.”
“Yes, I see it. And don’t lean.” A moment later. “Jill Malone, don’t lean!”
No doubt it’s nice to be the person in front with the steering and the brakes. And it’s more than a little nerve-wracking to be the one in the back who can’t even see what’s coming, but, eventually, I found that there’s a lot of freedom in not worrying about it. I got to kick back, admire the neighborhoods we scooted through, and wave to all the people out enjoying this same gorgeous day. I got to use Mary as a windbreak when the warmth of the day began to fail. I got to admire her skill. She’s freaking awesome tooling around on the scooter, negotiating the gears, the hills, the careless drivers.
That’s one of the vital things about noticing other people’s power. You get to admire their skills. Acknowledge that you trust them. You trust them because they’re so good with their power that you can just lean back and relax. You can rest and recuperate. That’s the secret to enjoying my life. My partner does her best work, and I do mine, and we Venn Diagram our power to make the most of our resources.
I didn’t know this when I was younger. I loved people before I trusted them. When that’s the case, negotiating power leads to wrecks and fires and annihilation. Sometimes I’m a woman in the scene and sometimes I’m the hero. It’s important that I’m both, and that I’m both with integrity.