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The Necessity of Power

The Necessity of Power

A Sidenote to Part 3 of my Coming Out Story 

By Josh Beaudoin 

As infants, we emerge curious about the world. We have no sense of where boundaries are, and as we explore, our parents show us where they are so we can operate freely within them. Our parents have almost complete power over us. As we mature, we take that power for ourselves, becoming free agents. The paradigm shifts, and now it’s us whose job it is to show our parents when a line has been crossed in their exploration of our personal lives. 

As I progressed through my teen years, and eventually left for university, my parents understood, in part, this shifting power dynamic. They gradually gave me more freedom and expanded the confines in which I operated. However, I was still their little boy, and because of that they felt like they had a claim on my agency and what went on in my personal life.  

A big event that helped set this relationship in proper order was when my parents found out I was bisexual (see part 3 of my coming out story). For the first time that I can remember, I was the one drawing the line. They hadn’t just toyed with the line, they had attempted (if only unwittingly) to destroy it.  

In our conversations following the event, I outlined in no uncertain terms how exactly they had crossed the line, why it was such an egregious offence, and railed at them like I had never done before. All my anger was channeled into this single event.  

It was empowering standing up for myself to them; to become someone they don’t want to mess with. I’ve generally tended to avoid conflict and have been nervous to confront people when they cross a line, but this showed me what’s possible when you’re able to call people out for a transgression, especially one so serious, and it helped me identify the kind of person I want to be.  

The Bible says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). The clinical psychologist and intellectual Jordan Peterson proposes that this verse is talking about people who have sharp swords (a weapon), but know when to keep them sheathed. In other words, the Bible is talking about, according to Peterson, people who have the ability and potential to be dangerous, but know how to control their dark side. [1] 

This event with my parents proved to be an excellent opportunity to explore my dark side and to see its power. They were shaken, particularly my mom, and in the months following, she tip towed very lightly around the subject as she tried to navigate within this new reality where I had the ability to determine where the lines were. She had lost much of her power over me, and now she was the one delicately exploring her new world, trying to find the boundaries. There were times when we’d be in conversation and she’d express discomfort about not feeling like she could say something because it might cross a line, and needing me to assure her that it wouldn’t. 

After shoving me out of the closet, my parents got a sense of how sharp my sword could be, and that there’d be hell to pay if she crossed a line like that again. This was a wake-up call for me, as I had to grapple with my newfound power. At first, I didn’t think I wanted it, but have since changed my mind.  

See Also

Power can be a useful tool if used responsibly and can work as an excellent deterrent to dissuade those who might cause harm. I want to be a person who is known to have a sharp sword—someone who people know can rain down fire and brimstone if pushed past my limits, but who has the wherewithal to act with love and compassion, and to use my sword only when absolutely necessary.  

One of the motives behind every choice I’ve made throughout my coming out journey has been reclaiming the power that was taken from me. Growing up I was taught to be ashamed and fearful of my sexuality. I allowed my fear of people’s judgments to inhibit who I could be. Not anymore! 

References 

1. Investigate Your Dark Side To Take Control Over Your Life | Robert Greene & Jordan Peterson. (2022, March 21). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgFX-ZsOscc 

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