Many years ago, in my early twenties, a drunk guy hit on me in a pub. He meant no harm. He was hammered. He started by trying to sweet talk me, and in true shy English style, rather than telling him to sod off, I smiled politely but absently and waited for him to pick up on the subtle ‘go away’ signals.
Then suddenly he leant in to kiss me. Without thinking at all, completely instinctively, I reached up and took him by the neck. I wasn’t afraid; I wasn’t angry; I was simply disabusing him of his mistaken idea.
He was astonished, as was his friend, who leapt in, apologising profusely, and hurried him away. My action took everyone by surprise, including me. I got many compliments from my friends for being ‘hardcore’ and ‘badass’. But what I personally felt was a kind of quiet satisfaction, because in that moment I had felt more myself than I had ever done before.
As time went by, I came to find that I felt most myself, most free, when I knew I was in charge. There are moments when I just know I rule. Literally and colloquially. My last boyfriend used to refer to me as his ‘dark and terrible mistress’. My friends used to tease me by quoting Blackadder at me – ‘Who’s queen?’
I’m queen. I rule.
I don’t get to feel myself (ahem) anywhere near as often as I’d like. When there are strangers around, usually other things get in the way: shyness; fear; insecurity. I’m afraid even now just writing this that everyone who reads it will hate me, because we’re not supposed to like being in charge. (Especially if you’re English – we call it being ‘up yourself’.) But when I feel it, I know it’s me. I feel I’ve lived a thousand lives of responsible rulership, benign dictatorship.
When I’m in that state of mind, I know my own power. I feel my own power. It’s not an ego-trip. There’s no megalomania. I just know I rule. It’s secure, relaxed, natural. And other people respond to it too. They listen when I talk. They naturally just do what I tell them. It’s the most extraordinary thing.
i used to think it was a character flaw; that I was just ‘bossy’. As I say, we’re not supposed to like being in charge. It was some time before I understood that every archetype has both flaws and virtues, weaknesses and strengths.
It’s funny, really, the dark and terrible mistress thing, as at that time I didn’t see myself as remotely dark, rather the opposite, I was always scared of the dark side and tended to stay firmly in the world of the fluffy. Perhaps he saw something I hadn’t seen yet. He was an extremely clever, self-possessed man, my ex, and he had just as much nataural ‘power’ as me, but there was no doubt I was queen in that relationship. He was a mixture of grand vizier, indentured fallen angel, and sworn vassal. I wonder what he’d think now if he knew I was starting to peek (ever so tentatively) out of the vanilla closet. He probably wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.
Well, that’s not the post I intended to write at all. I think I’ll stop and start again.