Sometimes I am a broadcaster; occasionally a whole network. Holding forth. Dishing it up. Spilling. Sparkling. Droning. That setting is rarely fuelled by confidence but rather by a kind of mania; an adrenaline-fuelled turbo charge and I can practically see the wind in people’s hair as I root them to the spot with the sheer force of my transmit. But I don’t feel powerful, I feel needy and manic and mad. Even when my transmission is a success I know I am giving everything away but making oddly little impact. I am filling silences. I am loud but forgettable unless someone were to say, “Who was that last night? She was kind of a character.”
Other times my setting switches to receive. Because who is consistently extrovert or introvert if they are fully-rounded human beings? We are swayed and knocked, stirred and tickled. It is more unnerving to be around a relentlessly ‘on’ creature than one who authentically responds to their own mood. And so, sometimes I swing towards receive and I want to listen and absorb and hold myself close. Could be I’m intimidated, could be I’m low, could be I’m relaxed, could be I’m knackered.
We all have these settings; the high volume and then the rather more mute, but people’s expectations of us are less adaptable. If the fizzy me is invited to dinner, will the hostess be cross if the still one turns up? Not worrying about what people need from me is the answer. Not activating a setting to elicit a response or inspire approval. That, apparently, is what they mean by holding on to your power.