The Power

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

March 9, 2022

In the mid-nineties, a young JoAnna starred in her first play. Her elementary school put on a production of The Wizard of Oz. She earned the role of Glinda the Good Witch. This experience changed her life and throughout her middle school and high school years, she was a part of many theatrical experiences ranging from the lighting technician to the lead female role.

Fast Forward

While doing theater is a fantastic experience, it’s also very time-consuming. Starting in my college years, I simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to theater as well as my studies and social life. And as time went on, my career and eventually motherhood kept me from enjoying the experience. While I still love to sing, dance, and speak in funny voices (just ask my children), I simply don’t have the time to dedicate to being involved in theater. But I have found a passion in reading and writing, which fondly engages the right side of my brain.

Then one day, while reading Bessel van der Kolk’s, The Body Keeps the Score, I came across the following quote, “Traumatized people are terrified to feel deeply. They are afraid to experience their emotions, because emotions lead to loss of control. In contrast, theater is about embodying emotions, giving voice to them, becoming rhythmically engaged, taking on and embodying different roles.” And I immediately wondered what influence being involved in theater had on my life. I adored getting lost in my characters. And I felt alive when I was on stage.

Being involved in theater was empowering. And now, I’m able to home in on a similar feeling of empowerment when I insatiably read and cathartically articulate myself in words.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, a day in which I’m reminded of my power and strength. I’ve survived much in this life. And I cannot wait to see what’s next in my life’s journey. At one point yesterday, I thought back to the many former versions of myself. A part of me wishes I could go back in time to let those versions know it was all going to be okay.

But as Glinda the Good Witch reminded the young JoAnna then, in the words she spoke loudly and proudly on the stage of Oak View Elementary School, “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”