Re: dominance hierarchies and crossing the line
Ashley, more people like you is exactly what aikido needs. You're passionate, enthusiastic, outspoken, etc.. You express yourself well. Stand up for yourself. You understand that your training and progress is ultimately up to you.
The kicker is, in many cases, that the very hierarchical structure of aikido will tend to attract and retain - and reinforce - more of a conformist mindset, rather than creative freethinkers, explorers, and innovators.
I count you among the latter, and wish you well on your journey.