Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Thriving Monologue

*Trigger Warning: sexual abuse, PTSD, flashback description*

I was cozy there, in my dark little spot of service backstage. I could still see the bright lights from the slit in the curtain. I could hear applause. I could help keep it on track, calm nerves, run for food. straighten tight’s seams and hair pieces.

But those days have passed.

It’s time to figure out how I fit in the Theater world I love so much. This weekend I stepped into those bright lights.

It was an Audition Call for the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. I’d heard about the play and a preconceived idea. Purity Culture and Evangelicalism didn’t talk about Vagina’s. That was Feminism. If it wasn't Feminism, then it was glorifying Victimhood.

Anyway, I knew what a Vagina was. I learned about it in elementary school. They had a special after school assembly for Mothers and Daughters in Fourth Grade. We watched a movie and they gave me a book to read.

But Summer shifted my life paradigm.

This fall, I had a monster flashback after watching Daniel Sloss’ X comedy special on HBO. I loved the it and thought I was fine...

Until the next morning.

After a night filled with terror dreams, I woke up to what was happening. I checked through my list of questions before I give into the Simmering Flashback:

I had a person close to help me.

I realized the flashback’s agenda.


For the first time I could hear a resolution to the trauma.

So, I let it go.

The Daniel Sloss Special triggered small common threads from every negative experience I had over my lifetime. Tied them all together and plugged them in. As if I was standing in a media room with 20 televisions turned on and each volume was at 11.

The focus of this cacophony: My Vagina never belonged to me.

Each channel played a different owner:

Meanwhile, I could hear this scene from the Netflix show Sex Education, in faint background muzak, “It’s my Vagina.”

Those words gently repeated over and over. As I relaxed, focused on my breath, the smell of the sheets, the birds outside, the tears running down my face. That concert of trauma began to quiet while a chorus of women’s voices grew, 

“It’s my Vagina.”

I waited until all I could hear was those gentle words. 

Anxiety released my muscles. I was held for a while. I talked about what happened. I felt so light. Each of those memories didn’t hurt anymore. My skin didn’t feel uncomfortable. For the first time I felt at ease within myself, from my head all the way to my toes.

Each day since then, the reflection in the mirror becomes kinder. I almost see what others see, I think. I can sleep, most nights, peacefully.

When I saw the Audition Call for the show. I wondered what else I could learn about myself. What it meant to just be a woman. A Human Being opposed to a Human Doing.

 I was given three parts. I sat quietly in rehearsals and just listened. Absorbed words from women I will never meet spoken by women I just met. No judgment or bias. Free from all assumption. None of those women knew my story, nor did I have to explain it.

All I had to do was be in the room.

I felt warm and nurtured, a healing balm added to what started so many months ago. My body really belongs to me. I am more than my Vagina, yet at the same time, my Vagina is what makes me a woman.

I walked away from the three shows filled with gratitude. The history, the story, the process is a continuing life work. Not only have I been a victim. I have moved through the process of Healing, to Surviving, and into Thriving.

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