Warning: This post contains profanities (used with creative license of course), for effect and are not intended to offend.
Dear Exhausted, Fed-Up, Tired, Internet Junkie,
Do you ever get to that point when you're so utterly overwhelmed by emotions, whether it's anger or compassion or grief, that you no longer feel the ability to voice them?
I'm taking part in this year's V-Day North production of the Vagina Monologues and seem to be experiencing a hell of a lot of those types of moments. The subject matter right off the bat hits heart: The production is aimed at breaking the silence surrounding rape, battery and violence against women. Every monologue illuminates an injustice and a struggle, great or small, that affects a multitude of people, not just women. One in particular that comes to mind involves a brother trying to protect his sister from dishonoring her family (ie: sleeping with her lover before marriage), providing a social commentary on the honor killings that frequently take place in Eastern countries such as India. The murders are an attempt to eliminate the "shame" that an unchaste daughter would bring upon her family name, but most cases involve rape victims. In Canada, we've seen cases such as the Shafia family come to justice, but this is not the case in the rest of the world.
It is difficult to process one monologue by itself—the pain, the triumph, the social implications—but listening to 18 others can break your heart. However, the heaviness of the context is contrasted by the liveliness of the cast. To be honest I was completely caught off guard when the cast began talking about how vaginas are actually shaped like Penne and vulvas were shaped like shell pasta (while eating shell pasta). Not that I come from a conservative home, but conversations about gentitels don't generally happen on a regular basis. And then the SWEARING. It's funny though, I felt so ashamed and uncomfortable, as though I had done something wrong even though I was not the one who was yelling "fuck" or "Clitoris".
Then I let go. I stopped associating the words with negative feelings, with negative meanings. Why not be proud? Why let words reduce me, belittle me, own me? I'm a writer after all and should know the power associated with words.
This afternoon I came home, feeling deeply saddened after rehearsal.
So I swore and I swore and I swore and I swore.