I thought a bunch of grown women would bash men, share graphic sexual experiences, and pull audience members on stage where they would shout ‘vagina’ until their faces were rosy with embarrassment. I thought I might cringe the entire way through. I thought, ‘If I just go once, I can say I saw it and never go again.’
That’s what I thought when I sat down in a chilled, dimly lit auditorium at Winona State University as a timid 21-year-old about to see The Vagina Monologues.
I may have skipped the opportunity all together had my friend Brian not convinced my roommate Lindsay and I to attend. “I’ll be dressed up as a vagina!” he said. He was.
I took my seat with a free vagina sucker he handed out in hand thinking, “What did I get myself into?”
A rollercoaster of emotions, that’s what. One woman shared a liberating story about pubic hair, another an entertaining story about visiting the gynecologist. One woman shared a disturbing story about rape, another a vivid, poetic account of her granddaughter’s birth. There was no male bashing. No graphic, pornographic accounts of sex. No one pulled me on stage.
Fast-forward seven years, I volunteer myself to stand on stage.
“What did I get myself into?” I think as I open the script and skim through my story – a monologue about a woman who is afraid of ‘down there.’
“Read through your parts and we’ll meet again in a couple weeks,” smiled Danielle Warecki of HELP of Door County.
The first time I read the piece, I giggle. “Oh my, god. I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
The second time I read the piece, tears spring to my eyes. I focus on the woman whose story I’m sharing, on her fear, on her shame and on the simple act of one ordinary man that offers redemption.
I watch the writer of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, read my monologue on YouTube and feel great pride. I’m participating in a historic play, a play presented throughout the world since its 1996 debut in New York City, a play that launched V-Day, a global movement that has raised more than $75 million for women’s anti-violence groups through benefits of The Vagina Monologues.
On Feb. 28 at 7 pm, I join nine other brave, beautiful women of all ages, of different experiences and backgrounds, on the Door Community Auditorium stage in benefit of HELP of Door County, a nonprofit that strives to eliminate domestic abuse, an advocate for social change.
“What did I get myself into?”
A great opportunity to spread knowledge, spark conversation, offer a liberating, understanding voice, and raise a few dollars to support an organization that seeks to better the lives of Door County community members.
I encourage you to come, even if you come with that attitude that The Vagina Monologues are a big deal and if you go once, you can say you went and never go again. Or you just might find yourself on stage talking about vaginas a few years later.
Door Community Auditorium in Fish Creek will host The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 28 at 7 pm. Free will donations are encouraged to benefit HELP of Door County.
For more information visit dcauditorium.com or helpofdoorcounty.org.