Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Vagina Monologues

Recently I read one of the monologues for San Miguel’s tribute to the 25thanniversary of Eve Ensler’s play. Close to two years ago, I’d said ‘no more acting’ after doing Building the Wall. But, like Robert Schenkkan play, The Vagina Monologuesis part of a movement. For some reason, that I’ve yet to figure out, movements attract me these days.
I knew I hadn’t seen the play; thought that I’d read it but realized I hadn’t when I downloaded it on my Kindle I. I liked most of the monologues. Loved the humor—often Ms. Ensler had you laughing while she delivered a punch. Several were sassy—put me in the mind of the Lady in Blue, one of the Colored Girls, in ‘Zake’s (N’tozake Sange’s) play. But only one, “My Short Skirt,” reflected my experience. I’ve loved lots of books and plays that didn’t reflect me. But this was the Vagina Monologues. I wanted to have more commonality.
I had no commonality with the women who hated or were disconnected from their vaginas. I’d always thought mine was a magical place. It started in kindergarten. My nursery school was part of a test group that screened a film on birth designed for five and six year olds. Of course the mother was draped. We did not get a full frontal view of the delivery. It seemed like a magic trick when the doctor displayed the baby. When I got home from school, I examined my vagina. Looked and looked, searching for someplace where a baby could exit. I couldn’t find it. When Mama got home I asked. How does the baby get out?Through the birth canal, she said. It expands when its time for the baby for the leave. It had to be a magical place if it could expand enough to accommodate a baby’s head. 
The only non-magical thing about vaginas was periods. The monthly drip, drip, drip. Kotek, the pad we wore between our legs to catch the drip, anchored by a sanitary belt that never stayed in place. Pads that were hot and stinky in summer. Horrible. Then I discovered tampons. My reaction to them was the direct opposite of the woman in the Angry Vagina monologue. I loved them. They were a thousand times better than Kotek. Okay so the cardboard applicator wasn’t uncomfortable but only for ten seconds. Ten unpleasant seconds to replace a hot, thick, wad of cotton between my legs all day was definitely better. Two years later I discovered OBs—the tampon supposedly designed by a female gynecologist, with a lubricated and no applicator. You had to be intimate with your vagina to use OBs. They were inserted with your finger. And while I was inserting one, I accidently discovered my clitoris. The magic of my vagina increased tenfold.
Eve Ensler’s vagina stories weren’t mine. There’d been abuse in my life, not much and never violent. Wounds festered for a moment, then healed. I’ve learned to count that as one of my blessings. Little drama in that.