Today is day seven of our annual #WhyRise series. We are proud of and inspired by our 2015 Cast of The Boston Community Production of The Vagina Monologues for sharing their experiences and stories as we hope to create open discourse about violence against women.
Because I'm Not a Superhero
When I was seven, I wanted to be a superhero. Capes, tights, secret identity – I wanted the whole thing! I used to sit in my kitchen staring at spoons in an attempt to bend them with only my mind. After the telekinesis phase, I began running around my house on all fours convincing myself I was part tiger. TIGER GIRL! Savior of all the upper-middle class white people in my South Jersey suburb!
In retrospect, that Comic Book would have been awful… But the point is, I wanted to kick ass, defeat bad guys, be the one person out of millions able to make a difference in this world.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that the “Only-I-Can-Save-the-World” mentality is toxic and counterproductive. I do not understand what it is to be anything other than who I am, soI cannot presume to come up with a solution to every injustice. I am a white queer woman who grew up in a well-off household. I have zero clue what it means to be black, transgender, lesbian, gay, Latina, Muslim etc. etc. etc.
I know now that for most of my life, I have been the villain, not the superhero. I have benefitted from the status quo, from the forced silence of the oppressed, from ignorance or my refusal to question the world I live in. I have not been raised to be a part of the solution; I have been raised to be part of the problem.
I am 22 now and still unlearning all the bs I’ve absorbed, still horrifying myself when I realize the depth of my biases. Although this is something I’m not exactly proud to acknowledge, it does make me hopeful. I truly believe that I can only start becoming a part of the solution once I realize that I have been a part of the problem.
That is why I rise. I rise because making a just society isn’t about some misguided self-serving martyr. It isn’t about me. It is about a greater US. We are all connected despite our differences and in that incredible connection, there is life, there is hope, there is love, there is healing.
I rise because I am human. I am one of hundreds, thousands, millions unlearning society’s virulent lessons, living in solidarity, refusing to be a part of the problem, shutting up and listening when we don’t understand, and standing with people across all genders, races, religions to create a just society.