I was scared. I hid “The Vagina Monologues” in my luggage as I secretly ferried it over state lines to my father’s house. I was on spring break and determined to read this script, as embarrassed as my 21 year old self was retrieving it from my university’s library. I wasn’t scared of my father’s reaction to it, but I was hoping to save us that awkward situation.
No, I was scared someone else, a classmate, would see me with this book. It had the word “vagina” on the cover! My university, an almost 80% male population, wasn’t quite so used to such public displays of female empowerment or feminist ideology. Some didn’t see the point. I had rushed from the library hoping fervently no one would deride or belittle
my reading choice. I don’t know if I would have made it out of there if someone had stopped to ask about the book hidden in my arms.
I only read “The Vagina Monologues” when no one was home. Even then, I closed my bedroom door and bustled under my bed covers. I was scared but I did it anyway.
My reaction after I had finished the last monologue was relaxing. I didn’t take a Wonder Woman pose or yell “I am Allison! Hear me!” Instead, I experienced calm. It felt as if someone had placed a puzzle piece in exactly the right spot. It felt like someone had found a tightly closed bud inside my soul and gently coaxed it to open. I had found kinship in the women of
“The Vagina Monologues” and it was so, so very nice to know I was not alone.
One of the greatest effects of truly believing in a cause is the strength you draw from it to deal with everything afterwards. I rise for many reasons.
I rise because fundamental human rights are apparently debatable.
I rise to stand in solidarity with people who believe in equal rights and act like it.
I rise to support all survivors.
That V-Day season, we held our university’s first performance of “The Vagina Monologues”. We raised over $400
for the local women’s and family shelter. It remains one of the best moments of my life.
Fear will stop us unless we continue despite it. We must take that step. Courage appears in many forms. It can be attending “The Vagina Monologues”. It can be sharing your painful story. It can be coordinating
an event for One Billion Rising. It can be standing up for yourself. It can be standing up for others. It is okay if you’re scared. Take that step anyway. Rise with us.
Day three of our Why I Rise blog series is by Allison Cisneros. Allison is currently serving as Boston GLOW's GAPP Program Manager. She is a recent college graduate who moved to Boston last summer and currently works for a local nonprofit. This is her second V-Day season. We invite you to rise with Allison and the Boston community at 5:00 on February 14th in Copley Square in Boston.