Each year, a diverse group of women from the Boston area gather to perform in The Boston Community Production of The Vagina Monologues. The show is comprised of monologues based on real women's stories and aims to raise awareness to end the violence against women.
Each day until our production on February 13th and 14th, we aim to share the real voices of women in our own community. In order to do this, we will share an original work from one of our cast members. We invite you over the next week to hear the voices and stories of our cast members. We invite you to read their experiences, listen to their voices and share their stories.
Our first post is from 2015 cast member and Vagina Warrior, Kayla (@missrecognized)—poet, youth advocate and black feminist—was born and raised in Mattapan, MA. Her most recent accomplishment is graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She aspires to promote anti-oppression practices in youth-centered spaces.
As a girl, I learned to disparage my gifts, talents and accomplishments to soothe others’ egos. It was easier to fit in this way… If I concealed my power, rather than wear it on my sleeve, no one would jump at the opportunity to take it from me. I could be invisible.
As a woman, I am constantly encouraged to remain invisible. Showing too much skin, or asserting an opinion too often or too loudly are all acts of deviance as long as I perform them in this body.
I rise for unchallenged visibility.
I rise for a world that isn’t easier to navigate when I’m invisible.
I rise to reveal my power because I deserve to shine.
I rise to affirm that it is OK to have an opinion or to be angry while black and woman.
As a girl, I learned to be afraid. My body is ever a site of impending danger.
As a woman, I am still afraid.
I rise for peace of mind.
I rise to rest.
As a girl, I observed that pleasure was something to be given, not taken. (And that there was no grey area between give and take. You either took or you lost.) One day, I would have sex and someone would take my virginity—a precious part of me that I could never get back.
As a young woman, I entered into relationships with young men, sometimes stumbling into bed, always struggling to identify which parts of myself I got to keep and which I had to give away.
Today, I’m what some may consider “too open” about masturbation! Still, I am never unaware of my own anxiety—remnants of guilt and shame—each time I bring myself to speak about it.
I rise for pleasure.
I rise for the chance to share the best parts of myself with a life partner and keep them—all at the same time!
I rise for love.
As a girl, I learned. I did not create my own ideas of what it means to be a woman. In fact, I still struggle to do this today. No, I was taught to be silent, to be invisible and to be property.
I rise for self-determination.
I rise to change the way we teach our girls.
I rise because I am still unlearning.