My project has changed into one that is a lot more personal than when I started. I originally I wanted to work with the group that was presenting the Vagina Monologues this year at UMBC. I was drawn to this play after attending it about a year ago. So when the opportunity came up to be a part of it I jumped on it. After researching the origin of the play the vagina monologues I realized that it sparked a fire in me. I have been mentoring and helping young people for many years. This project has made me realized that I was already operating as an activist.
Recently two young ladies came into my life that needed help with their life. I offered one young lady my home because she didn’t have a place to live and the other I stretched forth my hands to her. I promised to be there for her during her dark days and hours. At different times they both talked about the abuse that they had suffered and how it made them feel ugly and dirty.
I started out many years ago inviting young college students to my home during the holidays because many of them were from different countries and they couldn’t afford to go home for the holidays. Well it started with just a few students but over the years it has grown in numbers. They all call me auntie of the nations because they are all from different countries. So I have many nieces and nephews. Some have lived with me and my family at one time or another. Most of them have gone on to become doctors, nurses, accountants, and so on. They have families of their own and their children call me auntie as well. So when I look back at all that I have done and what I have continued to do today and my heart sings out. This project just reminded me that this is a life style and it is not something that’s going to end anytime soon. So in other words I have no end date for my project at this time.
The young ladies today have accomplished a lot since I have met them. They are both beautiful and talented with so much to offer the world. One young lady writes beautiful poetry and the other has started her own business as a beauty consultant. This is really their success story and I am only a part in it. They were broken and had little self esteemed. They both were raped and abused. When I heard their story it literally broke my heart. I wanted to just hold them and pour my love upon them to make the hurt go away. But I knew that it was going to take more than just loving them to help them move on in life. They had to find their voices and they had to find out who they are and who they wanted to be. The first step was learning to heal and forgive themselves, and those who abused them. Forgiving those who they felt failed them was also a part of the healing process. They were both angry with their mother for not being there to protect them from the abuse. They felt somehow responsible for what happen to them. They weren’t allowed to talk about it or felt ashamed that it happened to them. What I came to realized is that there are thousands of females whose voices have been silenced. I am thankful for vagina monologues plays that are being presented all over the world. Because of it many women voices are being heard all over the world. The voices from this play are speaking loud and clear. It supports lots of women groups all over the world. This play is not the answer to what is wrong with how we see or treat victims of abuse but what it does is it brings an awareness to women young and old that its okay to own your vagina, it belongs to you and no one else. No one has the right to it but you.
I believe now that the work that I do, I have been born to do. Some may call it activism but I call it love. Love for people who are hurting and who need to know that they are beautiful and wonderfully made. This will be a lifelong project for me. I started out this semester just looking for a class in women studies and got a rude awakening in activism. The one thing I have learned about activism is it is not someone who is standing on the street corner with a bullhorn screaming about something or another. But what I have learned is that it can be a cause that you have been doing all alone quietly and daily. I am hoping that this will never stop, that I will be able to continue to help lots of other young people in the future.
I will end with this. We are never too young or too old to accomplish our goals in life. Be faithful to yourself and keep your dreams alive.