Last weekend I attended “Michiana Monologues 2012: A World of Difference” at IU South Bend. Inspired by Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, these are true stories by local women submitted anonymously and read on stage by members of the community. Michiana Monologues is a benefit for local organizations such as SOS, the YWCA, and Planned Parenthood.
If you’ve never been to an event like this before, hearing women tell their stories – sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking – is an incredible experience. Many of the topics addressed in this year’s performance (violence, rape, homosexuality, poverty, choice, work, discrimination, marriage, divorce, motherhood) evoked a strong response from audience members. It’s empowering to speak the truth.
When we discover that we share some common experiences with others (especially when it comes to topics most people are reluctant to talk about), it’s remarkably liberating. It frees us from the weight of that silence. Things we don’t talk about fester. We often feel ashamed of the things we feel we can’t talk about; sharing – being heard and acknowledged – decreases that shame, frees up energy, and allows healing to occur.
In his series Conversations with God (Book 2),Neale Donald Walsch identifies five levels of truth-telling: “First, you tell the truth to yourself about yourself. Then you tell the truth to yourself about another. At the third level, you tell the truth about yourself to another. Then you tell your truth about another to that other. And finally, you tell the truth to everyone about everything.” By that definition, a show like the Monologues encompasses truth-telling on several levels.
The Monologues generally attract a primarily female audience, because they address topics that truly hit home for women. But this show is more than a catalog of the kind of violence we all know exists. It’s truly a celebration of all aspects of the female experience; it’s an opportunity to be a witness, and in doing so, to participate in community and in the healing process.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that “Things like that don’t happen here.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you missed Michiana Monologues at IU South Bend, you still have one more chance to see the show on February 25, 2012, at 7pm in Elkhart at the Historic Roosevelt Center (215 East Indiana Avenue).
Tell your story: Submit a monologue for next year’s show.
Getting Real, by Susan Campbell PhD