My show was yesterday and today.
No one knows a lot about what I have been through as a woman, except “Heart” and my family. And this show, was going to show it. When I got on stage yesterday, I knew I was nervous. My legs would not stop shaking. But still I kept calm during my lines and remembered it all. Everyone clapped. I was done! :) We were asked to wear a ribbon symbolizing our experience.
A black ribbon if we identify as someone who supports the assault movement.
A white ribbon if we identify as someone who has a loved one affected by domestic violence.
A teal ribbon if we identify as a sexual assault survivor.
I should have worn them all. But. I stuck with the black and white. I’m brave enough to talk about those two. Not ready for the other one yet. But, I was amused by how many women were wearing the teal ribbon. I realized I was not alone. I came home with a desire to cry my eyes out. I am greeted by my roommate.
“Hey! How was your play? It was good? Good! I wanted to come but I decided I can’t stand to listen to stories about rape.”
Nice. Okay. It’s not all about rape, but alright I will let you slide.
And then she dares to ask, “Is it okay if my boyfriend comes over?”
Is she kidding right now. Can she go one day without seeing him? I am exhausted and need space! This time. I decide to show it.
“Yes” I say raising my eyebrows.
“Are you sure?” she asks.
I shrug “I’m really tired as you can imagine. And I just want to rest.”
I’m thinking she will say they will go to his place, but she says, “Okay we’ll keep it down.”
Good grief. I mutter “great” and go off into my bedroom. She just won’t get it. I shut the door and cry to myself. This was probably the most empowering theater production I was in. And I had to do it all over again…today.
I wake up from a dream about me and “Prince Player”. I’m sweating. Oooo I need to shake it off, now is not the right time.
Today, my brother was coming. My sweet, caring, kind brother. A softie. Will this piece that is practically about our childhood set him free like it did to me? Will it give him a tiny sense of PTSD like it did to me?
I panic. I take a selfie of myself and I text it to my mom, “I dedicate today’s performance to you”. She responds that she is crying tears of joy.
I continue panicking in the balcony for actors, I saw him in the auditorium. Him and his girlfriend. They smiled at me. He had a big bouquet of flowers in his hand and she had a sign that said “We are so proud of you Shahz!”
I lost it. I lost it so bad. My mom and dad could not be here because of there distance from me, but my busy brother and girlfriend came? And they brought me these presents? Oh my god. I asked a few of the castmates for a hug. I was freaking out. I went to the bathroom and cried into toilet paper. And then, it was showtime.
I avoided eye contact with my brother. I stare at the audience. I can’t do this. But wait, I owe a performance to my mom. I owe it to myself. I owe a performance for all the women affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. I realize the stage isn’t going anywhere, and I go for it.
I gave. The best performance. I have ever given!
My brother was smiling. And in the end of the play, when we all bowed, he was smiling again with his girlfriend holding the “We are so proud of you Shahz!” sign. God I was going to lose it again. And I did.
His flowers sit in a water bottle. I don’t have a vase, no one ever gives me flowers. All the men in my life, were not that nice to me. But this show…has made me so happy to be a woman. And I have finally realized, I am just fine without a man in my life :)