the rest is still unwritten

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pensieve: A Different Kind of V-Day (PG-15)

February 14th, Valentine's Day.

At the mention of this worldwide holiday, we instantly conjure up images of cupids and chocolates, dates and dinners, candlelight and canoodling.

It has been tradition to shower your partners with gifts, affection and extra patience on this day.

At Hamilton College, there were other traditions that are now forever added to my concept of Valentine's Day.

The first, is the Buffergramthe singing telegram delivered to anyone, anywhere at any time on February 14th. Yes, we've been known to disrupt classes and enhance romantic dining hall dates with our incomparable brand of sexy serenading.

And the second, is the annual performance of Eve Ensler's


During my senior year of college, I was invited to perform one of the pieces in front of a live audience. Without hesitation, I accepted. I was given a script of the piece I was to perform and within about thirty seconds of reading it to myself, I was in tears.

Click here to read more about the Vagina Monologues and the V-Day celebration/movement.

The piece I was to recite was written to be performed by three or four Transgendered women, but at the time of my matriculation, as far as I knew, I was the only publicly transgendered member of the Hamilton College community. The responsibility of delivering this piece rested on my shoulders alone.

Without further ado, here is the piece presented in the way I read it.



As part of Eve's work to include the voices of all women who face violence, she interviews a diverse group of transwomen in preparation for creating this piece. this piece was performed for the first time by an all transgendered cast in LA in 2004.

They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy...
Or So They Tried

At five years old
I was putting my baby sister's diapers on.

I saw her vagina.
I wanted one.

I wanted one.

I thought it would grow
I thought I would be open

I ached to belong

I ached to smelllike my mother
her sweet aroma lived in my hair
on my hands, in my skin

I ached to be pretty


I wondered why I was missing my
Bathing suit top at the beach
Why I wasn't dressed like the other girls

I ached to be completed
I ached to belong
To twirl the baton

They assigned me a sex
The day I was born.

It's as random as being adopted
or being assigned a hotel room on the 30th floor.

It has nothing to do with who you are
Or your fear of heights.

But in spite of the apparatus
I was forced to carry around

I always knew I was a girl.

They beat me for it.
They beat me for crying.
They pummeled me for wanting

To touch
To pet
To hug
To help
To hold their hands

For trying to fly in church
   like Sister Batrell
For doing Cartwheels
Crocheting socks
For carrying purses to kindergarten

They kicked the shit out me every day
On my way to school.

In the park
They smashed my
Magic marker painted nails

They punched my lipsticked mouth

They beat the girl
out of my boy.

Or they tried.

So I went underground.

I stopped playing the flute

"Be a man, stand up for yourself
Go punch him back."

I grew a full beard

It was good I was big

I joined the Marines
"Suck it up and drive on."

I became duller.
Sometimes cruel.

Butch it

Butch it

Butch it up.

Always clenched, inaccurate,


I ran away from home
From school
From boot camp.

Ran to Miami
Greenwich Village
Aleutian Islands
New Orleans.

I found gay people
Wilderness lesbians

Got my first hormone shot

Got permission to be myself

To transition
To travel
To immigrate

350 hours of hot needles
I would count the male particles as they died
16 man hairs gone.

The feminine is in your face

I lift my eyebrows more
I'm curious
I ask questions.

And my voice
It's all about resonance
Sing song sing song
Men are monotone and flat
Southern accents are really excellent
Jewish accents really help.
"Hello, my friend"

And my vagina is so much friendlier
I cherish it

It brings me joy

The orgasms come in waves
Before they were jerky

I'm your girl next door

My Lt. Colonel father ended up
Paying for it

My vagina

My mother was worried
what people would think
of her

That she made this happen

Until I came to church
And everyone said you have a beautiful

I got to be soft
I am allowed to listen
I am allowed to touch
I am able to

To receive.

To be in the present tense.

People are so much nicer to me now
I can wake up in the morning
Put my hair in a pony tail

A wrong was righted.

I am right with God.

It's like when you're trying to sleep
And there is a loud car alarm
When I got my vagina, it was like someone
Finally turned it off.

I live now in the female zone
but you know how people feelabout

They don't like it when you come from someplace else.
They don't like it when you mix.

They killed my boyfriend
They beat him insanely as he slept
With a baseball bat

They beat this girl
Out of his head.

They didn't want him
Dating a foreigner

Even though she was pretty
And listened
And was kind.

They didn't want him falling in love
With ambiguity.
They were scared he'd get lost.

They were that terrified of love.


It's ok to breathe now.

That was a whopper right?!

The first time I read it, I got chills.

The night I performed itI broke down. It's hard to explain exactly how I felt.


But eventually,


As I took my seat after delivering the monologue, I scanned the crowd and knew that somehow, the stories of all those transgendered women, my story, had touched other people that night.

The Vagina Monologues are at once touching, entertaining and empowering. These stories give us a glimpse of what it means to be a woman, the heartaches and joys, the struggles and triumphs. Hopefully, these stories inspire us to appreciate women, ourselves, and ultimately one another. It should inspire us to become decent human beings.

I would like to thank Amy Tannenbaum for having the faith and audacity to cast me in the 2010 production of the Vagina Monologues. A thank you also to the amazing women who were part of the cast with me. It's been two years since that day, but I can guarantee that that moment will be in my heart forever.

February 14th. Happy Hearts Day.

Two days ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find a TV commercial, radio jingle, status update or tweet that didn't in some way relate to Valentine's day.

My favorite went something like this:

"Valentine's day is whack. We should have one day when you can really concentrate on your enemies and haters. Because shouldn't we be celebrating love every day?"

I totally agree.

Let EVERY day be V-Day.

Appreciate and respect one another.
Celebrate Love.
Spread the Love.
Live with Love.
Love to Love.

Images are edited, but were mopped from the Hamilton College Spectator.
Photo Credits to my dear friend, Nico Keller Sarmiento
Found the Monologue Script from:


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