Brave Inventory: April

Monday, May 4, 2015


And just like that, it's apparently May. What the heck is happening to time? In a mere 19 days, I will be finished with my first year of med school. I will be 25% doctor. That information kind of makes me feel like this:



Alas, we must continue on in our pursuit of cramming ridiculous amounts of knowledge into our brains. A lot of the information we're cramming into our brains this final block is about brains. So very meta. My brain is tired of learning about itself.

ANYWAY.

It's May, which means it's time to recap whether I was brave at all in April, in my quest to live my word of 2015. April was kind of a quiet month, with regards to doing things. At the beginning of the month, Ken and I drove to Long Island, dropped our car at his sister's, and then headed into the city to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, which was amazing! I didn't think that I was going to die on the subway (bonus) and we also tried a new Greek restaurant (which was delicious). I know that to most people, going to a concert isn't an exercise in bravery, but I don't like the crowds at large venues like Madison Square Garden, so the fact that I got through the evening without having a panic attack was pretty spectacular. The only issue came at the end of the night when we had to walk down many flights of stairs with way too many other people, but Ken helped me get through it. Seeing Billy Joel perform was an experience that I'll never forget, and it was great way to spend a date night!

On our way to NYC!
Another moderately brave thing that I did was finally get back to taking a barre class! I hadn't taken a single exercise class since I quit the gym (finally!) so I got myself together and signed up to take a class. I took it at a dance studio where I had previously taken a couple of other classes, but I hadn't taken barre there before. At 9:30 on a rainy Monday morning, I walked in and I was nervous because I am always the least coordinated person in the room and I often have to stop and take a drink or sit and breathe for a few minutes so I don't pass out and die. Much to my dismay, I was the only person in the class! I wanted to turn around and walk out, but Nilsa, the instructor, encouraged me to stay.

I would be lying if I didn't tell you that it was hard. Really hard. In fact, within 15 minutes, I got lightheaded and nauseated and had to sit down because my vision was going in and out and I didn't want to fall on the floor and give myself a concussion. I was so embarrassed! I know that I could have gotten up and walked out, but instead, I stayed and finished working out. By the end, I was covered in sweat, but you know what? Mentally, I felt pretty good! The next two days were hell because my calves were so tight that I could barely walk, but even with that, I plan to go back and take more classes. Maybe not with Nilsa though... she does not mess around!

And then, perhaps the bravest thing I did all month was to be a part of my school's production of The Vagina Monologues. If you haven't read The Vagina Monologues, you should. The author/playwright, Eve Ensler, interviewed over 200 women for the essays, and it has grown into an international movement called V-Day to end violence against women and girls. Every year in February, benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues can be put on without paying a fee for the script. The only requirement is that the proceeds that are raised be donated to an organization that helps prevent violence against women. This year, we got special dispensation to perform the show in April, and together with some of my wonderfully talented classmates (and a professor!) I helped to stage a funny, sad, poignant, inspiring, moving, performance. I was so proud to be a part of it, and to call the women with whom I performed not only classmates and future colleagues, but friends. The monologue that I performed was called My Short Skirt, and it was first performed by Calista Flockhart. I found it to be empowering to perform, and while I neglected to have anyone record my performance of it, there are some great ones on YouTube, if you want to see what it sounds like outloud. Here is the text of the monologue.

***

My short skirt is not an indication
a provocation 
an indication 
that I want it 
or give it 
or that I hook. 
  
My short skirt 
is not begging for it 
it does not want you 
to rip it off me 
or pull it down. 
  
My short skirt 
is not a legal reason 
for raping me 
although it has been before 
it will not hold up 
in the new court. 
  
My short skirt, believe it or not 
has nothing to do with you. 
  
My short skirt 
is about discovering 
the power of my lower calves 
about cool autumn air traveling 
up my inner thighs 
about allowing everything I see 
or pass or feel to live inside. 
  
My short skirt is not proof 
that I am stupid 
or undecided 
or a malleable little girl. 
  
My short skirt is my defiance 
I will not let you make me afraid 
My short skirt is not showing off 
this is who I am 
before you made me cover it 
or tone it down. 
Get used to it. 
  
My short skirt is happiness 
I can feel myself on the ground. 
I am here. I am hot. 
  
My short skirt is a liberation 
flag in the women's army 
I declare these streets, any streets 
my vagina's country. 
  
My short skirt 
is turquoise water 
with swimming colored fish 
a summer festival 
in the starry dark 
a bird calling 
a train arriving in a foreign town 
my short skirt is a wild spin 
a full breath 
a tango dip 
my short skirt is 
initiation 
appreciation 
excitation. 
  
But mainly my short skirt 
and everything under it 
is Mine. 
Mine. 
Mine. 


***

Now, I've been on stage before, but I've never done a monologue, and most of the time when I have been on stage, it's been in silent roles or as a musician. I am used to public speaking and actually really enjoy it, but I still was so nervous. Not only had I memorized my short piece and terrified that I would forget a line and stand up there silently for 5 minutes, but I was wearing a borrowed skirt from another performer, and it was SHORT. The shortest skirt ever. I felt practically naked, but I was wearing it to make a point. I couldn't very well go up there and talk about my short skirt while wearing pants, right? Right.

So I got up there, in my teeny tiny skirt. I performed my monologue. I didn't fall over in my heels or inadvertently flash the audience. I stumbled on one line, but fortunately had had the foresight to bring the script up and stick it on a stool behind me, so I glanced down and found my place and went on with my life. It was pretty awesome... not going to lie. The rest of the women who performed were outrageously good. I laughed, I cried, I cheered. It was nice to bond with some strong, smart, future-doctors and I feel like I deepened a lot of friendships. Also, I learned that I don't look awful in a mini skirt, so there's that. And now, photographic evidence!


Some first year babes

Me, with my two favorite dudes

Ridiculously good-looking future doctors! (And a professor!)
So, there's  my brave for April. We'll see what May has in store. All I know is that this time in 21 days, I'll be free for the summer and trying to figure out what happened to the last 10 months of my life. Weird,

What have you done in your life that's brave, lately? Share it with me in the comments!

6 comments:

  1. So proud of you for getting up there in that skirt!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha, thanks! I think wearing the skirt was more nervewracking than the performance!

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  3. Wow! Getting up in front of a crowd like that is tough. Way to go!


    As for the Barre class, I'll give you another way to go! :) I did an 8 minute leg exercise this week and thought I was going to die after that, so I don't think I'd ever be able to make it through a barre class. haha.

    ReplyDelete

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