On day 6 of the 40 day photo project for Lent, the word is “world”. The first image that came to my mind was a vagina. The World – birth, creation, mystery, beauty, and wonder. This is where it all begins.
I remember when giving birth to my daughter the hospital staff had asked if I wanted a mirror so I could watch her come out. I declined thinking that would be the last thing I would want because of all the blood and shit involved in birth. At the last moment though, when she was crowning, I asked the nurse to grab the mirror. She was quick, grabbing it from out of nowhere it seemed and positioning it at the end of the bed. It was amazing.
I raised my body upright, pushing with all I had, staring into the full length mirror. It was like looking at God. Everything was amazing; her head sliding out of my body and the warrior expression on my face. It seemed as though I was bathed in light. I watched her body follow her head and then lay back down exhausted. The vagina, MY vagina – life giving.
A few years later in an effort to become more comfortable with my body I asked a friend who is an incredible artist and priestess to do some very intimate art – to capture my vagina in some kind of visual art piece. She came over with her charcoals and pastels. We began by casting a circle, reading the poem “Radical Femme,” and then she started sketching. The photo above is the result. It feels… powerful… beautiful… holy. I wish all women could connect to the power, beauty, and holiness of their vaginas.
Last week I saw the Vagina Monologues. This is probably the 9th or 10th time I’ve seen this play. Every time I am amazed by the actresses and by the stories. There is still one story that is so close to home for me that I nearly pass out during that portion of the play. I have to put my head down, concentrate on breathing, and remind myself that this isn’t happening right now, that I am safe. No one should have a story like that, too many of us do.
Vaginas – some of us never learn the word until adult hood. I didn’t. In my family it’s considered dirty to say the word vagina. They were shocked when I taught my daughter this word and again later when I taught her labia. I had never HEARD these words until high school. A body part so taboo we cannot even speak its name. Wow, it’s like Lord Voldermort up in here: “The pussy that shall not be named.”
For me, the vagina is holy. It’s a sort of altar and I’ve been fortunate to have had several lovers who worship at that altar with reverence. After all, the vagina is the world.