Around January of 2017, the drama department put on a show called “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” (If you would like to know about the theatre show here is the link: TMLMTBGB). The show was a compilation of skits which one of them were written and directed by me. The piece was a very emotional and personal topic for me, sexual harassment.
Here is a passage from my Drama Journal about the creation of the piece:
I decided that I would like to create my own play. For a while, I had wanted to create art that conveyed my experiences as a victim of sexual harassment to others. It had had a large impact on me and on how I lived my life. As something that is difficult to process I turned to all kinds of art to channel my feelings into as well as spread awareness of sexual harassment. Hearing about TML and the format of skits stringed together to create one show, as well as the objective of the goal to express opinions on current issues, I decided that TML would be the perfect place to express my feelings. I started writing by thinking of the atmosphere I wanted to create and what emotions I wanted to make the audience feel. I decided that in the end I wanted the audience to empathize with the main character, and understand the big picture of what people go through from the perspective of a victim. I wanted to make sure that people took my performance seriously and it made people rethink their lives.
By creating this piece, “Used”, I lessened the pain that I carried around as well as spread the word about a very important problem. Creating and presenting this piece terrified me because of the risk I was having to take in order to do it. Firstly, I was terrified of the reactions I would get. The piece was my way of opening up about my pain to the world, and I was terrified that if anything in the piece went wrong that I would create the wrong atmosphere resulting in humor. I was also scared that the actors would not take the piece seriously which could cause a mistake to occur during the presentation of the piece. Since this was such a sensitive topic for me, receiving such reaction to invalidate the pain I had gone through or seeing that the audience didn’t care about the topic and the reality of going through such a traumatic experience would emotionally destroy me and collapse the work I had done rehabilitating myself. The second fear I had in presenting this piece was getting labeled as the “broken girl”. I took a very high risk showing the most vulnerable parts of myself. This opened myself up to so much possible judgment that would not help the development of my emotional stability. I was terrified of people treating me as if I were to burst at any second and also being judged for being labeled an “attention whore”. I had already been sensitive to sexism especially since the incident and had always had to ask people to stop. This was a very big step for me whether or not it was to move forward or backward and I was terrified, from my experiences that it would instead be a step back.
I worked very hard and made my actors practice the piece repeatedly to make sure that the piece would be perfect for the show day.
Standing backstage I heard my title being called up. Nervous but determined to honor my piece I walked up onto the stage: ” USED. GO!”.
As the show came to an end we all held hands and bowed for the audience. My friends and family came up to hug me and congratulate me and told me that “the piece where you were the main character was amazing” and with the relief I felt from all the compliments as I told them that I wrote the piece, I started to cry. Everyone was so supportive of me and the piece that I had nurtured which I cared for as if it were my child. It was my intellectual baby and everyone loved it so much. People came up to me to tell me that they had tears welling up in their eyes from such an emotional piece. I was so amazed at the reaction of love and support I was receiving and I knew that I had truly touched these people’s hearts with my piece. The reaction I received was more than what I imagined. I had only hoped for people to watch my piece and understand what people go through, but I received more than just understanding. I received love and empathy from all these people.
Creating this piece I became emotionally more well by telling people about my problems, and I also realized my social wellness from all the support and love I was able to receive from my piece. This piece helped me emotionally by telling people my pain through art.