A lot of my thoughts have been with Eve Ensler these days. When I am on instant message with someone, on the phone, out for dinner, I notice this hesitation when a thought is forming. I know what I am saying is true. It is the thought I wish to convey, but it has that word in it…
In the beginning of the Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler talks about her hesitation of using the word vagina, but how she was utterly transformed from that shy person into someone who said it more than 100 times a performance.
I’m at the early stages with my word, though, and I find there is a similar hesitation when it is about to leave my mouth, or when I’m about to hit send on an instant message. It reminds me of the beginning of the Vagina Monologues (which I’ll now butcher to make my argument):
My vagina is … umm.
My vagina makes people uncomfortable because it is something we’re not supposed to talk about.
My vagina makes me feel vulnerable.
My vagina is important to me.
My vagina is… my spirit.
Spiritual path, spiritual path, the phrase keeps coming up lately. My new job is related to my spiritual path. My view on dating, sex, relationships, eating, diets, exercise, friendships, all are now viewed through this new spiritual lens.
It is a new toy, and I enjoy testing it with experiments (you can see why I had to stop the vagina metaphor earlier). I am trying to find its flaws, where it lacks, what it can encompass. I don’t think faith or spirit are worth having if you don’t test them. And all my tests are mental exercises, big what-if scenarios, and it’s been holding up really well.
And, like a new toy, I like talking about it. But it’s kind of one of those things where merely mentioning it seems like you’re prosthelytizing a bit. I know people’s intimate measurements (I didn’t want to write dick size on my blog) and not their spiritual beliefs, and why is one of those is easier to work into a conversation? I’m thinking it’s reverse of what it should be.
So, it’s back to the vegan dilemma. How can you mention something that sounds like superiority without coming from that place? I blame militant vegans and right-wing Christians for giving those words such weight.
It reminds me of the Bill Maher riff where he says he has trouble listening to anything people say when they start their sentence with, "Well, I’m a Christian…." because it starts from a place of moral superiority, and is about to tell you why they know better than you. Trust me, Maher (always funny) goes off on an anti-religious rant as part of this, which shows me that everyone starts with good intentions, but then goes off-track.
The person saying they’re Christian may be explaining why something is particulary offensive to them, but by framing the debate from a place of seeming superiority, their argument is lost. Maher, reacting to their superiority is blinded by what they are actually taking issue with (and, yes, I understand he’s a Libertarian comic making a joke, but still…)
It just seems like all of these words — vegan, spiritual, right-wing, Christian, Republican — they make people retreat. Or, in my case, I hear myself use a word I know is loaded, but know it’s the right word to describe the scene.
It all just makes us avoid dialogue, which lead to shared beliefs, and harmony. Because it’s not that I care what people specifically believe, but how they got there. There are interesting stories there.
But for now, I’m content with baby steps. My guess is that more people talked about their vaginas with Eve Ensler after she got comfortable talking about her vagina. And the more I define the contour of my spirituality and talk about that, people will open up about their spiritual beliefs as well.
I’m working on it.