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Friday, May 6, 2011

Vagina Dinner

My father was the parent who nurtured me with stories, baths, brushing my hair, outings and jokes.  Naturally, in adolescence, I gravitated toward male friends, who often talked about sexual encounters with women whom they didn't care for.  Although I never wanted to be in a story like theirs, during High School, I attempted to fit in with the "girly girls".  After realizing that they were mostly a group of hurt, spiteful, and insecure women, I rejected the ideal of the traditional female.  Cloaking my wiry body in layers of over-sized clothing and headwraps was my way of disconnecting myself from that mainstream woman. I didn't comb my hair, shave, or wear make-up.  I cussed, drank, smoked weed, wrestled boys, and openly mocked girls who were "feminine".  I was a female machista, believing "they" (females) couldn't be trusted, only cared about material objects, appearances and impressing men.  I was as wounded as the females I despised.

My long-time circle of female friends, fellow musicians I met in 2005, have stuck by me during my lengthy transformation through womanhood and into motherhood.  Although I had "cleaned up" a bit by the time we met, I often insulted, ignored, or neglected them.  I was distant, emotionally unavailable and lacked empathy.  As all wounds heal, motherhood has helped me realize that stable, enduring, and healthy relationships must be maintained.  Although a few of us quit our band and got jobs some years ago, we developed a series of meetings to stay in one another's lives. 

Since men aren't allowed, we coined them, Vag Dinners.  The location is always rotated, usually someone's house, or occasionally, a restaurant.  It can be potluck-style, or the host will provide the main dish.  In Indigenous tradition, we always come with something in our hands to offer.  After I had my first son, we had a vag dinner at my house- everything brought to me, and my house was left cleaner than when they had arrived.  Yes, only women can be so meticulous! If you don't have female friends, find some!  Today, I live for women, and have depended on female support during the most difficult times in my life.

Despite it's bad reputation, chismeando can be healing.   We laugh a whole lot, eat all evening, and somehow, one starts the chain effect of crying.  Every vag dinner is a personal triumph and group bonding experience.  As Indigenous women, we have lived collectively, in group settings for nearly all of our history.  Today, with individualism, industrialization, and other affects of colonization, we are isolated from one another.  Our human needs for touch, socializing, and bonding are limited to our daily jobs, the little time we spend with family, and the internet (keep reading my blog, though!).  Vag dinners, and our relationships with one another, have helped some of us heal from loneliness, depression, abusive relationships, past traumas, and low self-worth. 

I look forward to tomorrow, when I get to drop off my son, rebozo my baby, and refill my plate to my heart's content.  I am fortunate to have such intelligent, enduring, and caring women in my life.  Thanks, ladies, for being sisters in struggle, and accepting me for who I am, every step of the way.

 Intelligent, sweet and beautiful.  Vag dinner 2009.

¡En Solidaridad!  Vag dinner 2008.

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