LTYM poster at the entrance, as the audience arrived.
Our words, waiting to be released into the world.
Two dozen roses from The Husband (a.k.a. as my perfect guy) along with a lovely gift from the LTYM producers ~ a framed quote from my essay, about love and differences and acceptance.
The meaning behind this at this particular time defies words right now.
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”
~ Muriel Rukeyser, “Käthe Kollwitz”
Sometimes in this life, you have the kind of experience when you can physically feel yourself being transformed.
When your heart becomes lighter while simultaneously overflowing, spilling over the brim.
When your perspective and understanding becomes a kaleidoscope, shifting your view of yourself and your world.
When you can almost see your words in the air, and you take a leap and ride.
All of that and so much more was Listen to Your Mother Pittsburgh 2016.
So much more.
On Friday night, I stood on a stage and told more than 400 people the most personal story of my life.
I told them I was born without a uterus.
I told them I didn’t get my period.
I told them this is called Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser syndrome.
Here’s where I’d expected to write “and the room got completely quiet and still.” That’s not what happened.
Some people laughed.
Mind you, it wasn’t in a mean way, but nervously. Like when you laugh at an inappropriate time.
Onstage, I heard those laughs and for a moment I was terrified.
I thought, holy shit, what the fuck have I done?
And then I did the only thing I could do.
I told them how it felt, back then.
I told them about being 1 in 5,000 women with MRKH.
I told them about the shock, the tears, the denial, the wishing-away, the feelings of being like a freak, the hopelessness.
I told them all of this and how I thought all the plans I had for my life were over. I told them how I thought I was given MRKH because I would be a crappy mom and that maybe I was better off.
I told them about meeting someone who saw me for who I am. I told them about acceptance and being different and being loved despite those differences and the challenges that would lie ahead.
I told them about those challenges, about chemical pregnancies and depths of sadness.
I told them about the power and mystery of the science and faith that makes it possible to turn a handful of cells into two teenagers.
I told them this and the room got very, very still and quiet.
(Except for the knocking of my knees, which started about mid-way through my talk and which I was convinced could be heard echoing off the walls.)
I told them all this because Friday will be exactly 31 years since I learned I have MRKH and that’s a really long time to stay silent.
I told them this because I want — no, because I need — women and girls like the one in India who took her life because she couldn’t see a future post-MRKH to know she is seen and respected and loved.
After the show, many people came up to me, thanking me and letting me know of their similar journeys. A few moments before the show, our producers gathered our incredible, amazing cast together in the “green room” and told us that there would be someone out there who needed our words, our story.
Who needed to feel heard and to be seen.
Nearly 48 hours later, I am still running on the electricity that surged through the Lecture Hall on Friday night, powered by the incredible women onstage with me and the generosity and compassion from everyone in the audience. I’m so grateful for those who were part of this and the support from so many people in my life, here in Pittsburgh and those far away.
You know who you are. You know what you did to give me the courage and strength to do this.
When I say that Listen to Your Mother Pittsburgh was — and is — a significant life event for me, I mean it like this:
I was one person before getting on that stage and a very different person after.
This isn’t hyperbole. This is right up there with seeing our children for the first time and marrying The Husband.
It is a defining, specific moment. A life event in every sense.
There’s so much I still need to reflect, process, and write about from this experience.
So much more.
This is just the beginning.