(From tonight’s workshop. I’m rather pleased with how this piece came out, and think the metaphor I tapped will be fertile ground for future work.)
The audience is seated in a circle. I have intertwined male and female symbols drawn on my sternum in red/brown marker, partially obscured by my top. Two performers throw me on stage by my arms. I address the audience, making eye contact while prowling the circle.
I was struck at birth by the shaft of Ares. It’s true. And this was a poison arrow. Now, let it be said that the weapons of Ares are not poison to all. Walking with Ares does not always mean death and destruction. But, for me, it was a poison arrow.
I stand opposite the two performers who threw me into the circle and nod. They draw back pantomime bows. The first lets her arrow fly, using her arm as an arrow and running across the room to strike my forhead and stand at my side. The second lets her arrow fly, doing the same and using her arrow to strike my gut. I reel from the arrows and bend over. The two performers push on my back, struggling to keep me bent.
I fear the derisive labels: she-male, chicks with dicks, freak, pervert. I fear knowing glances and laughter behind my back. I fear that every pair of eyes will pierce me to my core and expose my innermost secrets.
I take a deep breath and draw my hands up the insides of my legs, over my crotch, and quickly stand upright, flinging the two performers to the ground with my arms. I step out into the circle, running my hands up over my belly, my breasts, into my hair. I pull my ponytail out and shake my hair. I grab the neck of my shirt and pull it down, fully exposing the male and female symbols. I lick two fingers and begin to rub them off. I speak, addressing the audience and holding up my two fingers (now red/brown from the marker).
I long to grasp Aphrodite’s mirror. To dive into cool, deep waters and swim. To feel at peace in my own body. I long to find femaleness as something other than ‘not-maleness.’ And I long to see others without asuming judgement or loathing.
I go to the two performers, still on the floor, and help them up. We smile at each other, and I move to the far edge of the circle. We each begin spinning like a child, arms out and looking up. Faster and faster. This is not a representation of spinning; this is spinning.
I long to spin.