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  1. What We See Is Merely the Tip

    My recent blogs have shared self-examination on matters of sexuality.  While some readers are entertained and others horrified, the quieter ones who e-mail me privately are the ones most grateful that I even am willing to bring such matters into the light.  They are female and usually feeling lonely in the load they carry.  It is what helps me stay on track when I’m having my own doubts about continuing to write in such an open way. 

    Pulling things out of the darkness is what I do.  It was necessary for my own emotional survival in life, and it is what truly helps.  It does mean I allow myself to be open to the world.  With that, comes good and bad.

    In teaching, it is such a high to hear the light bulbs going on in heads.  People, many of whom haven’t had that experience, feel so good when they can see what they couldn’t before.  Just knowing lights can be lit is life-changing.

    Even in my comedy, I often am simply shining a light on what we do as humans, particularly in heterosexual behavior, how we treat each other and ourselves.  I’m not looking to get my jokes at anyone’s expense.  I think what we really do and feel deserves looking at and is often funny in a ridiculous way.  Some people, both men and women, seem to feel uncomfortable and might prefer we don’t examine our lives.  Some are very disapproving of my unladylike ways.  Ah, too fuckin‘ bad.  Once a woman came over to me after a show and told me her husband was going nuts asking her if what “that female comic” said was true and going more nuts as she kept telling him “yes.”  I love these stories.  But the most touching for me took place when I was quite new at doing stand-up.  I’d been doing it less than a year, and I was fortunate to be included in a show at Therapy (a mainly gay male bar in NYC) booked by comic Adam Sank.  I was still doing my original 5-minute set.  It took on a lot of heavy duty subjects in a very comical way.  But the underlying anger of my material was clear, and the path to funny was clear.  The audience, mostly gay men and some women friends of theirs, and I were on the same page from before I got on stage.  I was very lucky.  I think they liked my look and friendly demeanor (I’m not a comic that makes you regret sitting up front).  Plus when Adam introduced me, they heard that my comedy was on a feminist radio program (Fran Luck’s “Joy of Resistance”), and that seemed to be a plus.  We were all coming from a place of oppression.  So when I got up there, nervous and shaking, I actually felt liked already.  That helped my set go very well.  I was proud.  They don’t all go so well.  Here’s the touching part.  When I went to the unisex bathroom, which was clean, beautiful, and perfectly lit for looking in the mirror, a young woman (looked Philippine maybe) looked at me and said that she was sorry to bother me but that I was great.  Then she lost her ability to speak and began to cry.  I was washing my hands and said, “First of all, you’re not bothering me.  And,” referring to her tears, “I understand.”  I dried my hands on my pants to hurry and hug her.  I really did understand that I touched hurting spots for her.  She was grateful I put it into words, but she wasn’t at a place inside where she could laugh yet.  We just hugged.  “I really do understand,” I said, without ever knowing her details or her name.

    My then-husband told me, “No matter what you do, it’s always social work in some way.” 

    It was the brave women who didn’t shut up and who risked being thought of as crazy or too extreme who helped me so much in my life to have hope that life -- even on a woman-hating planet -- was worth living and could have much beauty in it.  It was women like that who gave me words when I so badly needed to know words existed for what I was feeling.  When there are words for it, it would make me feel convinced I wasn’t alone because the words would not exist for me alone.

    So here I was being that woman for this pained person.  It felt so much bigger than comedy to me.  Comedy was just the avenue that reached this soul. 

    I am not striving to limit what I say and how I say it.  I had once been the scared first-grader whose teacher told my grandmother that I was too shy and afraid to raise my hand.  She pointed out that when she called on me anyway, I knew the answer.  Of course the teacher didn’t know I was under daily threat of being given away to a foster home if I spoke about anything that went on in our house, blah, blah, blah, so yeah, I was too quiet and too afraid.  She got that part right.  I’d like to continue growing up and out from there.  It’s not easy but so worth it.

    In my adult years, there continue to be special people who welcome my voice (as opposed to trying to shut me up, and I can’t express how tremendous that is to me who has felt so suffocated) and continue to help light my path in ways.  One of those people is Alexandra Jacoby, a woman very worth Googling.  And it was at her Vagina Salon, that I was introduced to this wonderfulness below.

    In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to help give ourselves back to us … so much has been stolen and buried.  Vagina owners and vagina visitors, the next 3 minutes could potentially change the quality of the rest of your life. 

    You’re welcome.  <3

  2. 4 comments:

    1. RHC said...

      8,000 nerve endings indeed! Betty has been preaching for a long time. Hopefully not mostly to the choir. Thanks Mindy!

    2. Darling, I've already had one man write me privately to thank me for the education. But unfortunately, women aren't the choir as we are so estranged from "down there."

    3. She So Funny said...

      remind me never to tell you about certain nerve endings... ~S

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