My favorite Valentines Day memory comes from my senior year of college…

Sometime in January, I saw a call go out that some students were putting together a production of The Vagina Monologues in honor of Valentines Day / V-Day. As an eager Women’s Studies minor, I thought “hey … why not?” I’ll try anything once, right?

Despite my immense hatred/fear/discomfort at the thought of public speaking (I once fainted in class after giving a speech), I volunteered to perform. To talk about vaginas. Publicly. At a Catholic university. (I like to think Loyola U Chicago was relatively progressive for a Catholic school.)

Luckily there were longer speaking parts and shorter speaking parts. And this was a reading. So no memorizing. You were supposed to read from your script.

I was assigned to the group parts – reading the “lists.” (What would your vagina wear / say / etc?) No real acting / interpretation required, thankfully. And being in a group, I wouldn’t be alone up there. Phew.

But I was proud of participating in V-Day. And so I told my parents I was participating. And I don’t know if I invited them or they offered to come (they lived about an hour from campus), but they came to my performance. Not just that, they took me out to dinner beforehand! On a weekday!

(I think they were so used to going to all my soccer games, band concerts, poms performances, etc in high school that going to two of my college things over the course of four years – V-Day and graduation – seemed like such a relief in comparison.)

Yes, it was weird saying “vagina” and talking about vaginas knowing my Dad was in the audience. But only a little bit. If you haven’t met my mother, well … she’s a labor & delivery nurse. She’s around vaginas all day at work. And she’s a bit of a ham. Has NO problem being in the center of attention and performing (a trait that definitely skipped me). And she’s not embarrassed to talk about what she sees/does at work. I definitely came from a “the human body is a beautiful thing” household. Not like we walked around naked. Just that there was no shame.

So anyway … chalk that up to “I’ll try anything once”: saying ‘vagina’, in public, in front of my parents.

And I’m so proud that I did. And felt so supported that they came to watch.