Sewanee Monologues

This was my first year going to Sewanee Monologues. Let me tell you, it is necessary that every single person on campus go at least once in their career at Sewanee. Sewanee Monologues is modeled after the Vagina Monologues. Men and women from around Sewanee volunteer to write a monologue about either their previous life or life at Sewanee that they then submit (anonyously or not). They can read them themselves or have someone else read it for them.

For those who don't know what the Vagina Monologues are, Wikipedia describe them as "made up of a varying number of monologues read by a varying number of women (initially, Eva Mensler performed every monologue herself, with subsequent performances featuring three actresses, and more recent versions featuring a different actress for every role). Each of the monologues deals with an aspect of the feminine experience, touching on matters such as sexloverapemenstruationfemale genital mutilationmasturbationbirthorgasm, the various common names for the vagina, or simply as a physical aspect of the body. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality."

Sewanee Monologues is very similar, but also different in that it is not just women who perform, and they do not have to be about the vagina or about being female at all. Common themes at Sewanee Monologues are rape and molestation, self-confidence, anxiety and depression, racism, and others. They are all absolutely wonderful.

The monologue that hit me the most was one by a girl who spoke about her name, Vanessa. She told how she was going to be named Virginia after Virginia Woolf, but her parents named her after Virginia Woolf's sister instead. For those who don't know, Virgina Woolf struggled with depression her entire life, eventually committing suicide at the age of 59. Vanessa told how her brother also committed suicide, and how her name symbolizes how she was there for him as much as she could be, just like Vanessa was for Victoria. I cried so hard that I almost had to leave the room, due to the fact that my own brother struggles with Bipolar disorder and almost went to a hospital to get better. My brother ended up overcoming it, but te knowledge of what could have happened is always on my mind.

Another monologue that I especially liked was about self-confidence and body positivity. The girl started out by describing how her parents completely rebuilt her house because it was easier than renovating, going on to describe how she thought she could renovate her own body, rebuilding it from the ground up into "the image I thought might satisfy me." She describes how she continued renovating so that she'd "look like the blueprint [she] drew for [her] body." Like so many other girls, I have also struggled with my body not looking exactly like I want, and this girl's story of body image is so relatable that it struck me. 

There were many other monologues, 26 in total to be exact, and I obviously can't describe every single one (even though they were all amazing). I highly encourage everyone go see them next year, as I will for the next three years. Hearing the stories of your fellow Sewanee students changes your mindset, awakening you to the truths behind so many faces. People volunteer to share some of their deepest secrets, inspiring everyone in the crowd with their strength and resilience.

The darkness and seriousness of the event prevented much picture taking, but here is one of the Women's Center introducing the monologues, taken by Danielle Larsen of Admissions: