In Spring Quarter of 2019, I got an email from one of my advisors saying that the V-Day Coalition at UCLA was taking applications for writers to write a piece for their annual Lips Showcase. Prior to that email, I had never heard of the organization and even though I knew about the Lips show, I had never attended. At that point in the quarter, I was looking for all kinds of opportunities because I had just been rejected from internships I had applied to over the summer. Thus, because I liked their theme of a “Celebration of Womxnhood” and the application was not too long, I applied. [bf_image id="q5llg3-5e3tq8-8yw9ke"] After 30 minutes, I uploaded a sample piece of something I had written for a different class and hit submit. I honestly did not even think about it again until later on in the summer when the director of the show emailed me saying that the group loved my application and that they would like to have a phone interview with me.
Over the phone, the director and I ended up talking for almost two hours and I got off the phone feeling amazing. Not long after that, I got another email from the director saying I had been selected to write a piece for the Lips 2020 Showcase. I felt elated and could not wait to get started.
In the fall, I finished the piece and I was so proud. The piece ended up being a 12-person group piece that all the people in the show would perform in. Never in my entire life had I ever seen something of mine come to life and now, only a few feet away from me, 12 people would be fiercely performing something that once only lived in my mind. [bf_image id="q2wim2-1wj21k-f7o8wg"] On February 15, 2020, the Lips 2020 Showcase opened and I walked into Kerckhoff Grand Salon shaking. The director greeted me and I was able to meet the producers of the show and the executive director of the Coalition. Each piece was performed by each person with so much passion and emotion, and they were all happy to be on stage sharing the stories of different womxn. They made me feel strong and empowered. They made me feel like there was a room at the table for me, especially in the first piece, Table for Twelve, in which all 12 performers were on stage explaining how if there were 12 girls on that stage, then there was surely enough room for more. More specifically though, the piece touched on the question of why it was so uncommon for womxn to band together and use their strength for good instead of pitting ourselves against each other so that one of us could have a seat at the table.
Other pieces spoke about sexuality, family and the hardships as well as the joys of being a womxn. It was a show that anyone and everyone could relate to because it told so many stories. Then came the time when all 12 performers got back onto stage as the last piece started. It was my piece. The piece that I spent hours working on. The piece that I tried so hard to perfect. The piece that I thought would never come to life. The very first line said by the very first girl, had me already tearing up. All throughout the show, I was ready to cry, and now the feeling was uncontrollable. The tears had begun to roll as performer after performer read the lines that I had written not that many months ago. When I had applied to be a writer, never in my mind did I think I would be selected or did I think that I would be watching my own work come to life before my very eyes.
[bf_image id="q58xll-bxcntc-7jf0dg"] Those were things I had only dreamt about happening and now they were. To hear 12 people tell me that I was a bad b****h was one of the best moments of my entire life not only because of the message, but also because the message came from something I had written. It was something that I created and my name was in the program because of it. My full name, void of any error, next to a picture of me was in a program. My work had just ended an amazing show. My dreams were coming true and I was brought to tears because of it. I do not think anything will ever compare to that feeling, unless someday I get to see my work again. Here’s to hoping that, someday, more of the things that I create will be featured on a stage while I sit in the audience crying tears of joy for the 11-year-old girl writing (and not finishing) plays in her journal.