Lauren Leonard Writing Samples
V2: Creation Myth
A sequel of sorts to The Vagina Monologues, V2 continued the conversation of what it is to be a woman in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, as experienced by a group of professional women. Part memoir, part composite experience culled from interviews and listening sessions, the production covered topics such as sexuality, motherhood, race, assault, aging, work, and more, culminating in a new vision of female solidarity and power in America.
From The Cycle Continues
Woman 10: I’ve been getting my period for twenty-seven years and we’ve still not come to terms with one another. Sometimes, I’m grateful when it comes around, though generally not in the mood to celebrate. It’s just that it’s not to be trusted. It makes me vulnerable, unpredictable. Twenty-seven years and it still sneaks up and makes a mess of things.
Woman 4: Wake up in the morning, bed looks like a crime scene. Never comes out of the sheets.
Woman 6: I pack a change of clothes for my toddler and one for myself. Because accidents happen.
Woman 8: I’ve done the quick change at work. Go into the bathroom in one outfit, leave in another. Like I’m hosting an awards show.
Woman 4: In a pinch, I’ve used all kinds of things. Napkins, tissues, tissue paper from a gift about to be given.
Woman 6: A glove. A sock.
Woman 8: The Makeshift Maxipad: pull two arm lengths of toilet paper from the roll, wrap it around the crotch of your underwear. It’ll feel like there’s a futon between your legs, but you’ve bought yourself some time.
Woman 10: Now you can track it. Yes, there’s an app for that. Here's what I learned: my cycle is usually 28 days, which means I get 13 periods a year. To begin each of these cycles there are three or so days of pain associated with ovulating. Then there are five days where I suffer from PMS, which consists of fatigue, nausea, headaches, depression, homicidal rages, a six-pound weight gain, a complete inability to control my emotions, and at least one existential crisis. After that comes the five days of actual bleeding and an insane sex drive. So, when you add it all up, I am not myself 169 days a year. That’s 46% of the time.
Another C Word
I call it consent.
I’ve reclaimed it, “consent.”
It’s really important. “Consent.”
Ask for it.
C. C. O. Co. Co. Cosigned. Correct. Corroborated. Collaborated in a most colorful fashion.
Then N. Na. Na. No. No thank you, not tonight, maybe not ever. No means no means no. All the time, every time.
Con then S. Ssss. Sensible. Sensual. Sometimes subtle, always sensitive. Sent me to another world, sensations snaking through my body.
Then E. Eh. N. En. Enter. Entreat. Let me entertain you. Standing O(vation), a round of applause, and an encore performance.
Then T. Ta. Ta. Talk. Taste. Take. Take only what is given, what is offered freely, willingly, vulnerably, lovingly. Take only what I choose to give.