This is my first blog post in a long time. I’m going to start using my blog again. I want to communicate about what I’m doing, professionally, but also, I need to share what’s going on with me, personally. I think others could relate. I’d love to hear back from others – am I speaking for you, too?
Soon I will publish my auto-biographical, solo, video show, ENUF! Coming.
I never thought the mess that is happening on the political stage would be my final straw that urged me to speak out about my own situation. I’ve created theater pieces in which we draw parallels from the personal, “microcosm” to what’s happening in the world, the “macrocosm.” So when we somehow elected an archetypal bully to the highest office in the land, I can’t keep quiet anymore! So it’s my turn to tell my story.
I’ve kept secrets since I was five years old about being physically and sexually abused by my middle brother, a bully who made tormenting me a daily hobby. He made it clear that if I went to our parents for help he “would kill” me – I kept the secret.
As a young woman trying to find a career path that used my G-d given gifts and my passion for Theater, I went looking for a grad school where I could develop my immerging talents as a director. I visited several universities in the mid-West and was told by three heads of Theatre or Drama departments that I should be “realistic.” As a female I didn’t have a chance rising to the top in that field. “Oh, you do costumes, too? Well that’s what you should do – go into Costuming.” One department head pulled out a drawer of files and said, “See all these files? They’re all men. They are the future directors and heads of Drama departments of America. You’re a woman. Face reality. Go into Costuming.” I didn’t listen entirely, and have gone on to make my living in the Theater, but being a free-lance director and teacher has not been the “get rich quick” scheme. I love my work, so I could not just go away and fade into costume design or just teaching English, which were the avenues that I was expected to pursue. But I know I was systematically excluded from the “White Boys Club.”
I’m in a support group in Berkeley that meets weekly. Two weeks ago a new guy came to the group. From the minute he sat down he tried to dominate the group, interject his directives, instead of, as we do in this group, be supportive, understanding and encouraging of each other to find their own solutions. This guy knew what everybody should do & told them so. I wanted to leave. I had pushed back my chair and was getting ready to make my exit, holding in my feelings, as I have been trained since childhood to do. But Marvin, the facilitator of the group asked if anyone had anything they wanted to say. It poured out. “Yes, I am thinking of leaving. I don’t feel safe here anymore. I come to this group because I like the people and, over the weeks have come to feel that this is a place where I am safe to be myself. I lead beginning acting classes and the first thing I do is make it a safe place for people to come out of a hiding place that they developed from having been abused or scared by people in power – So I am NOT willing to be in a group where one of the members is trying to dominate the rest of the group. I’m going!”
All of a sudden I got support from the other people in the group! “Don’t go, Marcia. I feel the same way!” came from several people. The guy fought back, trying to make us a bunch of f-ked up nuts. Then Marvin said to the guy, “You know, I wanted to be welcoming to you, so I didn’t say enough to stop you, but really you are not a good fit for this group and I think you should leave!” He did (with a face-saving huff & puff).
Getting support from the group, being able to speak up and not be made wrong, having the leader (the “daddy”) of the group stand up for me & protect me/us from a bully – that was a totally transformative experience for me!
Then – all this stuff in the news, revealing how many women & girls have been abused, discriminated against and excluded from that “White Boys Club” really has got me going. People who know me, know I am passionately dedicated to fighting for the under-dog. It’s not just because I’m a nice, liberal Jewish girl, which I am, but it’s because, in my way I can relate to people who have been abused, discriminated against and excluded from that “W. B. C.”. I will fight for their/our rights the way I wish people in my family had fought for me. Someone has to stand up & speak out!
One of the speakers who was on KPFA Radio the other day, talking about what we need to do to stop the wave of violence going on in this country, particularly said, “Stand up. If you see something happening that’s wrong, say something! Women need men to stand with them to get any change to happen.” Thank you Jeffrey L. Edleson of UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. We need more men like you.
And thank you Marvin, thanks to my eldest brother who listened to me telling my angry story to him & his wife until they were sick of it. But, I couldn’t get my story out there – I couldn’t get HEARD. I would keep telling the story until I felt I was getting through and somehow Justice was finally being done! And I thank you, dear reader, for reading my ranting. I hope you, we can move forward, together to stand up to bullies, both on the micro, as well as the macrocosmic stage.