Some of the people who have inspired me include:
Nick Vujicic – If you can’t get a miracle, become one
W. Mitchell – It’s Not What Happens to You, It’s What You Do About It
Eve Ensler’s Mr. Alligator – when we give in the world what we want the most, we heal the broken part inside each of us
(Transcript from 17:00)
When I was a little girl — I grew up in a wealthy community; it was an upper-middle class white community, and it had all the trappings and the looks of a perfectly nice, wonderful, great life. And everyone was supposed to be happy in that community, and, in fact, my life was hell. I lived with an alcoholic father who beat me and molested me, and it was all inside that. And always as a child I had this fantasy that somebody would come and rescue me. And I actually made up a little character whose name was Mr. Alligator. I would call him up when things got really bad, and say it was time to come and pick me up. And I would pack a little bag and wait for Mr. Alligator to come.
Now, Mr. Alligator never did come, but the idea of Mr. Alligator coming actually saved my sanity and made it OK for me to keep going, because I believed, in the distance, there would be someone coming to rescue me.
Cut to 40-some odd years later, we go to Kenya, and we’re walking, we arrive at the opening of this house. And Agnes hadn’t let me come to the house for days, because they were preparing this whole ritual.
I want to tell you a great story. When Agnes first started fighting to stop female genital mutilation in her community, she had become an outcast, and she was exiled and slandered, and the whole community turned against her. But being a vagina warrior, she kept going, and she kept committing herself to transforming consciousness. And in the Maasai community, goats and cows are the most valued possession. They’re like the Mercedes-Benz of the Rift Valley. And she said two days before the house opened, two different people arrived to give her a goat each, and she said to me, “I knew then that female genital mutilation would end one day in Africa.”
Anyway, we arrived, and when we arrived, there were hundreds of girls dressed in red homemade dresses — which is the color of the Maasai and the color of V-Day — and they greeted us. They had made up these songs that they were singing, about the end of suffering and the end of mutilation, and they walked us down the path. It was a gorgeous day in the African sun, and the dust was flying and the girls were dancing, and there was this house, and it said, “V-Day Safe House for the Girls.”
And it hit me in that moment that it had taken 47 years, but that Mr. Alligator had finally shown up. And he had shown up, obviously, in a form that it took me a long time to understand, which is that when we give in the world what we want the most, we heal the broken part inside each of us.
Eve Ensler is a playwright and activist who created the ground-breaking “Vagina Monologues,” whose success propelled her to found V-Day — a movement to end violence against women and girls everywhere.