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I wanted to respond to our discussion last night...

S. Yaeger's picture

I want to be clear in this post that I am only speaking for myself, and that I am not attempting to invallidate anyone else's thoughts or feelings about last night's discussion of Eve Ensler's piece.

That said, it was a very triggering discussion for me, which came on the heels of dealing with a triggering text in another class. 

I've been dreading that sort of thing since the beginning of the semester, even though I assumed that it was inevitable that I would encounter some texts and some discussions which would recall past traumas and elicit a very emotional reaction. I expected that when this happened, I would become quieter and would feel even less like I belonged in the class as that is how I've experienced triggering materials in other classes.

What surprised me was that last night's call for litanies and group discussions actually compelled me to be louder and more assertive. 

I think the reason for that is multi-fold.  First, though we haven't designated our classroom a "safe space" in the way that support groups name spaces, there is a general atmosphere of seeking to understand that makes the space safe, at least to me.  The fact that we have all come to a class like this and are working at chipping away our understandings of sex, gender, biology, and even physics together makes it much easier to imagine that we are also working at understanding one another. Second, the format of creating a litany by distilling our complex reactions to the piece down to a few words made it feel much less like I was being asked to expose myself forever, and more like I was being allowed to expose a fleeting, though resonating request.  Finally, in hearing the lines being called out and allowed to sink in, I felt very much a part of a larger whole, for the first time this semester.  

I have no idea if anyone else felt this way, or even if this post is entirely appropriate, but I felt that it needed to be named.