I first want to say thank you to the hundreds of people who came to Goshen Monologues on Tuesday night. Goshen Monologues is incredibly important and your support was greatly appreciated.

I have been blessed by participating in this event twice since my time here on campus. Last year was incredible; there really is no other way to describe it. It was so new and different from anything else— and the crowd! That crowd had Umble so packed!  But that does not mean this year was also not incredible as well. Both Goshen Monologues events have been unique and healing in their own way.

This year was different because people knew. They knew the importance, they knew of the power and yet they were humbled by stories again. For me, this year was surrounded by vulnerability. I felt vulnerable while I sat in awe, seeing my face on the big screen during the premier of the “Goshen Monologues: the Storytellers” documentary (made by two very talented women on campus).

I felt vulnerable months ago when I sat and wrote two of my stories to have shared on stage in front of an audience; I felt vulnerable hearing those stories come out of the mouths of women I respected. I felt vulnerable feeling the tears stream down my face, hearing those words performed. I was vulnerable again as I sat backstage, knowing that after two hours, there would be several hundred more people who now know my stories too. Having my words read by others is so new.

It is true what is said about this project: the women who wrote the stories are baring all—for they are placing themselves in one of the most vulnerable positions that any woman can be placed. They are putting the universal truths of womanhood on paper and trusting another woman to express this truth to the greater community.

And yet again, I become vulnerable by telling those of you who are reading my thoughts. Every woman has a story, and each story has value that holds truth.

Every time a story is told, I imagine a bird flying free. This bird represents our souls—a broken wing for each broken soul that inhabits our Mother Earth. And as those truths are told for others to hear, it is in the same breath that the bird flies, setting our soul free as well.

Our souls, our stories, they all come together. We are all hurting; we all ache to be listened to. So it does not matter what your identity is; it matters that we are all human. And it is this that gives power to Goshen Monologues. That project demands every single person to stop. To listen. To understand.

Some of you may feel uncomfortable with this. Maybe it was some of the stories told that made you feel uncomfortable.  Was it because you looked too closely at the words used and forgot to understand the meaning behind them? Or was it because you didn’t want to accept the deep scars left by the actions of some of your peers? Think about the following words from Desmond Tutu:

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

We are all hurt—but we can all help each other. And that is why anyone who submitted a story, told a story, helped to communicate those stories with their hands or sat and listened to the words spoken—all of those who were present in that moment—are responsible. We know the truth. It is time we worked together to acknowledge this.