My vagina is an illegal immigrant. Bourne in a land far, far away, snuck across the border under cover of darkness, it takes part in criminal activity and its English leaves much to be desired!

Its fluency rather lies in Spanish, or French, perhaps even Mandarin. It must do, since I can’t understand a word it’s trying to say to me.

Let me explain. The first time I had an orgasm, I was already 19. Almost exactly a year after “All The Darkness” happened. Anyway, the orgasm, it happened by mistake. A complete accident.

I mean, it wasn’t as if I tripped, fell to the floor, bumped my head and came. No. But I wasn’t trying to have one. How could I have been when I honestly didn’t know what the hell I was doing! As for my vagina, try as I might, the words she used in an effort to tell me what was going on made little more sense than, well, than Quantum Physics.

There I was, just lying on my back, legs spread-eagle, and staring at the ceiling, giving the odd moan here and there. Lord knows why, I mean a man must not really hear all that much with thighs cupping each of his ears. Anyway, I was staring at the ceiling… well, actually, I was watching the TV – a documentary about Snow Geese. Fascinating stuff, really! Did you know that Snow Geese only have one mate for the whole of their… Sorry. Where was I? All this stuff about orgasms sort of makes me lose my mind…

There I was, moan, moan, moan – when next thing I know my vagina imploded sending shivers and squirms and spasms of pleasure up and down every single nerve and fibre of my being!

If you missed my meaning, it was good. World-rockingly good!

I may not have been able to understand what my vagina had been trying to tell me, but the giant grin she wore correlated with the warm glow emanating from deep inside of me.

When I’d recovered, I said to my vagina, I said “listen, do that again.”

Its grin disappeared.

“That thing,” I said, “you just did it!”

It stared and me blankly.

“Right now, that explosion!”

It blinked and then raised its eyebrows.

“Come on, you must know what I mean!”

Searchingly it looked around the room, before turning back to me and speaking. “Que?”

Fuck. I took stock and decided that if it’d happened once, it would do so again. But it didn’t.

And all the doubts, and anger, and fear that had first featured after “All The Darkness” happened, came flooding back. Because, you see, my vagina is a criminal. And I can’t go to the police. Because of “All The Darkness.” With the boy. The 19-year old, first in his class, funny, clever, brown-eyed-boy. He’s not a criminal. My vagina is a criminal.

Because my vagina and I – we went to that party to see him. We drank the drinks he bought us, and laughed when he’d flirt. We climbed the stairs and let him unlock the gate when we couldn’t find the key. I knew I felt uneasy, unsafe. But I didn’t do anything about it, and that makes me the criminal. I kissed him back when he kissed me, and let him think I was the kind of girl who didn’t want, who didn’t need. Vulnerable, never vulnerable.

But yes, I told him to stop. I drew the line. I threw away my carefree image and begged him not to… But he wouldn’t listen. And who else can I blame but myself? One kiss, two kisses, three kisses and he wouldn’t stop. I waited for him to be satisfied all the while telling him enough was enough.

But by then I had no vagina. Not the emancipated, self-sufficient kind anyway. Not the kind that many great women before me meant me to have. My vagina was locked away in shame, in hiding, like the criminal that it is.

When I eventually told my parents four years later, I could hear their hearts begging for it not to be true and for me to have kicked and screamed and fought my way free. But to tell you the truth, I don’t remember what I did. When it was over I got up and I left, and buried both him and my vagina deep, deep into The Darkness behind words I chose not to understand.

But now, everything has changed. I met a man, and my vagina and I fell in love. We fell in love with a man who made me love myself first, and it is that which set both my vagina and I free.

Because of him, I’ve learnt that my vagina is beautiful and that I should not only hope for orgasms, but that I deserve them.

Because of him, my vagina can wear its stilettos and little black dress without quivering in fear at the eyes of the men around her.

Because of him, my vagina and I finally feel comfortable in our own skin, our own naked, make-up free skin.

Because of him, my vagina can stand tall and tell the world, “here I am. Read my lips!”

And it is because of all of this, that my vagina and I are free and able to speak in English and finally tell the world:

“I was raped but I’m not a victim. And neither is my vagina.”

By Robyn Porteous.

My vagina is a criminal. I can’t go to the police. He’s not a criminal. The boy. 19 years old, tall, first in his class, with 8 distinctions, and the brownest eyes you ever saw. A friend of a friend. No, he’s not a criminal. I’m the criminal. My vagina is the criminal. My vagina and I, we went to that party to see him. I drank the drinks he gave me, and flirted with him. I walked around with him. Sure we were looking for my friend, but I walked with my own two legs, next to his own two legs. I climbed that staircase, and when I couldn’t find the key I let him unlock the gate. I knew I felt unsafe, but I didn’t do anything about it. And that makes me the criminal. I didn’t do anything about it. Negligence, they call it. Failure to act accordingly, literally translated as a failure to pick something up. Well I picked something up, I picked up a feeling, an unease. But I kissed him back, when he kissed me. I let him think I was that kind of girl. The cool, calm and collected kind, who’d no sooner kiss you than disappear for weeks on end. Never waiting around on a Saturday night, my vagina and I, sitting by the phone waiting for a call. Vulnerable. Never vulnerable. Yes, I told him to stop. I drew the line. I threw away my carefully constructed carefree image and told him no. I begged and pleaded with him. But by then he wouldn’t listen. And who else is there to blame? Give him what he wants, and he’ll go. One kiss, two kisses, three kisses, and he didn’t stop. I waited for him to be satisfied, all the while telling him enough was enough. I should’ve kicked, and screamed, and jumped up and run away…! But I was a fool. To be a hundred percent honest with you, I don’t remember what I did. When it was over, I got up and I left. He told me afterwards he’d only ever hurt me. That he couldn’t be good for me. I remember pleading with him, thinking if I just made him love me, or made myself love him, then everything that happened would be a bad memory and we could build a thousand good memories on top of it, bury it deep, deep under all of them so no one would ever know. But he could only tell me he’d never be any good for me. And I could never love him. I’m the criminal. I have no heart. Only a void in the place where it once was. I have no vagina, not the emancipated, self sufficient kind anyway. Not the vagina that many great women before me meant me to have. My vagina is locked away, in shame. In hiding, like the criminal it is. I never told my family. I wouldn’t have known where to begin! Confront him? My vagina and I will never confront him. I hate him! I never want to see or speak to him ever again! Thinking back on it now, I can’t believe I ever thought I could fix it. I can’t believe I ever tried to justify his actions to myself, to my vagina. Date him?! I would rather kill myself before I dated him! Or him! I would rather kill him. Because of him my vagina can never wear its stilettos without a second thought. It can never dance in a club and enjoy the advances of a man without freezing up cold in fear. It can never be dressed all beautifully in white on its wedding day, nor ever fully feel the pleasure due to it by the touch of a lover. Because of him, my vagina will never shout with joy, or tell the world “here I am! Read my lips!” No. My vagina is silent, locked away in a cell. Forever staring through the bars that barricade

Whilst sitting at the Baron last night with my friends, the topic of conversation inevitably turned to men and relationships. Jen was still in recovery stage from her new-found man of her dreams, having to return to Australia – where he lived. Wondering of her luck, none of us could figure out how it is that the only good guy she’s met in the past year, would be the one who lived on another continent.

I, myself,  mused quietly to myself as to my similar predicament. My only “true love” – real life’s version of Carrie’s Mr. Big – had been the major share holder in the stocks of my heart for the past four years – and had also chosen to study in America. Great. The possibility of seeing him every American summer – three months right, smack, in the middle of my year – was one that, whilst not being conducive to a relationship; still manages to remind me he has my heart – and that it get’s broken when he has to go back.

The only other guy ever able to make me feel anything close to what my Mr. Big did, also doesn’t live in the same city as me. No, not even in the same province. This man, whom we’ll term Mickey Blue Eyes, lives in Durban and studies in Grahamstown – meaning that most of the year ’round, he is never more than 969km away from me.

As I got to thinking about this series of what would seem bad luck, I began to question. Were Jen and I romantically challenged, or was there more to it? As the author of the novel “The Man of Feeling” states: “For, as I well know, the most effective and lasting subjugations are based on pretence or, indeed, on something that has never existed… or on something unfulfilled.” Where was the line? Where was the “man of my dreams” quality in these men actually real – and when did it cross over to the realm of our own imaginations?

Having thought myself more than able to do a long-distance relationship with either my version of Mr. Big, or Mickey Blue Eyes, I realised one thing. When we were in the same cities as one another, we rarely managed to get a stable relationship going. Granted, Mickey Blue Eyes and I had only ever met four *magical* times, but in the case of my Mr. Big, we’d literally been on and off for four years. And if we couldn’t get it right after that amount of time, then how were we ever going to bridge the gap of oceans and continents that stood between our significantly different lifestyles?

So, whilst I believe that I could make a long-distance relationship work, I’m willing to admit that there need be a stable basis for the relationship first. As for being romantically challenged, only time will tell. I can’t find it in myself to give up hope on Mickey Blue Eyes – nor do I know how not to love Mr. Big when he returns to South Africa. I guess there is nothing more true than time will tell…

Having found myself home, after what could easily be termed an “atrocious” audition, I found myself seated infront of the computer, and fired with the urge to write. Perhaps if acting wasn’t my true calling – as this ill-fated audition now lead me to believe – then it was off the stage; out of the theatre; and actually onto the page wherein my talents lay.

Undoubtedly, this resulted from the resounding sense of rejection I felt vibrating through my being. I found myself, however, not wondering at the nature of rejection, but rather wondering at how very similar it’s always felt, despite its context. Dating, I drew the conclusion, could be considered another form of audition – one in which more often than not, “don’t call me, I’ll call you” reverberates to absolutely no ovation, just the slinking away of your self esteem as it tries to leave the auditorium with some form of dignity intact.

So, wherein does the hope lie? Audition after audition, we thespians force ourselves into the routine of learning the lines; attempting to pre-empt the director’s vision; forcing ourselves to believe with every fibre of our being that we ARE what the play needs! We are Desdemona, Juliet, and Hermia! We are the actress that you’ve been looking for, stop the search now! But if there were no rejections, then where would be the marvel in seeing the truly talented actress stand on that stage and do with the role, what our imaginations lead us to believe that we could do. If there were no rejections, then where would be the talent, where would be the stars who stand out from generation to generation and whose every whim leave us in tears, in laughter, and most importantly of all, in love.

The same applies with dating. If there were no rejections, then why wouldn’t we all just settle down with the first man to ask us on a date, and live happily ever after? Because it doesn’t happen that way. Not every actress is made for every role ever written for a woman. We all have strengths, weaknesses, and blocks, which hinder and guide our trajectory on the bumpy path to (what we all hope) fame. Love is just the same. You’ve heard it before, you have to kiss a few frogs before you can land yourself a prince. And whilst yes, it’s the rejections that seem to stand out a lot more – leaving you feeling as though you’re walking around with a giant neon sign, screaming “I WAS JUST REJECTED” for all the world to see. But it’s nothing like that. We fall, because we have to learn how to pick ourselves up again. And only we can set ourselves free to truly let our stars shine…

I believe Paulo Coelho said it best when he stated that: “God uses fire to teach us about water. He uses earth so that we can understand the value of air. He uses death to show us the importance of life.”