Staceyann Chin performed her poetry through spoken word at the 2009 Campus Progress National Conference. In the second half of the video, her poem of choice was “My First Period.” In this poem, she described her sexual maturation and what it meant to her. Staceyann began the poem by sharing how excited she was about her first period and how she confided in her best friend about it. The ultimate excitement about the beginning of her menses was that she could finally have babies. Staceyann then turned to the darker aspect of sexuality when she shares that her cousin in Jamaica had raped her when she was just a girl. “You smell like a woman in a girl’s body,” Staceyann mimicked his rationale to the audience. “Years later, he still smiles at me. No apologies. I was just a girl,” Staceyann confidently exclaimed. She continued on to relate her experience to the experience of other girls and women concerning rape when she said “Quick and quiet, girls learn to wash those details away.” Staceyann connected elements of personal experience to a greater and widespread problem of shame of the female body despite its unique ability to support and give life.
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