In one way or another, we all want to find a place where we can talk freely and be listened to. And whenever there’s an open mic event or a poetry slam happening in Baguio, we feel as though we are in a safe haven to express ourselves.
Teenage pregnancy and reproductive health have always been sensitive issues to discuss. And just a quick FYI – CAR holds the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines. The last poetry slam that we attended, called “Bagik to Bagik”, aimed to discuss these issues and give way to people who wanted to share their experiences and opinions on the topic, and ohh boy! We weren’t ready for the feels!
Each participant has different stories to tell. Everyone listened and felt all the emotions bursting from the poets – each piece just as deep as the other. But the poetry slam wasn’t all about the awws, sighs, and cries. The event also paved way for gaining more knowledge about the topics (yay to learning!).
The guest speaker, who everyone calls Auntie Penny who comes from Mountain Province, talked about how to properly take care of ourselves, what to do and what to avoid. She also talked about how different our generation is compared to theirs, and how we can learn from previous experiences and pass these insights on to others.
In the end, the winner of the Bagik to Bagik poetry slam was Dana Felix, who gave us all the feels with her relatable piece about body positivity and learning to cope in a world that isn’t always welcoming when it comes to body issues. Read the magnificent piece below:
I have never liked my body
I guess that’s why I never took care of it
Sometimes I skip my period for three months straight
Am I the next virgin Mary?
I’ve always wanted kids
But sometimes I feel like I’ll never have any
My eggs are C+ instead of grade A
Last year I had my period for 20-frickin-days
I used to purge food out of my system
I used to starve myself for days
I read somewhere that a messed up menstruation
Is a side effect
So I guess that
(Or maybe it’s just my genes)
I’m scared about birth control
Because I don’t want to gain the weight
I tried so hard to lose
And am trying so hard
To stay lost
But maybe I don’t know enough about birth control
And maybe I won’t know enough about birth control
Because wasn’t there a thing about
This year being the last year to access birth control?
I’m pretty sure the people making birth control
Inaccessible are people
I’m scared of my own vagina
I’m scared of my own uterus
Sometimes it gives me cramps
And brown sludge?!
What the fudge?!
Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a woman
But only when I’m on my period
Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a woman
Because I don’t like being seen as just
Boobs and butt
Or how hot
I am a woman
Nor a butt
Nor how hot
I am strong
But I am still afraid of men
I’m scared of intimacy
Of being close to people
Because I’m afraid they will judge me
Because I am fat
Because my eggs are not grade A
Because I might never have children
Because I might need to take birth control
But why should they judge me for that?
Why should I judge others for that?
Why should I judge me for that?
It sometimes comes as a challenge for us to share some of our personal experiences. But stepping up to let others into our world is always a brave and admirable thing to do, and poetry slams are just one way to do that. So, are you brave enough to share your own experiences?