Monologues 2015

Monologue #8 (2015)

A Tale of Our Own

I see myself in her eyes

I fit right in her arms

Our hands naturally interlock

Just the way our lips do.

My eyelids block everything and everyone

Her lips, my lips, our tongues are immersed in saliva

I inhale, she exhales.

Inhale, exhale.

The world is silenced around us.

I wonder if that’s because we’re beautiful together or out of shock.

Outsiders see us

I feel their stare as she’s

breathing down my neck

I don’t give a fuck.


But…I’m filled with fright, so I pull away.

Silence and secrecy have been the witness of our love.

No one can suspect what happens behind closed doors, closed blinds

Only the darkness kindly wraps us.

While I focus on her heavy breathing,

As I get warm,

My breathing weighs with pleasure,

Her moan is audible – breaking the silence.

And I rush to cover her sweet moans in fear we’ll be caught.

Oh! I wish I could tell you that our love is invincible!

That it has a fairytale ending.

But it’s not.

Because it’s not a fairytale, it is tangible, authentic, and currently in pursuit.


Monologue #7 (2015)


I am brown,

product of a couple who spent their honeymoon swimming across a river to reach this promise land,

only to find themselves drowning in a language so different from their own.

I am American,

one who lived five years on American soil before learning her first word of English

only to then forget how to dream in her mother tongue.


I come from a home where English was always left outside the door, next to my winter boots.

where I watched Cristina instead of Oprah

where my father pretends not to know English because he’s been made to feel

ashamed of his “accent”

where the skillet had a permanent place on the stove for the tortillas

where my childhood friends got pregnant by age fifteen and found kinship in the

streets instead of their own homes

where Christmas Eve was a bigger deal than Christmas day

where my mother had to stop taking English classes because they became too

expensive after my father lost his job


My admission counselor drew me in under the illusion that she had survived Davidson

as an inner-city brown body seeking acceptance into higher academia.

Her best piece of advice was not to come to Davidson expecting to find home.

I, too, would be disappointed, she said.

She was right.

I have not found home.

I live my days at Davidson in constant translation,

switching tongues like outfits.

hearing my name pronounced different ways,

one pronounced like my grandmother

the other like the first grade teacher who never thought to ask if she was saying it


I thought my headaches were because of the schoolwork,

I realize now they’re related to the stress of my melanin,

of the constant need to be the bridge that teaches you about people like me.

I swim in a pool of self-directed anger

for finding myself afraid of being seen only with my brown friends

because then you’ll have an excuse to label me “self-segregated”

for finding myself afraid to call out the guy in blue shorts I saw the other day,

the one walking around in a sombrero and carrying a piñata.

who cares if it was only for big/little week?

does he realize my culture is more than Cinco-de-Drinko events?

does he know that looking away when I made eye contact doesn’t erase

my memory of his cultural appropriation?

does he even care?


I am here feeling like your linguistic threat.

I am here working as an AT, teaching my mother tongue to people looking to build their resumes

while my mother learns English simply to be treated like a human being

I am here perfecting the mother tongue I was ashamed of speaking in the fourth grade.

I am here buying books off Amazon to teach myself the history of my people,

to properly correct you when you call me Mexican before American

I am here not to make white ears comfortable,

but to navigate my body in this white sea we call Davidson


My parents do not speak of that honeymoon thirty three years ago.

My mother tells me I will never truly understand the value of an American passport,

because I’ve never gone without.

My father never taught me to swim,

perhaps because he never wanted me to know

                        what it felt like to cross the Rio Grande in search of a dream.

Monologue #6 (2015)


Thanks for driving me all the way to summer camp and helping me move in.

I showed off that text you sent me out of no where. The one where you said you love me and the one where you called me sweetheart. (I ignored the urge to call you right away and decided to call you later)

My calls went to voicemail (later that day)

(I came back home in the middle of summer camp)

I saw a incredibly beautiful garden, but I wouldn’t want to go back to the funeral home.

So many friends came to visit you.

I’ve started my Junior year of high school and my principal took me aside.

Dad found a shirt of yours. I can hear cries from the bedroom.

A lady asked Mom how many children she had. Mom said one.

Mom’s birthday passed. I would’ve texted you a reminder.

It’s your 22nd birthday today. The happy birthday note I wrote you last year is still pinned up. One of the few things still on your walls.

I turn 16 this month. My birthday wish won’t come true.

I got my license! I had to stopped myself from reaching to my phone to tell you so.

My first Christmas without you. I told my friends I had allergies as I hid my red eyes.



I just came back home from five months abroad. I wondered how much less worried I would have been about my Mom and Dad if my brother were home.

I looked through the cabinets in his room again, searching for a note explaining why he left. Maybe I missed it.

Maybe my brother had depression. I asked the counselor if depression is genetic.

I don’t show my parents my grades because I don’t want to explain I had been struggling with wanting to do what my brother has done. (Their grief with my brother is what stopped me)

Friends tell me they have so much work that they want to shoot themselves. I quietly asked them not to say that. Because I don’t want to imagine going to another funeral where the body has to wear a beanie.

(I can’t ever be too far from my phone. Because I don’t want to receive another last text at 10:26 AM and imagine what would have been different if I had called the minutes before 10:54 AM, when he clenched his fingers together into a fist around the metal and decided to leave)

It’s been almost five years, and there isn’t any “getting over it.” It’s learning how to live with it. It’s been almost five years, and the pain of losing my best friend is no less, if not more.

Monologue #5 (2015)

God, where are You?
In the midst of projects and papers and friend crises and trying to plan all my future I’ve felt lost lately. I can’t find You anywhere in all of this mess. Yet it appears as if I am doing everything right – I get good grades on exams, go to the gym, I say hello to people in the Union and ask them about their weekend. And I appear pious – I wear a cross necklace, I don’t drink, I do service, make good impressions..

But something in me feels dead. I feel like a zombie, a haunted spirit possessed by stress –

Some nights, when I walk back to my room, I realize my eyes are digging into a cell phone screen while the trees glimmer, the moon waxes and wanes, and I remain swallowed in my thoughts, oblivious to existence –

And when I crave silence, I ignore it. I schedule my days full to the maximum out of fear that I will be unproductive and waste them or become an invisible no-one –

And when I see the monotony of white-walled classrooms surrounding my four-squared mind, I run as far as I can to escape it –

Today, my Spanish professor told me,”It is difficult to be faithful here.” What does it even mean to be faithful at a place like Davidson? At a place where I feel pressured to be a walking intellect, plans for the future in hand, a supremely rational and scientific being? What am I supposed to be learning for, anyway?

God, I don’t think You made me for college. I just don’t fit here very well. I have to go to bed before midnight, I don’t have Netflix, yikyak or snapchat. I feel relentless guilt for having a $60,000 education that could send sixty Guatemalan children to school. And truth is, I don’t get what I am on earth for to begin with, why did You put us here in the first place?

All I want to know is that I am not alone in asking these questions. These searchings for reality, ultimate reality, the capital-t Truth of our existence.

Even if it’s taboo at Davidson, I want to talk to people about religion, like not in textbooks, but real mind-blowing faith that people bear at the core, a faith that means kneeling to pray five times a day, that means gathering for Shabbat dinners even when it doesn’t feel the same away from home, a faith that You exist, God, because you live in Spanish poetry and the face of the Commons staff and I sense that

You are here – somewhere, breaking through the cracks in the brick pathways, when I can’t grow thicker skin and everything feels like it is flooding in – You exist when nothing in the world, and especially not Davidson, seems to make sense

Please, God, don’t let it make sense.

Even if it means not fitting in at Davidson, I don’t want to lose this,
this inexplicable, mysterious, precious thread,
this rope of silence,
the struggle to make life meaningful,

This faith that You are speaking –
telling me to be quiet,
sit down, still,
and listen.

Monologue #3 (2015)

My entire life I’ve lived without boundaries. School came naturally, family life has carried no major difficulties, I have confidence in social situations, and my socio-economic background has opened the door very wide for any kind of life I want to live. At 20, I had plans to study abroad and go long distance backpacking in the summer. My expectations were enormous. So when my body became shackled in constant and crippling fatigue last year, I spiraled into hopelessness on multiple occasions. Saying to my mother what no parent wants to hear from their child, “well if my body continues to feel like this, I don’t really want to live”.

A year and a month ago my world was split open. I went from running 3-4 times a week, going out at night, and backpacking on the weekends to a spendng a full weekend in bed for no apparent reason. Feeling fatigue so intense that it sent me into a panic attack, thinking an organ was failing, having an ambulance called. Realizing later, that the fatigue was here to stay, becoming a part of me. Taking up long term residence in my body. Even today, after countless visits to many different doctors, no one is sure when my body will feel normal again. I have felt robbed of life.

There was a period where I would wake up every morning and expect to feel slightly better. I would go to bed every night and hope and plead that tomorrow was the day I would wake up and return to normal health. That this nightmare of drowsiness would end. That I could get back to living. That period ended maybe 7 months ago. It had to end. I couldn’t handle the overwhelming disappointment and frustration which was thrust upon me every time I awoke. My hopes were crushed every morning, over and over and over.

I wake up every morning exhausted, regardless of how much sleep I get. I move through the day without energy. My focus is blurry, comparable to when you don’t sleep at all the night before. Eyes heavy, and feeling like when you open your eyes in a pool. That achey stinging sensation in my eyes comes over me as the day progresses. My body feels weighted, sluggish. Every action requires desire, pushing my body have the energy to do everything so that I won’t do nothing. A disparity exists between what my mind wants and what my body feels able to do. This disconnect grinds inside me every day. All of my dreams and desires burn within me just as fiercely as when I was healthy, it seems impossible to satisfy them though. Each day, as I fight against the fatigue and try to reconcile this disconnect between my head and body, I am constantly aware that my struggle is non-existent to everyone else. It isn’t seen, it isn’t recognized, it surely isn’t understood by anyone but me.

Recently I wrote something that encapsulates my current desire,

When it is all said and done.

I want it to be said that I never accepted anything but full and complete agency. And that I lived a life where I continued to say, even in the darkness. But most importantly during the darkness,

I am yours truly,

Unbroken, inspired, and in awe.

Monologue #4 (2015)

When I was in college, I did not fit in. Unlike most of my college peers, I went to a really bad high school in a town where education was not valued very much. I was deficient in my study skills and I had undiagnosed dyslexia and ADD. It took me forever to do reading assignments. Everyone else seemed so smart and they got good grades with a fraction of the amount of effort I put in.

Now I am a faculty member at Davidson and I am still an outsider. I have expressed my opinion and been chastised for it. I have been told repeatedly about faculty who dislike me. I have been called names by other faculty to the point that I have withdrawn from most social gatherings. At times I feel very lonely on this campus. Luckily, the students and staff are more supportive so I enjoy my job despite feeling ostracized by my peers.

I share my story because I don’t want students to think that all faculty have figured out how to fit in. You are not alone in feeling alone. However, it may be that trying to fit in with your peers is the wrong goal. Find another group of people who can accept you for who you are. Don’t ever apologize for being honest about who you are. I am not willing to stifle my opinion for the sake of being accepted by my peers.

Monologue #2 (2015)

I said my worst fear was invisibility. People laughed.

It’s a moment when you’re thinking too deep, too far, and you hear voices like a buzz and actions like some dramatic slow-motion action scene, so that even the act of passing over a pen is given a surreal significance. It’s a moment when your body slows, freezes, and you can’t control a thing. It’s a moment when whatever tethers you to the ‘here’ and ‘now’ that everyone else experiences lapses, when you find yourself on a different plane on a different space looking at your friends as if they’re aliens even though you know its you. It’s when their eyes trace over you without acknowledging that anything is wrong at all.

And then it snaps back, you snap back.

And it feels like that time you dove down to touch the floor of the pool and rose up gasping from the water, lungs burning, panic rising, and you sucked in air that was sweet despite the sharp taste of chlorine. So you sit there, trying not to panic at what was probably nothing. It has to, just has to, be nothing. Because it can’t be that thing again.

I can’t be invisible again.

I said my worst fear was invisibility. People laughed.


I said my worst fear was invisibility. People laughed.

It’s a mental glimpse back over a shoulder, a reassessment of myself after someone asks ‘are you okay?’. Am I OK? Am I smiling right, is my face lined up in the way that everyone else’s face is? Am I happy today?

It’s a setting of limits. I can only swim in the 5’ section of my mind, and no further down. I can’t think about death or injustice or the fact that people die for no reason—no, I can’t think it. I have set aside certain memories that are shut to me. I can’t remember what happened that summer that my boyfriend and I broke up. I can’t remember the details of my freshman spring. It’s not a lock, it’s a wall, a barrier, a ‘DANGER’ sign and a thousand strands of barbed wire. I can’t think about the fact that I can’t remember.

It’s the knowledge that I can turn invisible at any moment. I could break the boundaries I put on myself, I could think too deep and too sadly, I could stumble across that scarred border and grasp things I shouldn’t. It could happen at any time. At any minute, any second, I could fade into the background of a conversation. I could feel that thing that tethers me slipping. I could fall, cartwheeling, panicking, into the hideous depths of my mind.

It’s the knowledge that if I do, people’s eyes will slide over me like I exist in a different plane. That even when I grab someone’s shoulders and yank them towards me, beg them to see me, their eyes will look away. I’ll tell myself I’m invisible because I don’t want to think that they choose not to see my sadness.

I said my worst fear is invisibility. People laughed.


Monologue #1 (2015)

I’m one of “those” kids whose tuition bill comes to $50,000 a year, and Mom & Dad simply write the check.

My family’s financial status and stability grant me a level of privilege, opportunity & freedom that I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand.

So what could I possibly have to be ungrateful for? I do not know the burden of debt or that of financial ruin. I don’t know what it’s like to work your way through college or to send money home to keep your family afloat.

My dad’s job keeps my family afloat. I laugh at the irony of that sentence.

You see, sometimes I imagine a butcher’s table in the office of financial services. And in order to finalize the tuition check, someone has to be sacrificed… I’m almost four years into this ritual and I’m still not sure whether it’s my dad lying on the block or if I am the real sacrifice. Has he sacrificed himself for my family’s financial stability, my education, our social status? Or is our story more like Abraham and Isaac’s but God didn’t intervene… has my dad placed my family upon the altar for his own gain?

He’s a nice businessman. Most of the time he is in another city. Gaining status with his airline carrier and hotel business. Who knew there was a level above Platinum? He has a major corporation to run, and he does it well.

But even when he’s home, in his favorite chair, he’s not with us. He is entrenched but also enthroned in his own stress and rage and work. My dear mother has been the slain lamb before the king far too many times. Mom vowed in sickness and in health, did she know that would include in wrath and excuses, too? I have learned that one needs not bear a knife to cut the heart; no threatening bullet to make you question your very worth. The tongue is a weapon—and though it can sing praise in Sunday morning church, it can lash utter destruction over Sunday brunch. The nice businessman I love has also ushered in the deepest pain of my life.

Thoughts of home carry that eerie resonance of the organ for me. I tremble at the memory of shouts, yells, and rage. I can hear the echoing silence of my dad’s absence… the times when “work stuff” came before mom’s grief… when our picture-perfect family in public came home to screams, slammed doors and isolated tears.  Our hymn is painful.

I have experienced great financial privilege. I have also experienced great familial pain. And I don’t want to use the phrase “cost of privilege” here because I didn’t write this to make light of my privilege. I write it to speak truth to my pain.

I am that kid you talk about: the rich one. My parents paid for my Davidson education. The sacrifice has been offered and accepted. So why am I so ashamed, and why do I feel so desperate for redemption?