Monologue #11 (2015)

Failing is not something I really do.

In fact, there are only a handful of times where I can really say that I have failed at something in my life.

I was a great child.

I didn’t whine or make many messes.

My mother often tells me that she doesn’t know what she would’ve done had I not been born and that I am the perfect child.

I excel in everything that I do—

Like literally.

I have attended not one, but two top ranking institutions of higher education.

My GPA kicks your GPA’s ass.

Speaking of asses, I have a very nice one.

I am in a monogamous relationship with a handsome and driven black man.

And when you’re a black woman in America, let me tell you—that is not failure.

That is success, my friends.

I lead and people listen because they know I do not fail.

I have lots of friends, who often tell me about how much I do not fail.

They remark on how perfect I am.

The way I look.



Down to the way I organize my pocket book planner in which I sort the events and tasks in my life at which I do not fail.

But I will say that the most defining moment in my life is when I made the biggest failure to date—

I failed to end my own life.

It was December of 2012.

Yours truly gathered and consumed lethal concoction, deciding it was time I spare the world my existence.

It would be a seamless venture.

My roommate would find me, call the ER and I’d be on my way out this bitch we call reality.

Well, I was wrong.

I was awoken to an IV in my arm and a clipboard hovering over my head.

I raged at nurses and doctors for saving my life.

Hippocratic oath my ass!

I was trying to commit suicide here and these professionals on their high horses caused me to fail.

Afterwards I was committed to a psychiatric ward, legally obliged by a 48 hour hold.

The first words I said when released from restraints was that—

“Things like this don’t happen to people like me”

You know people who don’t fail.

During this time I was neighbors with real failures.

Like the schizophrenic mother on the verge of losing custody of her kids,

Or the bipolar drug addict,

The type of people that always fucking losing in monopoly,

Sure they were failures, but I still needed people to play board games with in the rec room.

Yet after what felt like the longest week of my life,

I was eventually released.

And before you know it,

I was back on my shit.

Not failing at everything— and boy, was I relieved.

I vowed to move beyond this failure and get back to what I did best

Not failing.

And this brings me back to where I am now.

So to be straight with you—

I’m not going to give you some sappy-ass concluding remark as to how I realized that it is okay to fail.

I continue to avoid failure like the plague,

Even just thinking about makes me itch.

Yet every once in a while, when I reflect on my second chance at life

I wonder:

If failing means living, then what is success?


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 #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 (performance piece)

What does your Mom do?
It’s harder to see what we have than what we don’t have. Sometimes everything we see appears permanent, ever-lasting, and normal. But normal is tricky. Normal is relative. Example: having both parents alive. This is normal for most college students, but for us it’s just a memory.
Questions, questions, questions. What is your major? Are you seeing anyone? What are you going to do after graduation? As college students we all dread these questions, maybe because we feel insecure with our answers, maybe because they make us feel uncomfortable.
Does your Dad have a job?
It is strange when one dreads questions that one knows the answer to. Even more ironic when dreads a question precisely because of the answer. These questions appear harmless and normal to most people, but not to us.
How old are your parents?
Take for example this last question. Ask it to most people and they will answer it, maybe with the help of a calculator, but still with relative ease. Why? Because most people know how old their parents are and they are willing to share this information. What if, say, your parents were to have no more birthdays? If their age was static, a number printed on a paper stored somewhere? How would you answer that question?
It’s not easy for people with dead parents to be understood by those who enjoy better luck. No one is guilty, yet the gap between the two groups remains palpable. These are some accounts of what it feels like to be different from most students on campus.
People Make Assumptions.
Actual conversation with the man who organizes the composites for Warner:
“Would you like to order prints?”
“How much do they cost? I thought they came in the mail?”
“We’re trying to go green. Why don’t you call your Mom and ask her. We’ll be here until 9pm so let me know by then. I’m sure she’ll want your pictures for graduation.”
Thought: I doubt it.
Actual response: “Okay I’ll come back by 9 if she’s interested.”

My father was extremely ill last semester. Family, ranking way higher than schoolwork on my priorities, pulled me home.
I stayed with him until his last breath, besides his bed, besides my mom and my brother.
No one in my family had died before. Everyone was always in their respective places at our table when we sat down for dinner on Christmas’ or New Year’s Eve. Even my four grandparents, with seven or more decades and patches of wisdom hair, were there to talk to.
No wonder why the death of my dad has been so hard to digest. Without any previous experience with death, I struggle to come to terms with it on a daily basis. The problem is that I am reminded every single day of the void in my life, of his absence. My life is no longer the same and I shiver whenever I think about this.
Fathers are everywhere. In parks, shopping at supermarkets, at the movies and even in the movies. Whenever I see a dad, my mind rushes to acknowledge that I don’t have that anymore. No more bike trips to the mountains, no more words of consolation, no more hugs when I go back home. I know that he will not be at my graduation ceremony. I know that he will not tell his grandchildren about his adventures as a teenager. I know my mom sleeps alone tonight on a King-size bed. And it’s not easy when all these thoughts come barging into my head while I’m trying to write a paper on the religious aspects of the crusades.
I remember when I came back to Davidson in January. Three months had slipped by since I had last seen any of my friends or hall mates, yet it seemed much more distant. Although I didn’t expect everyone to know about my dad’s death, dealing with the issue was a stab to my guts, especially when faced with one question:
How is your dad doing?
The day I got back I bumped into one of my teachers.
“How is your dad doing?” he asked.
Sigh. With my gaze cutting the ground, I replied “He passed away two months ago,” not believing myself as the words sparked out of my mouth.
“Nobody told us about that! I’m really sorry for your loss. How are you doing? How is your mom doing?”
What answer could I assign to this question so that the hurting would be less, so that the pain would be short? “I guess given the circumstances, we are doing alright,” I replied. And I have kept saying that every time someone asks.
“Ok, ok. Well, it’s good to have you back!” Then he kept walking and I kept walking.
Imagine having this same conversation over and over again, at commons, at the union, in the hallways. Every time I saw someone, they hugged me, told me how much they had missed me and then came the how is your dad doing. This was my welcome back. The first weeks were awful, but there was this one moment that I can recall above all others.
I was walking by my dorm’s lounge and a lot of people were gathered. Some of them I had not yet seen, so they shout out enthusiastically as I appeared. Then and there, with most of my hall mates present, how is your dad doing knocked on the door. Silence. I dropped the bomb. Silence, Everyone looked down.
“But I’m glad to be back,” I muttered, trying to ease everyone and leading the discussion to other topics. People don’t know how to answer to that. I wouldn’t expect them to, but that is the way it is. I avoid talking about him to most people, just because I want to avoid making them feel uncomfortable. Its quite sad.
Complaining about essays, tests, schoolwork, commons food, the weather…it all seems too strange. We forget, we take for granted, we run around, we feel secure, we don’t stop to thank and think that those tightly tied to us will transition too.
His name was, is and will forever be Rodrigo. Repeat once more, Rodrigo. That way you won’t forget my dad and you won’t forget that he died. And maybe you won’t forget that your dad will die if he hasn’t already, and your mom too, and you too and so will everyone else you know, or might know, or won’t ever know.
Most of my days seem unreal. I wake up, but it doesn’t feel like it. Trapped in this reality, I live in a recurring dream, a nightmare that comes back every day, and every night, and confuses my North. If you see me running in circles around Patterson Court, dizzy and nauseated, now you know why.
I often dream that he is alive. Sick, but still alive. In the dream I know he will die, as I do in real life, but I can at least see him and imagine that he won’t. Now I can’t. There is no escape. No escaping the pain. And I guess no escaping death.
I once overheard someone saying:

“I did what any college student would do in a bad situation: I called my parents”

Well, I don’t really have that convenience.

Who do I call if I don’t have parents anymore?
Do I call my depressed sister who doesn’t answer my messages?
Do I call my sick brother, who I don’t want to bother any more than I have to?
Do I call my aunt, my godmother with mental issues, who lied and convinced my extended family that my brother raped me? Do I call these people who betrayed and excommunicated me?

I don’t have anyone to call.
I don’t have a shoulder to cry on.
And I hate how I am irrationally angry that anyone does.

Sometimes I’m sad.
I’m not sure if people realize it, though.
Why would they, if I constantly say “I’m good” when I’m not.

I’m tired of lying.

But I can’t just drop this dead parents bomb on any acquaintance in the hallway who asks me what’s up.
How could anyone respond to that news? What do you say to that?
Their blank stares and words of discomfort just sting the wound I opened for them to see.

“You’re so strong”

Thanks for that encouragement- but I’m tired of hearing it.
It’s stated as if I had the option not to be.
Please, someone, give me the choice to fall apart.
I’m so tired of being strong.

…I’ll make do.

Sometimes I bring myself back to the times when my mom would pick me up and hold me.
In the squeaky, comfy, rocking chair of our past
She would rock me back and forth,
And pet my head.

Since then our roles have switched around.
Like in that book “I’ll love you forever.”
I was there to calm her as she suffered
As she was frail and afraid,
And I was there to hold her hand and pet her head.
She and my dad.
Both slowly and torturously dying from different diseases.
Me, young, trying to comfort them
Trying to care for them.
Begging for them to be at peace.

Isn’t it weird when the happy ending you pray for is your parents’ death?
There are times throughout my day—maybe when I hear a friend complaining about her overbearing parents or when I see a little girl reach for her dad’s hand as she crosses the street—when my mind goes blank, and there is only one thing I can think about. One thing, one phrase, one moment, that has begun to define my existence. I prayed that my dad would die. Now don’t get me wrong—I prayed day after day for a miracle. I cried and I begged God to save him. To give us more time. But then I gave up. I sat outside his door, eyes drained of their tears, and pleaded that God would end his pain.
…He was gone within hours.
It was my oldest brother’s, birthday—January 21, 2003—when our dad was diagnosed with cancer. At nine years old, I separated the word cancer from the hideous term that so many around me seemed to be tiptoeing around. Terminal disease. My dad protected me from the realities of what he was facing.
He didn’t tell me the symptoms—the symptoms that would expose themselves in the most painful of ways over the next 8 years. Bone pain. Bone fractures. Broken ribs. Thirst. Nausea. Loss of appetite. Mental Confusion. Infection. Weight loss. Weakness. Exhaustion.
He didn’t tell me the process—the bouts of chemotherapy, the cocktail of drugs, the hair loss, the stem cell transplants.
He didn’t tell me how long—he didn’t tell me that the life expectancy for someone with Multiple Myeloma was around three years. That less than 10% of patients make it ten years.
His death was a process. He fought with every ounce of his being for eight years and, on a quiet day in April of 2011, that moment came—the turning point. If you have every watched someone die you know exactly the millisecond that I am talking about. There is no way to prepare yourself for the moment that the sparkle goes out of those big green eyes you’ve found comfort in for so long, leaving behind heavy, pain filled eyes seemingly detached from the strong soul they once displayed.
I saw the pain in his eyes. I watched as the life slowly left them. So I prayed. I prayed that God would put those empty eyes to rest. I prayed that He would give my father the strength to let go—the strength to, for the first time in his life, be weak.
This story I am trying to tell is not about deatth—it’s about life. We live in a world where death is something we fear. We spend our lives trying to postpone it. We cut out sugar, hoping that it may add a year onto our life or take an inch off our waste band. We avoid adventure because we alarmed when “injury or death” jumps out at us on a liability waiver. We question those who try to experience life fully, labeling them as “reckless” or “irresponsible.” We tiptoe around death—and, and when we think we see a glimpse of it, we close our eyes tightly, looking for every possible way around it.
My brothers and I spent a week together in my dad’s apartment searching for a miracle. When one never came, we felt like we were giving up—but it was quite the opposite. We learned that we had to let our dad go, because in trying to postpone his death any longer, we would be compromising the quality of his life. That week we learned not to fear death, but to fear not living. For eight years, our dad protected us from the realities of what he was facing because when he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, he chose not to let the disease control him—he chose to live.
Our days to make an impact on those around us are limited. In that last week together, my brothers and I learned that we must live our lives in such a way so that when our children are surrounding us in our final hours, they can find the courage the let us go—and that courage can only come from the knowledge of the fulfilled life we have led.
Sometimes my mind goes blank, and there is only one thing I can think about. I prayed that my dad would die. That phrase—that moment—reminds me to live.
“I won’t die, don’t worry, we can beat this.” I believed you. I thought we would make it. I held the day, the moment, that you would go into remission in my mind as a reminder that you, that we, would be okay. But sometimes life doesn’t give us happy endings. Sometimes happy is ripped from our hands at 3:36 am as you watch the woman who taught you how to dance, how to love, and how to laugh slip away. Not that it was all in that moment. I watched you slip for days. I watched as you faded from the beautiful, vivacious mother who held my life together to a distant form, a shadow, a corpse.
“I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your dad passed away this morning.” I didn’t get to hold your hand. I didn’t get to feel your last breath. I wasn’t there. It wasn’t real. Is it real yet? A month later and I still wait for your calls. I got a job offer yesterday, daddy. My first thought was that I couldn’t wait to tell you. I can’t wrap my head around you being gone. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up. You were my rock, my shield, my biggest supporter. What now?
“No, I’m okay. I don’t need anything.” That’s not true. I need my parents. I need my mom to hold me, to tell me she loves me, to grab me and twirl me around the kitchen one more time, two more times, one hundred more times. I need my dad to send that “Good Morning” message, to call 10 times a day so that I’ll answer just once, to call me his little girl, his precious, one more time, two more times, one hundred more times. I need to understand. I need to see evidence of a greater plan. But you, you can’t help me. So I smile, so I say that I’m doing alright, I guess. I pretend not to feel alone in a room with one, with two, with one hundred.

Monologue #2

I am a WASP, which makes me the (new?) outsider on the block.
Hegemony, crumbling into pieces as strong, diverse women stand tall,
Yet I am a weak white female and patriarchic promises penetrate my being.
Body broken by perfectionist, obsessive, engrained lies of the corporeal caste.
So thin my hair falls and slithers down the drain,
Or so full of self-loathing my body bloated and bruised by masochistic defiance of reality.
Hiding inside my skeleton on the peripheral peak,
Just outside the lines, the map, the charted track laid out.
No longer waiting to be pulled in,
Just on the outside, living, breathing, praising the Lord God who made me.
For we are all His children between heaven and earth,
And perhaps this liminal temporality is bliss.

Monologue #3

“I think most feminists here at davidson deserve a good raping. Teach them a lesson.” Hmmm, I’m a feminist here at Davidson, and a pretty loud one at that. I’m sure I fall under this category of “most feminists.” I basically just got told that I deserved to be raped. It’s interesting to me that this person, hiding behind this anonymous message, believes that getting raped will suddenly make us feminists…not feminists anymore? That’s obviously not true, as we can see from the numerous women who came to feminist after experiencing sexual abuse, assault, and rape. Yeah, totally going to teach me a lesson about fighting against societal structures that I see as wrong by having someone violate me in a violent way. As a survivor of both childhood molestation and rape, I certainly feel the opposite. Growing up having been molested, there was this wall between everyone else and me. Yes, I had wonderful best friends throughout school, but I would always catch myself thinking “Hmmm. My friends will never truly know me, will they?” This event, which I can’t even remember due to my brain blocking it out, has caused me to second guess every sexual decision I have made. Am I interested in sex because I was molested? Do I like masturbating so much because I was molested? Am I dating a manipulative person because I was molested? DO I HAVE DADDY ISSUES?! WHAT ARE THOSE EVEN?! AM I GOING TO END UP LIKE SOME GIRL ON SVU?! DO I LIKE SVU BECAUSE I WAS MOLESTED?! As you can see, it’s a vicious cycle. I told my first boyfriend when I was 14 about it. I bawled, he bawled, it was a bonding moment. I didn’t tell anyone else for three years. Now that I’m in college, I am much more open about it. I mean, I told a girl who would later go on to be my best friend at lake campus during orientation. Yeah new start college! With every person I tell, a brick comes down off of that wall, and discovering feminism helped knock a few of those bricks down as well. That wall is still there, as it always will be, but that’s okay; People can reach over the wall now, like my fellow feminists. It’s really not easy being a strident feminist at a small, southern liberal arts college. A lot of people think I’m annoying, some think I’m intimidating, and others just tire of me constantly pointing out how something is problematic. I’m really bad at just sitting quietly during lunch when people start talking about how much of a slut someone is, or incorrectly use political terminology. I’ve accepted that I’m “that feminist.” I wear that with label with pride. I know that I’m at the receiving end of quite a few smirks and snide remarks from boys on my hall. I know that people don’t want to always be lightly chastised by me for calling each other pussies. I try and keep it light. But condemning my fellow feminists and me to be raped? Nah, sorry bro, been there, been raped. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Monologue #4


After the beginning was the sand,
A formless being
Separate, yet one.
Not quite the intention
But intended as such, to be
As it were, was, and is.

There was the sea, too,
And although some say it has ebbed
And breathed its last—
It still moves
Convulsing in the force of life
Which animates it, and is it,
In the necessity of its existence.

And when Man took hold of sand
He said,
—This sand is but a million little
Broken pieces.
Let this be a token of remembrance.
And Man broke the sand and poured the sea.

(The righteous spat it out.)


And after this, I arose,
From the dull stupor of intense
Thought–resigned contemplation.

Another place, another place.

See now, the trail picks up
As the rain patters up and down
And into the sea of thought I drown
Before drinking it from my cup.

I have taken communion with the sand and sea.

And perhaps I should honor the Virgin
In meditation, where she will intercede
But these are the thoughts, I am the surgeon
And it’s the germination of another faulty seed.

Another place, another place

Where is the locust shell
Or the rhyme of the cicadas
Or the drum of the wind
In the garden, that I have not seen?

Have we, in our oblivion, forgotten the things
That make us mortal?

Vous êtes aveugles, mais les poussières sous le tapis c’est nous.

Another place, another place.

Mes genoux sont paralysés
L’ignorance, l’ignorance.

And if I come unto thee, Mary,
I ask that the penalty
May not be too strong on my soul
For the burden weighs heavy on me.

And I ask not to be remembered by the stones
(which are not Rocks) that I form.
And because I pray that the material
Will not become my immaterial,
And that I may not be humbled
Like the men who are worse than me.
(I am worse than me.)

Forgive me for my ignorance.

I pray my soul be not too burdened.
I pray my soul be not.
I pray my soul be.


And after the centuries,
There stood the Rock
Made from the sand
Upon which all is built.

Come in under the shadow of the this Rock

And although there are others —
And although the history —
Should we not try to remedy the situation?

Come in under the shadow of this Rock —
It will bring you shade.

And if there is humility —
And if there is the will —
And the intention —
Should I not fall on my knees?
But how do I begin?

Monologue #5

I came this way and was faced with the
Reality of everything and nothing, the
Poison that drips from an ink-blotted
Page and slips through your veins; I came
To feel something.

I am not my thoughts but a separate
Entity, floating in the womb as does
Road kill cowering above itself, watching the
Humbug of the flies, ravens, and cars come through.

You and I talked of winter as if it were always –
There, that suspended animation that lets us watch
Things with horn rimmed spectacles; you and I never wore
Coats when there was ice and snow.

And here she is, walking on the ice
Of a deep pond – or an ant hanging from a cliff –
Trying not to slip and determined
Not to be a number or an abstract
Representation of those who have tried in spring.

And what am I, but a shallow-end swimmer who
Hops from lily pad to lily pad; I am the
Abominable toad who croaks when no one hears,
Nor when anyone cares to hear, my cries of desperation
Are like the monotony of this arbitrary world.

And she is something more than a tightrope walker
Who treads the thin line of dream and reality,
Where all around her, people continue on
Venerating the nihilism of vanity in the crazed
Dance of summer days.

I came this way to feel something.

Monologue #6 (performance piece)

I am a Christian. Yes, I go to bible studies for personal growth, like to converse about God’s meaning in my life, believe in standards and boundaries in relationships, feel uncomfortable in a bikini, don’t grind, and rarely drink but never to get hammered. In many cases I feel extremely privileged to have a solid cohort of like-minded friends here at Davidson, admittedly some might qualify me as the majority since my worldview and background are not structurally excluded by the larger Davidson community. But I still feel like an outsider to many people on this campus. For me, that group is the work-hard-party-hard crowd who at weekend Commons brunch find a topic of discussion and pride in recalling one another’s DMFO and breathily whisper to one another followed by a collective giggle or gasp. Since I have never been a part of this group I only assume that these conversations follow the outline of gossip about their friend who is now a slut since she said hi to their best friend’s ex then spilled her drink on her hook-up’s shirt which he then took off and blah blah blah. Is that wrong of me? I don’t think this lifestyle is inherently wrong, but my morals, functioning brain, and religious background make that lifestyle as foreign to me as oil in water.
Except, there is the little voice inside me that regrets that I will never have those quintessential ‘college stories’, that I never went crazy during the only time period when it’s acceptable. There will never be embarrassing memories of that time that I vom’ed all over F lawn after having too many drinks but still flirted with Dan the bike cop, or the night when I confessed my love to that adorable soccer boy from my Freshman Spanish class and felt rejected every time he avoided my glance when we passed each other in Chambers hallways. But let me be clear, the sober non-down-the-hill fun that I’ve had at Davidson has been some of the most treasured moments of my life and have been part of a road shaping me into the Christian I want to be.
But I know in doing this, I’ve unintentionally excluded myself from a lot of crazy, weird and fun nights and thus feel segregated and disconnected from a lot of awesome Davidson students who know that as their college experience. There is a complex social network that I will never be a part of: hook-ups, alcohol, drugs, hyperactive flirting, drunkly devouring greasy pizza and Cookout milkshakes without a care, stupid texts, going to class buzzed during Frolics, and 3 am tipsy conversations. But by living this outwardly pure and “Christian” lifestyle of movie-nights, Thursday-Night Worship, study parties, and endless Union Board events these 4 years will I regret that I missed my only chance to ‘let go’ like the typical college student?
Am I doing college wrong? I really don’t think so. My choices have classified me to many as a rigid goodie-two-shoes who looks down upon those who choose different lifestyles than me. But at the end of the day, I am fully satisfied and fulfilled by living a modest lifestyle as I see God wanting me to live and don’t think I should trade turning in my moral code for a few potentially destructive experiences just to satisfy my interest of the unknown.
But my choices are mine alone, and should not be communally misinterpreted as just the ‘Christian’ Davidson. My views are no more right than the rest of campus’ because I choose to associate with a particular religion. I just don’t know how to be myself in the sometimes hyper-sexualized atmospheres where certain emotions and actions are expected that go against what I believe in. I hate that people look down on me and don’t accept me for living the life that I think is right.
For those who don’t understand why some students choose to refrain from one or more aspects of the Davidson culture, I would encourage them to just ask and they might learn something more about how the values of students vary across ages, races, cultures and family backgrounds.