This untitled monologue series began as scrapped scenes and lines from the Millennia of Women development process. These particular thoughts, ideas, or images stuck with me enough after the project closed that I kept fleshing them out into more complete moments. Help yourself.
You spend your whole life listening. You listen to your mother, your father, your teachers. Then your friends, your colleagues, your mentors, your boyfriends. The men you look up to and the men who just pass you on the street. You listen. The words they say hold more meaning than they know. They give you a grocery list. You hear all the things you could be doing better. They ask you how your weekend was. You hear the probing questions about what’s been between your legs recently. They say hello. You hear their wants. Their needs. You are a very good listener. You’ve been doing it for so long, you were bound to become an expert eventually. You don’t mind listening. There’s lots out there to hear. But you wouldn’t mind a little peace and quiet, either.
You imagine the fork in the road to look something like fallopian tubes. When you chose to be either a mother or a worker, you chose left or right ovary. Or is it lungs? The division in this proverbial life path, the branching of the brachia, spreading out with each choice, your decision limiting how much air you can take in. Your decision taking up so much space, you can hardly breathe.
One road is less taken than the other but easier, somehow. Or is it just emptier? The other, well-trodden, littered with bodies, a rainbow valley of motherhood. This is not a decision to make lightly. The decision you make takes up space in your gut. In your stomach. In your chest. Filling your empty space with concrete, dragging you deeper underwater. No air to breathe down here.
This is not a decision to make lightly.
You take online personality quizzes like it’s your job. Meyer’s Briggs, Big Five, Enneagram, Implicit Bias, Buzzfeed’s “Which Type of Bread are You?”. You long to know yourself better, as if you don’t already have all the answers to the questions you’re asking. But filling in bubbles, ranking your agreeance, and picking the U.S. City you’d most like to visit is far easier than acknowledging your own flaws, isn’t it? You’ve had your star chart done twice. Horoscopes are your therapy. You think that finding your labels and living by them will make it easier. ENFP. 3wing2. Leo. Banana Bread. You wear them as if they’re designer. Who would you be without them? If you peel off all of your labels, what will you find? What will be left?
You have always been an optimist. A woman with dreams and plans. You sheltered yourself under a thatch roof made of romcoms. Clay walls molded out of fairytales. You thought, you knew, things would work out. You’d be successful and beautiful, one day. And one day, he’d come. He would be your prince charming. He would build you a glass castle out of reassurances and feather light kisses. He would spin you dresses out of adoration. Your life would begin and end with him.
Sometimes, you would imagine you’d never meet him. Time would pass and you’d wither away, a forgotten houseplant, reclusive and embarrassing. Alone. But you pushed those thoughts to the side. Positive thinking. Visualization. Negative energy? Not in your home. No ma’am. He would come. He had to.
You were not beautiful or successful. You were string bean and plucked daisy. You grew into curled ivy and frost-bitten rose thorn. Time flowed past you in your shelter, slowly at first, a stream of rainwater moving to lower ground, then faster, rapids of things you’d never do, words you’d never say. Your roof caved in, your walls crumbled in the flood. You withered.
But you were not incapable of change. Of growth. The flood that knocked down your house soaked into your roots. Steeped in time, you flourished.
Photo by Kensie Wallner