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Girls Like Me
A monologue 

Written by Charline Ochang

To be the world’s greatest victim is to adopt the essence of a perpetrator

I would like to see the world as I once did.

Waking up on a Saturday at 10:00 AM: when you’re young like that, the sun begs your eyes open. That was before timelessness, before the sun gave up on my circadian rhythm. The sun was large and inviting, casting a yellow glow all over my bedspread. Baby, I was dripping in GOLD. The sky reflects the ocean and the ocean reflects the sky, like sinking in a vat of post-recession tears or blue hydrangeas, and the grass is so green it’ll make you nauseous.

We’ve sequestered our creativity and replaced it with pitiful metaphors about the transition from a blue to gray sky, but that’s not it. No, this isn’t about my most permanent memories performing for my hippocampus only under gray skies, nor is it dead grass in the cracks of the sidewalks of my dead neighborhood; it’s about only being able to perceive color when I feel safe, and my, my, my, has it been a dull adolescence. Unsaturated, even. Adolescence says color is discomfort. Color is the contrast of whitening strips, starvation for sport, red and purple lace fronts, a customer service voice and cheap perfume. A world with no color is a uniform world with no conflicts, no catastrophes, no culture. 


Nobody else finds it funny. So girls like me laugh alone. 


My mother taught me how to laugh alone. Observe what happens to girls like me when they get older. Love does not age like wine. It ages like cheese, it’s fantastic up to a certain point, and then its consumption is quite literally deadly. It’s the black woman’s paradox: we create, we cultivate, and, of course, love is sewn into every stitch of our impact. Our love is endless, just like the hatred that's fed to us. When love is the plasma of humanity and humanity is determined to dehumanize you, endless takes on a whole new meaning. Black holes are endless, lectures are endless, the things that are endless in this world simply don’t align with our stretch of life. 


My mother, on the other hand, aged agelessly; tight skin, high cheekbones, and you know, everybody tells me we look just alike. Black women only pass down good genes like imperishable skin, impeccable bone structure and how to make everybody hate you without even trying. 

Girls like me, we enter a room, and apparently the room is ours. All of a sudden there are expectations. Adding color to a room creates something to label as The Other. You extract the color from the room and what are you left with? It gets hard for people to feel special when there is no one to cast to the side.

So here I am, I am your Other. The itch you can’t scratch that just keeps itchin’. The voice in your head that laughs at you when you fail. As your Other, I am your means of existence. With this much power I can build an empire.


Here’s how it works for girls like me: they put the crown on our heads but steal our seat at the throne. They want the power to build an empire, but lack the experience necessary to make it work. They try to step into my body, the subject becomes the king, my impenetrable but bruised body, and they say they don’t want the bruises. They fail to realize that they caused the bruises.

Blacks and purples and blues, that’s what it’s all about, right? When color is pain, and color stains your contingency, that’s what life is about. The bruises, the cuts, the gashes; if my pain doesn’t mean something then why the hell is it endless?


Endless. The things that are endless in this world simply don’t align with our stretch toward death. Anguish and despair, that shit is endless. But so are we.


Picture a uniform empire and remember: girls like me are the ones cast as inhumane.

Wouldn’t you run around raising hell if you had a reason?


Our empire is conquered and now has opportunity, something unheard of to girls like me. They stripped us of our will and reworked what we’ve already created.  Where does the credit lie? Surely not in the gashes in the backs of their ancestors, surely not the blood pools that curdle with their cries out for real love, surely not the just as endless dreams that exist in their flesh and disintegrate with it when they die, surely not from any labor that found it’s form in the palm of their icy hands. It is me! It is us, it is girls like me, we plant the seeds, we make them grow, and the flower that blooms is cut from its base. 

Flowers die fast. But first they lose their color.

Girls like me, we don’t lose. We give. We give, and give, and give, and, of course, love is sewn into every stitch of our impact. No amount of time will ever change what we are, what we can withstand, what we can do with an empire that only made room for us in the lonely corner of the world where light is emitted with no concern for the origin.

I’m lovely. Time passes and I’m still the red richness of aged wine. Girls like me, we disregard time, we last forever. In your hair products, in your music, in your clothes, in the food you eat. The wine you drink. We’re colorful cabernets and promiscuous pinot noirs. I shed a tear and dedicate it to the colorless empire, no conflicts, no catastrophes, no culture.

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